On 14 May 2015 at 1:08pm DL wrote:
Severn Sisters Sheep Centre farm at East Dean on eastbourne route is great place to visit - tho the variety of animal species is, as might be expected, limited mostly to sheep!!
Well worth a visit tho.
On 14 May 2015 at 3:10pm Lewes Resident wrote:
Hi Lion Lady,
For a very special day out, and if you are prepared to go a little further afield, try the Wildlife Heritage Foundation near headcorn, Kent. Their website gives more info.
They are a privately run "Big Cat" conservation project, which is only open to members (but I think, in theory, anyone can join subject to paying the membership fee), and which is only open for a limited number of "members open days" per year.
They have a number of endangered cat species, but include really rare species such as Amur Leopards, Snow Leopards, and Clouded Leopards as well as the slightly less endangered species of Tigers and Lions. The animals are very well looked after with generous enclosures, and not being open to the public per se means the place is never likely to be "crowded".
We were lucky enough to go there a few years back on an organised "photography experience afternoon/evening" for a family member's significant birthday, and the opportunity to get so close to the cats will be a memory we all treasure - to get within inches (literally) of a fully grown Tiger (close enough to feel his breath on the back of your hand), and close enough to run your fingers through the stiff fur coat of an adult Lion - with just a single fence between you and them, is something you will never forget. A day there would definitely make a great "special birthday" pressie for any big cat lover, or for any keen photographer.
But, they are very much "cats only", so if you want more than cats you need to go elsewhere.
As Belladonna says, Port Lympne is more typical of a "zoo" in that they have loads of varied species (mainy African IIRC inc rhinos, elephants and gorillas etc), plenty of very large enclosures, even an "African Safari" style jeep ride through a huge enclosure with Giraffes, Ostrich, Zebra etc. But set off early from Lewes area as the place is huge and you will need the best part of a whole day there to get the most out of it - if you pitch up after lunch expecting to "do" the place in an hour or two you will be disappointed. Well worth the visit, and last time we went, if you gift-aided your entry fee you got one free return entry per ticket within 12 months.