Tracey and myself together with our friends Debs and Paul, recently visited this vast wilderness in the middle of Stirlingshire. I'd never been before, but I'll tell you this - I'd go again and again and twice on Sunday!
Well, take a look at the photos we took that day and you might get an idea. See, us City folks yaw, we get so wrapped up in our lives amongst concrete, with all its abundance of grey narrowing our imagination until all our eyes can see is what's in front of them, we forget sometimes what's beyond, what can't be felt by watching TV or plugging ourselves online.
What am I droning on about now, you may ask?...
...Nature. That's what.
OK, so when we dragged ourselves around Blair Drummond Safari Park, hungover and dressed as if we'd just come from a seriously draining gig, we may well have looked kinda like Billy Crystal and his tragic gang from City Slickers.
But we soon woke up when we got there.
(In any event, I'm sure the animals there are used to it though - folks in jeans and trainers visiting the wild armed only with a can of ginger, lame ducks out of water - maybe that's why they all glared at us like we were the ones with the smaller brain capacity!)
Anywho. Back to the plot.
The Gallery I've uploaded to the site shows only about half of what we experienced on the day, and even then I had to cut out a great number of photos just to make it less time consuming for you. What they show however, is a taste of what you'd see if you visited Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Go there. Simple as that. The reason I mentioned it even though it's not actually in Glasgow, is that without a doubt it comes well within my top ten places to visit near Glasgow.
Perhaps it was the gradual detox from the night before messing with our minds that day, but at one point we were absolutely certain that we'd just driven foolishly into Jurassic Park! At any given moment as we wound ourselves around the paths, if Jeff Goldblum had jumped right into our car and shouted (imagine the voice) 'Uh, what are you all doing? - This is, uh, well this is just chaos, MADNESS I TELL YOU!!', we wouldn't have been surprised at all...
I mean, the whole of Blair Drummond Safari Park is surrounded by great looming metal fences, which although yes, didn't manage to keep in all those wacky dinosaurs. But hey, what made me feel as safe as houses was the great number of safari vehicles dotted around the place, tranquiliser guns primed at the ready just in case.
All this security left us able to enjoy the place enormously. The way we got the best of the park was by getting there pretty early on in the morning (how did we ever manage it?!). By doing that we were able to drive slowly around in order that we could stop to see everything.
The road track around the park gives you options to leave it to see various attractions, but eventually takes you back to the beginning. So we simply went round once and saw all the animals walking about, then went round again and took the boat to the chimpanzees island, and then once again & stopped to go to the amusements and sea lions show.
We got to the park when it opened at 10am. By the time we were done, having seen pretty much everything the park had to offer, it was about 3.30pm, so you can definitely see it all in a day. To be honest though, we rushed a few bits because by the time the hangovers dissipated, we were hoping to get back on the sauce sooner rather than later!
Top attractions for me at Blair Drummond Safari Park? Whilst the lions are always something to see, they don't do much, principally because they're amongst the laziest creatures on earth, sleeping & just sitting about for the vast majority of the day. Yeah, I know what you're thinking - why can't I do that?
Apart from them though, I'd thoroughly recommend waiting patiently for the giraffes to come out of their (unsurprisingly very tall) shed, as it's definitely worth the wait. They're so graceful it really does bring a sense of peace as you stand there watching.
Next I'd say the chimpanzee island. You get a little boat out to it and get a recorded tour & guide to the chimps there. Apparently they like watching TV and one of them even likes betting on the horse racing! The tour guide threw them some food when we passed them.
It really amazes me how breathtaking and absorbing it is to watch them even just catch food and eat it. They're just like us in a great many ways, apart from their status as an endangered species, of course. But it may well be just that - they're so like us we must have this inbuilt fascination with them given that they reflect very closely our own ancestry.
OK, so that might be just a wee bit too deep for this time of day. Maybe the realwonder is whether the chimps themselves were looking at us as we passed by, thinking just how rude it was of us to stare at them all having lunch!
As I say though, if you give yourself enough time you should be able to see all the magic of Blair Drummond Safari Park. You'll see the times for the set attractions as you go round as well, so it doesn't take much to plan when you're going to see them. For example, we timed it so that we could get to see the chimps, then to go round and catch the sea lions show, having a pretty good lunch in between.
As for lunch etc., you're spoilt for choice. You can either head for the large indoor cafeteria, or outside to buy hotdogs etc. or even to the sheltered BBQs to which you can bring your own food no matter the weather.
And I don't need to mention what's there for the kids. As a big kid myself, I know that Blair Drummond Safari Park in itself will keep them amused, but if that really isn't enough, there's an amusement park where you can get them to search for hidden treasure tokens or go on the various rides, and an amusement arcade for the older kids (like Paul who managed to win about £20 in a few minutes there, the lucky swine!). There are also a few shops in the park which for once aren't just filled with trash, so they're well worth the visit.
So just give it a go. Head in early, take your time and you'll come out with an experience you'll never forget.
For more information, visit the Official Site.
Pretty easy, really. It's less than an hour from Glasgow. By car, heading out of Glasgow on the M8 just follow the signs for Stirling. This will lead you onto the M9, and again just following the signs, take Junction 10 off the Motorway. After that, you'll see on the next roundabout and after that the brown signs pointing you in the direction of Blair Drummond Safari Park.
By rail, you can get a regular train at Queen Street Station at George Square, Glasgow. When you get to Stirling, just take the Number 11, 59 or 359 bus to right outside the gates of Blair Drummond Safari Park.
As I said, having spent just a few hours at the park we must have taken so many pictures that day I'd be absolutely stunned if you didn't get a feel for the place from them all. My only real annoyance though comes from the fact that I accidentally deleted the one I took of the giraffes tapdancing when they thought no-one was looking!
All in all we took just less than 100 photos, but to ensure that I'm not accused of provoking global mass incidents of head injuries as you all fall fast asleep on your keyboards, I've cut down that number to just a few pages.
To see any of the images in a better light, just click on them or their text link below and they'll open up a new screen with the image enlarged.
To view the gallery below, click on any image on this page. The light box containing the pictures will open shortly, then 'click right' or 'left arrow' [ > or < ] or 'play' button to view the gallery.
|Don't chase the animals
|Wallaby at peace
|Donkey saying hello
|Blair Drummond House
|Blair Drummond Deer
|Deer chewing berk
|Bactrian Camel Blockade
|Bambi at dinner
|Blair Drummond Lions
Check out more images of Blair Drummond Safari Park: Page 2 - Lions, Byson & Big Kids, Page 3 - Chimps, Giraffes & Sea Lions.