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Amusement Parks: Knowsley Safari Park – a Potted History


Knowsley Safari Park is both a tourist attraction and a popular amusement park which is located in Knowsley itself which is a borough of Merseyside on the outskirts of Liverpool in North West England. The site of the amusement park was once home to a former RAF airfield which shut down at the end of World War 2.

Now part of the estate owned by Lord Derby, the amusement park opened up to the public in 1971 as a safari park as the Derby Estate had always maintained a tradition of keeping animals since the famous poet and artist, Edward Lear, was employed there back in the 19th century to paint pictures of the Earl’s collection.

Today, the amusement park is home to many different species of animals including lions, tigers, baboons, rhino, elephants and giraffes as well as smaller animals.

The whole concept of the amusement park was initially devised on the principle that humans should be the ones who are ‘caged’ in (in cars) whilst the animals could roam freely. This made the amusement park a great success although initially there were some complaints about damage to vehicles caused by baboons jumping on top of them and getting up to mischief such as pulling windscreen wipers off.

For this and other reasons of safety, the amusement park has been re-designed over the years to incorporate a ‘car friendly’ bypass route to avoid ‘baboon damage’ to vehicles and it has gone on to become one of Merseyside’s most prominent leisure attractions, winning numerous awards for tourism and animal welfare in the process. This is no mean feat, considering the amusement park is fairly close to the large urban sprawl of Liverpool which gave rise to certain misgivings when the idea for the amusement park was originally mooted.

Although the amusement park’s main ethos has always been to give visitors access to a ‘safari’ type experience, Knowsley Safari Park is an amusement park which has been specially adapted over the years to incorporate family rides such as the Jungle Dodgems and Bumble Bees. It is also an amusement park famous for its Californian Sea Lions spectacular which is both educational and entertaining for both young and old alike.

The amusement park is also a keen champion of environmental and conservation issues and its Fishbrook Wood, opened in 2007, is a quiet area where people can enjoy the rich biodiversity of plants, trees, ponds, birds and other wildlife. 

And, for those of you who are not scared but fascinated by ‘creepy crawlies’, the amusement park has its very own ‘Bug House’ with an interesting range of insects, reptiles and amphibians.
Knowsley Safari Park is an amusement park which is open to the public all year round, with the exception of Christmas Day. However, check the website if you intend visiting as the amusement park’s rides are usually closed for maintenance over the winter period.

See also:
Amusement Parks: Camelot Theme Park – a Potted History
Amusement Parks : Diggerland – a Potted History
Amusement Parks : Fantasy Island – a Potted History
Amusement parks: Gulliver’s World – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Lightwater Valley – a Potted History
Amusement Parks : Legoland Windsor – a Potted History

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