Our Trip to Cork, June 2005
Day 1: Dublin to Cork
Day 1: Checking out the Nightlife in Cork Day 2: Cork to Blarney
Day 2: The Midleton Jameson Distillery
Day 2: A Visit to Historical Cobh
Day 2: Night out in Cork City
Day 3: Cork City Gaol
Day 3: Fota Wildlife Park
Day 3: Homeward Bound - Cork to Dublin
Fota Wildlife Park
When we left the gaol the sun was splitting the sky so we drove straight to Fota Wildlife Park . We went through Cork, following the signs for the N25 to Rosslare. It's very well signposted and soon we saw a sign directing us to Fota Island and Wildlife Park. The drive took only 10 minutes to get there.
Due to the good weather there was a bit of a queue to get in but it moved very quickly. Admission is 10.50 euro per adult, 6.50 euro for seniors, students and those under 16 years of age. They also offer discounted rates for groups of 20 or more. The only other charge is 2 euro for the car park.
We would highly recommend Fota for those visiting Cork with children. Visitors are able to see conservation in action. We did seem to be the only adults there without children - saying that, we enjoyed the wildlife park as well! Fota Wildlife Park is actually a non profit organisation so all the income generated is re-invested into the animals and their facilities. One of the best things about Fota is that most the animals are pretty much free to roam around, there are no bars or cages except for the cheetahs and the eagles but even they have lots of room to move around.
The park is spread over 70 acres of open countryside and they are hoping to expand their grounds in the near future. They cleverly sectioned off various areas using water, creating mini islands for the likes of the giraffes and monkeys etc. Peacocks and ducks wandered freely amongst the visitors much to the children's' delight. There were notices strictly asking people not to feed the animals or to touch them - these are animals and not pets! Which is true but we could see several parents having their hands full trying to stop their children - the temptation to touch, pull and chase appeared to be quite strong for some!
For those who want a quick tour of the grounds or may not feel up to the walk, the Awachi Tour Train (Euro 1.60 round trip) will bring you on a circuit of the park, providing some behind the scenes information on animals such as Boris the Bison along the way!
Halfway into the park there's a rest area where you could buy tea, coffee and snacks. Lots of people had brought picnics with them and they were enjoying the sunshine on the grass. There was also a large playground area where the children could play on the monkey bars and go on the swings.
From there you could see beautiful flamingos and lots of different monkeys. It was really nice to see the animals so close up. We moved on to the cheetahs, ostriches and eagles and there were plenty of photo opportunities when an ostrich started chasing the zebras!
With the sun beating down it was the perfect day for Fota Wildlife Park. We would definitely recommend it for those visitors to Cork who want to enjoy being outdoors and away from the city life for a while. It is good value for Monday and you can stay as late as 4.45pm. It is open 7 days a week and is ideal for families or group outings. The staff were very helpful and informative and great with the kids. For a fun and educational trip, Fota should be no. 1 on your list.
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