Deaf Travel13th October 2013

Manor House Wildlife Park

We visited Manor House Wildlife Park in South Wales and found plenty that was deaf friendly.

by Sarah Lawrencee

Looking for afun day out withfriends or family? Well why not go to the zoo? Manor House Wildlife Park caters for a range of ages, has good disabled access, and staff who make your visit very special. Children under the age of 3 get free entry, and wheelchair hire is also free.

Owned and run by the very lovely TV star Anna Richardson, the wildlife park not only offers visitors animals galore, Anna has also put in place some special features.

For Deaf or Hard of Hearing visitors it is good to know that you can book easily on-line to take away any pressure at the entrance. The zoo offers a range of options for organised parties and you can even hire a zookeeper to accompany you. If you have someone who loves animals, you can arrange to shadow a zookeeper, which sounds like great fun.

There are some great walkthroughs to add to the excitement, giving children the opportunity to get close up and personal with some of the animals. This was something that my family really enjoyed and gave an opportunity they had not had at other zoos they had been to.

With carefully thought through programmes, Anna is obviously keen to promote animal welfare. Manor House is full of opportunities and the zoo also offers educational programmes. On their informative and engaging website, there is information for teachers who might be thinking of arranging a school trip to the zoo.

The zoo also makes provision for parties, and we saw one group having a whale of a time.

Manor House is keen to attract interest from adults and children who are really interested in conservation and animal welfare. The Manor House website is packed with information about endangered animals.

There are also special events run at the zoo, which are really worth going to. For example, EGGucation! At Easter, Go Potty with Yoka days, and the Chi A Mi well-being festival on 7th September, with lots of hands-on workshops and experiences, including Bush Craft, Incense Making, Meditation, and Arts in Therapy. All year you can book Photography Workshops with expert guidance form professional photographers and with the fantastic range of subjects to capture, the results from just one day can be highly impressive. Even the amateurish photographs I took look impressive! Full information can be found on the website.

I love what Anna is trying to do with their focus on education and engagement of young children. She is really trying to inspire children to care for our planet, and get them to understand why animals are becoming endangered. The Double Bubble ticket, paying double the entry when you first go to the zoo, makes sure that families can attend as often as they like in the same year, without having to pay again. Not only does that give families the chance to have a great day out for free throughout the year, but regular visits allows children to really get in tune with the animals that are there.

To add to your little one’s experience, knowledge, and understanding, you can sponsor an animal!  As well as a newsletter, sponsors are awarded an e-certificate to either print out or email to their friends to encourage others to commit to animals and conservation.

As a Deaf woman, I particularly liked the signage programme they have put in place. This gave me practical and factual information about the animals in a visually engaging style and added to my enjoyment on the day. Food, café and picnic areas were also excellent.

I’m a big kid at heart anyway, but I had a fantastic time, and I can’t wait to go back. Anna and her team should be really proud of what they have put in place for our enjoyment.

Article by Sarah Lawrencee

posted in Deaf Lifestyle / Deaf Travel

13th October 2013