Just 5 miles from the art of dance studio there is a fabulous opportunity for some very close encounters with some extreme exotic animals. Set within stunning grounds on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park is the Dartmoor Zoo Park, formerly Sparkwell Wildlife Park. The history and current renovation of the park is so fascinating that Hollywood film makers have based a film on owner Ben Mee's book 'The Day we bought a zoo'.
Today the art of dance staff team (minus Sue and Jana who were deeply missed) had the pleasure of spending a day at the zoo park as well as being treated to a special behind the scenes experience within the tiger enclosure. It was a day I will never forget, not just because of the tiger experience but because of all the wonder the park has to offer and the chance to share these wonders with my lovely fellow pole dancers; Megan Hookins, Emma Thorpe, Rosanna Durban and Tamar Preston, (pictured below).
For just £10.95 (family and other discounts available) you can spend the whole day at the park. Aside from the many animal enclosures there are lots of opportunities to watch feeding displays, falconry and close encounters. The Jaguar restaurant offers fresh, home-cooked food at great prices and there is a gift shop where Emma and I couldn't resist the chance to buy some toy monkeys (it was either that or we were stealing a real one!). At lunch I sampled the vege chilli and jacket potato having just missed the yummy looking carvery (this also has a vege option). There are plenty of options for carnivores too.
Walking around the park we had the chance to get up close and personal with a multitude of animals including the latest additions to the park; Capybara babies and 2 reindeer, one of whom was just 5 days old (see video). A day at the park just isn't enough and you leave wanting to return as soon as possible. The calming influence of this secret paradise mean you come away invigorated and refreshed, a perfect finish to a weekend that could actually be enjoyed on any or every day of the week.
The video tells you more of the story but apologies for my rubbish camera work. I did forget to press record for the falconry display but it was fabulous despite the barn owls refusal to perform as she was already full with mice, she did muster the energy to fly back to her car indicating that she wasn't in the hunting mood. The Harris Hawk and Lanner Falcon behaved much better and put on an amazing display of agility and grace. I am lucky enough to have experienced one of David Buncle's falconry experiences; my husband and I spent a day with David flying Hawks and Eagles and it was a truly memorable which I highly recommend as either a gift or treat for yourself.
If you want to get involved with DZP there are lots of opportunities to do so, you can simply visit, buy a membership (just £40 for unlimited entry!) or try one of the many gift experiences on offer. Businesses can also help out with sponsorship and win-win deals. If you run a school or community group then you can try one of the fantastic education opportunities that DZP offer. At the art of dance we hope to get more involved with DZP so expect to see some interesting projects on the Horizon involving the art of dance pole dancing instructors and 2 special monkeys!