Noah's News Blog
What’s Going On This Winter At Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm?
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and there’s certainly a lot of festive fun going on here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm at the moment. To give you an idea of the exciting things that are happening in the run-up to Christmas, and to keep you in the picture in terms of our opening hours and events, here’s a brief rundown. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Winter opening times
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm now has a longer winter opening – we close only from the end of Saturday 20th December 2014 for the Christmas week and reopen on Saturday 3rd January 2015. Don’t forget, we always close on Sundays, and in December and January we are open from 10.30am until 4.00pm. From February to November, we are open from 10.30am until 5.00pm. For more details, click here.
Christmas nativity plays
What better way to celebrate Christmas than watching our very popular nativity plays – complete with real animals, and a real baby! This year, the nativity plays take place on Saturday 13th December and Saturday 20th December. The nativity play is included in the day’s admission to Noah’s Ark. Doors open at 2.00pm to the Ark Arena, but hurry – seats are allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Season membership offers
Looking for the perfect present for that person who says they “don’t need anything”? Treat them to a season membership, so they can keep coming back to Noah’s Ark all year round! What’s more, until December 23rd 2014, you can buy a 2015 membership at 2014 prices! Why not get yourself one too?
Heated indoor elephant house
Our Elephant Eden has been described as a ‘Five Star destination for elephants’, and it’s pretty clear to see why. The fields and barn are state-of-the-art, and the barn even has a central heating system, meaning the elephants and our visitors can enjoy the warmth and luxury of the heated indoor elephant house during these chilly months.
Heated indoor play areas
It’s not just our Elephant Eden that’s cosy; our indoor plays are all set to become heated for 2015! We are committed to sustainable green practise, and our 200KW biomass heating system uses only recycled woodchip, which is burnt to make heat. Our indoor areas will be nice and warm for families throughout the day. Toasty!
A baby capybara is born!
We are very excited to announce that a new capybara has been born! It will be well looked-after by Clarence, Cora, Callum and Clover. For those of you who don’t know, the capybara is the largest rodent in the world – otherwise known as a giant guinea pig! They are incredibly vocal and social animals and we are sure that the new addition to the family is going to enjoy chattering away with the others in no time.
New For 2015… Heated Play Areas!
Here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, we’re always looking for ways to improve, as we strive to ensure that each and every one of our visitors has the best possible experience. Our play barns are extremely popular with children, and we’re proud to say that our 12 indoor and outdoor play areas have made us one of the top play centres in Somerset and Bristol.
For the first time in our history, we’ve decided to install biomass heating systems into each of the main indoor play areas, to make things even more comfortable for our visitors during the chilly months. Starting next year, we will work through the main play areas, installing heat to each throughout the first part of the season. We have responded to your feedback, and hopefully you will be delighted with it!
Noah’s Ark was awarded national Gold in the ‘Green Tourism Business Scheme’ in 2013, making us one of only three UK zoos to hold the badge, and the only one in the South West of England. Of course, keeping in line with our commitment to sustainable green practise, the new 200KW biomass heating system uses only recycled woodchip which is burnt to make heat. This will then be piped into the play barns and circulated with seven large ceiling-mounted blow heaters.
The soft play Jungle Den, which caters for under-fives, parents and tots, has been heated since last year, but it is also being upgraded to renewable biomass heating rather than electric units. Come and visit our Jungle Tots at the Jungle Den – a parent and toddler group that meets from 10.30am to midday every Monday and Thursday during term time.
Other new heated areas will include the Rainbow Slide play barn (which includes three wavy, rainbow-coloured slides), Ark Arena, and ArkiVentures play barn (our biggest play barn which features a huge drop slide, trampolines, climbing frames, rope bridges, nets and wings. Younger children will also love the plastic tractors to drive).
You and your children are guaranteed to have a fantastic day out when you visit Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm; from getting up close to our amazing animals to refuelling in our café and buying mementos in the gift shop. We welcome 170,000 visitors every year, giving each one a fun-filled, exciting animal experience in a family park, full of adventure playgrounds, tractor rides and educational exhibits. What more could you want from a day out?
We’ll be sure to update you on the progress, so you can come and visit our toasty play areas and escape the chill!
Welcome To Our Elephant Eden, M’Changa!
This week, we’re delighted to welcome our second male bull elephant, M’Changa, to the paradise that is Elephant Eden, and we’re almost as excited as Janu and Buta are about meeting him!
M’Changa is six years old and comes from Boras Zoo in Sweden. We have been anticipating his arrival for some time, and it has involved a lot of planning to get to this stage. The trip itself took two days by both road and ferry; he arrived in Dover on Friday morning (from Calais) before being transported to us here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, arriving Friday night. He was unloaded at first light on Saturday morning after a rest.
We’ve been discussing this move for many months with elephant experts in Europe, who agree that it will greatly benefit M’Changa. As we establish our herd, our modern facilities give the elephants access to a vast, enriched environment. As well as this, they are being cared for by some of the most experienced Keepers, with our Head Keeper having had over 12 years’ experience working directly with elephants in both Europe and the US. We are also in constant contact with experts in elephant care for up-to-the-minute advice.
We are sure M’Changa is going to love Elephant Eden as much as we will love having him there. Described as a ‘Five Star Destination for Elephants’, the space features state-of-the-art features; from central heating and automatic doors to swimming pools and computer-controlled night time feeding. In fact, the area is three times bigger than minimum zoo requirements, at an impressive 20 acres!
M’Changa will be joining Buta – our 30-year-old female African elephant who joined us back in February from Knowsley Safari, near Liverpool. Janu, like M’Changa, is a young bull elephant. He came to us from Port Lympne Reserve in Kent just a couple of months ago and has really made Elephant Eden his home.
The arrival of M’Changa will be shortly followed by our fourth elephant, Kruger, who is due to be with us before Christmas. He also comes from Port Lympne Reserve so we are very much looking forward to reuniting him with his pal, Janu.
If you want to learn more about Elephant Eden, be sure to visit the Elephant house for 12.30pm or 3.30pm to hear the twice-daily Keeper Talk.
With Christmas approaching, what better gift to give an animal-lover than an Elephant Keeper Experience? They will get to spend the morning as an Elephant Keeper, helping with the daily tasks and really getting to know these amazing animals, including our new additions!