What to do at the Weekend:
Visit Manor Wildlife Park for a Red Panda Experience
Tanith loves two things above all else in this World, pandas and red pandas. Since nowhere does an actual panda experience, we did the next best thing.
The Red Panda Experience
Ben and a very excited Tanith made the incredibly long journey (long for us) down to South West Wales in July to go and feed, stroke, and otherwise coo over red pandas.
Also, for those who don’t know, Tenby is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire.
This works out perfectly because the sea is probably the third thing that Tanith loves most (after the pandas).
We’re going to talk about the experience and then the rest of the wildlife park – as this was the real highlight of the trip.
Skip ahead if you don’t want to see pictures of and read about cute red pandas, but we will totally judge you if you do.
A Shout out for Louise
So, we arrived a little late for the experience because all the roads were closed for The Long Course event that was happening throughout Wales.
This turned the whole locality into a challenging back road labyrinth that Theseus himself would have struggled to navigate.
Regardless, we were ably directed and welcomed by the ladies on reception and Louise who looked after us during the red panda experience.
Our Red Panda Friend
Our red panda friend for the morning was named Betty after the Hollywood legend Betty White.
She was shy at first but soon warmed to us after she realised that it was feeding time!
Betty’s sister Cherry however gave us a swerve and didn’t make an appearance during the whole experience.
We supposed this was probably a good thing as Betty was a handful for us both anyway.
We were treated to some absolutely amazing interaction with Betty, who wolfed down the carrots, pellets, and apple slices that we had for her.
As her confidence grew, she even started trying to grab the bowl from us.
As it turned out, Betty would do pretty much anything for a slice of apple.
They are definitely red pandas’ favourite food because she was quite content to pose for selfies, get some really close-up shots, and was completely comfortable with us gently stroking her back.
Red panda fur feels a lot coarser than you might imagine by the way!
Louise informed us that they trained their red pandas to be comfortable around humans to make veterinary check ups less stressful for them.
No animal likes a vet!
The experience was an absolutely magical one.
It felt truly VIP with the keeper’s expert knowledge, going behind the scenes into the enclosure, and getting up-close-and-personal with one of Tanith’s favourite animals.
How much does the red panda experience cost?
Currently the red panda experience at the Manor costs 90 pounds for a half an hour session. This is up a little from what Ben paid last year.
But, we have to say, this experience was worth absolutely every penny.
As a birthday treat or anniversary present for an animal lover, you can’t go wrong with this.
You will need to book your day/time slot for the experience once your purchase is confirmed.
We are told that this is the most popular experience they do.
Find out more about the red panda experience by visiting the website here.
Manor Wildlife Park does offer all sorts of other animal experiences too, which we would love to return some day to try out!
Red Panda Experiences in the UK
Can’t make it to South Wales and want to do a red panda experience?
We have a blog post that tells you five places in the UK that offers red panda experiences.
Manor Wildlife Park
Arguably the most famous thing about Manor Wildlife Park is its owners.
Interior designer Anna Ryder Richardson of nineties and noughties TV Show Changing Rooms fame and her husband Colin MacDougall bought the wildlife park in 2008.
But, we think this is a great little wildlife park for the price (we talk about that a bit further on).
There’s a decent sized free car park next door to the park itself and the place is relatively easy to find (when the roads are actually open).
Manor Wildlife Park Opening Times
Manor Wildlife Park is open from 10am until 6pm, Monday to Friday in the Spring and Summer seasons.
10am – 5pm in the Autumn and 10am – 4pm in Winter.
One of the best things we found was that Manor Wildlife Park had a lot of interactive enclosures and experiences you can have here.
Here is our summary and experience of some of the enclosures that we visited.
Feeding the Wallabies
When you first enter the park, you have the opportunity to buy some wallaby food for a couple of pounds.
We definitely would recommend picking up one of these little bags of nuggets and going to feed the wallabies inside their home.
They are very gentle animals that will just hop on over and take the food right out of your hand. Ideal for children and people that are little less confident when it comes to feeding animals directly.
They’ll quite contently chomp away on their pellet while you stick around for a photo or two.
The Pig Walk
Straight after the red panda experience, we followed Louise past the gift shop and cafe area for ‘the pig walk’ – a mad half an hour where three young piglet brothers are let loose through the park.
These big furry bundles of energy don’t mind being stroked, so it’s another chance to get some cool pics.
We are fully fledged bunny-philes (probably not a word), so Hoppington Green was right up our alley.
This dedicated area was home to some enormous Flemish Giant Rabbits.
These very cute big bunnies definitely weren’t skittish or afraid of human contact in the slightest.
They’ll let you walk right up to them, which is perfect if you want to pet these super-soft furry creatures while they hop around you.
This black bunny took a particular shine to Tanith.
A Walk with Lemurs
The lemur enclosure is another one where you can walk around inside, whilst the mischievous little Ring Tailed lemurs swing overhead and scurry around right in front of you.
Stay for the lemur talk (very ably delivered by Grace during our visit) to see the lemurs at their most active.
You’ll learn all about the resident lemurs that live at the Manor, the different species, their names, and their habits.
Again, they are not shy and you will get to see them at their most mischievous!
The Rest of the Wildlife Park
There are lots of other animals and plenty to see generally at Manor Wildlife Park.
The Gibbons were particularly active during our visit and we managed to get some good glimpses of the tigers just before the tiger talk
Although it’s not definitely not as big as other zoos (such as Chester), we recommend taking comfy shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
How much does Manor Wildlife Park Cost?
Manor Wildlife Park prices are £17.95 per adult, £15.95 per child, and concessions are £15.95.
Is it good value for money?
Yes, we do think this represents good value for money.
All things considered, there are plenty of interactive features here that many wildlife parks and zoos don’t offer.
We spent around four hours in total (including the Red Panda Experience) and would definitely return at some point in the future.
Also, as we alluded to earlier, the Red Panda Experience was worth every penny in our opinion.
Where we stayed
We wanted to take a second to recognise Neil and his beautiful AirBnB home.
Made almost entirely out of wood, we were really impressed with the pretty little “Round House” cabin that Neil provided.
We found it to be everything we expected – cosy, clean, quiet, and the perfect little hideaway for our weekend trip.
We would definitely love to stay again.
For more pics / video stay tuned to our Instagram as we’ll be making a specific reel for this place.