Things to do in Norfolk: Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.

thrigby1If this happy-looking chap is not Thrigby Hall’s mascot I think he needs to be – we certainly left with big toothy smiles on our faces (though with no desire to eat anyone).

While, as I said before, zoos are not really my cup of tea, picking an activity suitable for a two-year-old and the varying tastes of six adults, one of whom is registered blind, was not an easy task, especially as we were experiencing typical British summer weather.

Having been to Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, near Great Yarmouth, before, we thought this was our best bet – although we had to swap the day we went due to predicted heavy rain and it mostly being outside.

The hall itself, which is now mainly a gift shop, was built in 1736 by Joshua Smith. It is probable that Thomas Ivory was the architect although in 1876 it was remodelled by the then owner, Squire Daniels.

The gardens were opened to the public by Ken Sims, a former poisonous snake farmer (!) and crocodile keeper, in 1979. My mum tells me we went there as a family when I was four, which would have been two years after that.

According to the website: “Progressive zoos like Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens are fast becoming a last refuge for many species as their natural homes are destroyed by the greed of man.”

IMG_7890

It is a supporter of the World Zoo Conservation Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its collection of animals was “the first to be signed over in entirety to the Joint Management of Species Programme”.

You can get close to a variety of rare animals from Asia including Sumatran tigers, red pandas, gibbons and one of the largest collections of crocodiles in the country (they totally look fake until you see them blink).

Although smallish, we found it was just the right size for a toddler to walk around. We didn’t even bother getting her buggy out of the boot – although the car park is not very far should we have needed it.

IMG_7944There were a couple of bits we didn’t do such as the tiger tree walk, which is in the trees around the tigers’ enclosure and provides a “birds’ eye view” but we found everything else accessible.

It was great to see the red panda up and about (last time we went it remained asleep in its tree) and we spent a long time with the primates who gave quite a performance and fascinated everyone (please see video if you’re interested. You’ll need the sound on).

We also had a lovely picnic on a table in front of the hall and for once Freya actually ate, which was probably one of the highlights of my day.

IMG_7819As well as the animals there are also play areas and a beautiful Willow Pattern Garden.

Thrigby Hall is open from 10am. Standard adult rate is £13.90 (we got a £1 off each full price with a voucher from a Things To Do In Norfolk booklet I picked up from the train station) with under fours free.


ANIMALTALES

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18 thoughts on “Things to do in Norfolk: Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.

  1. Hello Tara!
    I know what you mean about zoos… I’ve been to a few over the years, including Thrigby, and it’s taken me a while to warm to them, probably helped by the fact they’re no longer just a place to look at animals, but most of them now are an important part of wildlife conservation.
    We go to Banham Zoo (almost) every year – because that’s where my hubby popped the question and I do look forward to seeing my favourites ~ the red pandas. The ring-tailed monkeys (you can get up close to them in their walk through enclosure) are (among others) pretty fascinating too.
    My only quibble with zoos now is the price, although I appreciate the costs involved in running a zoo, if places like this charged less, we’d visit more often – which as far as I’m concerned would equate to more revenue for them in the long run.

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    1. Hey Cath! I’ve missed seeing you. I hope everything is going well. I agree about the price. It’s not something we could afford to do very often (and we were very lucky in this case as my parents insisted on paying for me and Mark’s parents for him!).

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      1. Ahh, Thanks Tara! I’ve been somewhat distracted, not just with school holidays, but with a bit of business too!
        Slowly getting back into the swing of things now 🙂

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    1. That must have been amazing (although a little tiring!). It was so strange they way they just started up and then they stopped just as suddenly. Wonderful to experience.

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  2. You’ve got to love that grin on the crocodile! It can be a tricky balancing act these days to get a zoo right. Now I have to pay for both of my children it’s a rare treat to go these days but I understand the massive running costs.

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  3. I like zoo’s and I guess as long as the animals are bing cared for that is the most important thing. I really want to take my daughter on a day trip one day- guess my hubby will have to do it as I don’t think id be well enough for a full day out! #AnimalTales

    Angela x

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  4. Gosh, those teeth in the first picture! I’ve seen crocs in the wild in Tanzania-they are amazing but very scary-move so quick 🙂
    We were thinking of visiting Norfolk next year as we’ve never been-I may be asking for some suggestions for places to go!

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