We recently spent a long weekend exploring East Sussex and began at Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex. It’s somewhere I’d driven past many times over the years before I had children, but now with two of them, it seemed a perfect time to visit – and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Drusillas Park was one of the earliest zoos to open in the UK. It was founded in 1925 when Douglas Ann bought an old farm and 20 acres of land and opened the cottage to sell refreshments to motorists, naming it after his wife Drusilla.
Over the next few years animals, including a kangaroos and a chimpanzee, were added to boost trade and it now has more than 130 types of animals and it is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Sussex.
It is also considered to be one of the most progressive zoos in the country and many of the animals are involved in breeding programmes to ensure the survival of their species.
There’s clearly a great deal of care and attention to detail at Drusillas which is evident by the fact that considerable effort has clearly been put in to educating visitors about the animals they are seeing, including a lot of detail in the petting zoo relating to where meat and milk comes from.
We were all very impressed by the free colour booklets which the children were able to collect the ink stamps from beside a number of different animals as we made our way round the exhibits and various exhibits where children could test, for example, how high they could climb and how loud they could shout.
We’re lucky enough to live near a zoo back home in Hampshire (Marwell) and although smaller in acreage, Drusillas Park has ample attractions to keep you occupied during the day.
Most popular for my children were the Meerkats (everyone loves meerkats!), Lemurland – in which we could see ring-tail and black lemurs up close and personal and, my favourites, the Rainbow Lorikeets – one of which landed on my hand within seconds of entering their compound.
Away from the animals, Drusillas has ample attractions to keep you occupied during the day including an extensive play area, a Thomas and Friends train ride, an Egyptian themed maze, which my son loved, and for small people, a Hello Kitty Secret Garden.
All in all, an excellent place to spend a day out, which I can’t recommend highly enough.