I spent the day at The Wild Place Project near Bristol and saw more animals than I expected

Reviews have been mixed recently but what did our reporter find this week?
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Since the controversial closure of Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton last September, Bristolians have had to go to the Wild Place Project near Cribbs Causeway to get their animal fix.

Soon to become the new Bristol Zoo Project, The Wild Place Project has received some mixed reviews of late, with some visitors claiming the attraction is ‘very underwhelming’, ‘overpriced’ and that there aren’t enough animals there.

We decided to visit the Wild Place Project to see what it offers on a weekday. Having arrived at 11am, I decided to try to catch the Bear Wood Talk happening at 11.15am.

Entering Bear Wood, visitors are greeted by the “time chamber”, a room which displays a clip explaining how that due to the deforestation in Britain, the species found in Bear Wood (wolverines, lynxes, wolves and bears) cannot be found in the wild in the UK.

As I entered Bear Wood, I was lucky to see the wolverines roaming around their enclosure and tried to catch them on camera.

They are fast, which made it a tricky task. I missed the talk, but I was able to get a close look at a couple of bears who were playfighting in their facilities.

From the safe house, I was also able to get a close look at the wolves. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spot the lynxes.

The Giraffe House balcony had a talk scheduled at noon. Here, I was able to get a face-to-face view of the giraffes who were stripping the branches bare as the talk was happening.

I was feeling a bit hungry, so I decided to check out Basecamp Pizzeria and ordered a Tower Meadow pizza with vegan cheese for £11.95.

The pizza was ready in about 10 minutes. The dough was soft with a slight crunch, and the mushrooms were soft. It was very filling.

With a full stomach, I decided to visit the gelada monkeys, who were relaxing and grooming themselves, before meeting Joe and Toby, the pygmy goats.

I was lucky to walk into the lemur walkthrough as the lemur talk and feed started. The sunny weather meant that the lemurs were more active in the enclosure as they climbed their ropes and trees, and munched on their lunch.

The family of Lake Alaotra gentle lemurs in the second section were cuddled up on their shelf ready to have a siesta.

I then made my way to the Tower Meadow, a vast field adorned with work by local artists, a playing area and picnic tables for visitors to enjoy.

Next, it was the barefoot trail, where visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes to enjoy the sensory experience.

I made my way through trails of pebbles, tiles, hay, sand and tyres before happily encountering a tap at the end of the trail where visitors can clean off their feet.

I then paid a visit to the Walled Garden, home to the meerkats and birds, including the Tarictic hornbill who was originally living in the Zoo Gardens at Clifton.

Visitors to The Wild Place Project can get close to the giraffesVisitors to The Wild Place Project can get close to the giraffes
Visitors to The Wild Place Project can get close to the giraffes

I also visited the Sanctuary Gardens, which is a lovely spot perfect for having a picnic.

Afterwards, I returned to the Walled Garden to listen to the meerkat talk and feed. The five meerkats were relaxing until they heard a staff member approaching and became alert and moved as one, ready for feeding time.

After the talk, I tried to find the red river hogs, but unfortunately, I was not able to spot them during this visit. So I visited the zebras instead before trying to spot the cheetahs for the second time in the day. I was very lucky, and was able to spot two out of the three cheetahs.

Having spent about six hours at Wild Place, I decided to visit the shop before calling it a day.

Entrance to Wild Place Project costs £17.95 for adults with a donation, and £13.95 for children with a donation. You can unlock a 10% discount by booking online at least one day before your planned visit.

The facilities struck a good balance between experiences for visitors and mimicking the environment of the species.

It is true, however, that it is very tricky to spot some of the animals, particularly the lynxes and cheetahs.

The weather also plays an important role in determining which animals will be more active and visible but, overall, it was a good experience and worth the price.