Published: 00:01, 26 July 2016
Go on safari without leaving Kent’s shores this summer and witness conservation in action by heading for Port Lympne Reserve.
There are more than 700 animals living at Port Lympne and they’re all waiting to see you.
Set in more than 600 acres of countryside, the animal attraction near Hythe is home to rare and endangered animals from across the globe. There are 88 species living there from monkeys and lemurs to elephants and tigers. You can spend the day with them, see them getting fed, and even spend the night.
Here’s our guide to some of the creature treats in store at Port Lympne this summer for the whole family.
Learn about the animals you see at Port Lympne by joining a free animal talk.
Held daily, keepers are able to share a range of facts and stories about the different species.
You can find out about where the daily talks are by looking at the boards in each zone.
You can also see the animals being fed. Most have a varied range of eating times to replicate what they would do in the wild, but the gorillas are fed at noon and 3pm daily.
Not content with being the county’s largest wild animal park, Port Lympne unveiled a herd of prehistoric creatures earlier this year.
To coincide with the park’s 40th anniversary year, there are now more than 100 dinosaurs lurking in the undergrowth, including a T-rex and diplodocus.
Ten new prehistoric animals have joined the stampede, including a mammoth, just in time for the summer holidays.
When the kids want a breather from meeting the animals, there are several different play areas where you can stop and swing, climb and jump around.
They are located at Basecamp, the African Experience Stop and Carnivore Territory.
When they’ve had enough of jumping around, there are barbecues, kiosks, cafes and the Port Lympne Restaurant for fine dining and afternoon tea in dramatic surroundings. You could also try archery or zorbing.
You don’t have to head to Kenya to go on safari this summer.
Port Lympne offers several unique safari experiences. Try a Rhino Safari where you can even meet the Black Rhino, learn about the conservation efforts for its survival and maybe even get to hand feed this magnificent beast.
It costs £40 per person for two hours, while a three-hour VIP safari costs from £60. You can also try a keeper for the day experience and an animal encounters experience.
Feel like sleeping with the sound of roaring lions in the distance?
The reserve has camping pods, a lodge and a four-star hotel on site. The Pinewood Camping Pods are set among the Amur tigers and European wolves, with towering pine trees all around you’ll feel like you’re really camping in the wild not the heart of Kent. You can also try luxurious family glamping in Bear Lodge from one to four nights.
Set your sights on some wild adventures – if you can bear it.
A pair of spectacled bears are set to come to the park and are the species thought to have inspired the stories of children’s favourite Paddington Bear, originating from South America.
Port Lympne Reserve is part of the Aspinall Foundation.
Near Hythe, it is just off Junction 11 of the M20 at CT21 4LR. Part of the Aspinall Foundation, for details of all prices, experiences, animals and events, visit aspinallfoundation.org