Staff at West Midland Safari Park are gearing up for their annual Easter event and even the animals are getting involved with the celebrations.
For this year’s Easter Eggstravaganza which starts on 8 April and ends on 23 April, keepers have been tasked with making Easter-themed enrichment for the animals in their care.
The Park’s mob of mischievous meerkats have a well-planned enrichment schedule, which includes ball pits, hessian sacks and shedded snake skin. They also receive food hidden in empty ostrich eggs. Enrichment is used to encourage natural behaviours such as foraging, playing and hunting.
For an extra special, early Easter treat, keepers boiled and decorated some chicken eggs, then hid them around the enclosure. The meerkats then had to find the eggs and use their sharp teeth and claws to crack the shells, to get to the yummy insides.
Beth Cheshire, African Village Keeper, said, “Meerkats love eggs so Easter is probably their favourite time of the year. In the wild they will climb up to bird’s nests to steal and eat the eggs, so will go to great lengths to find these treats.
“Here at the Park, we use eggs for enrichment as well as a food source. We make large papier-mâché eggs and fill them full of tasty treats, such as meal worms and the meerkats have to figure out the best way to get the worms out. Not quite the same as our chocolate eggs but you can see how much they love it!”
As well as the meerkats, the Park’s other animal residents will be receiving Easter enrichment over the next few weeks, so visitors are encouraged to see if they can spot it as they journey around the Safari.
The two-week-long Easter Eggstravaganza event will include a whole host of exciting activities, such as an Eggsplorer’s Trail to help the Easter Bunny find the giant missing eggs. There will also be a variety of competitions to take part in, to win some amazing prizes, an Eggsplorer’s Craft Club and themed shows and encounters.
Local schools and youth groups will also be getting involved with the Easter fun, as they have been invited to enter an Easter egg decorating competition. All the entries will be on display at the Park during the event.
Easter Eggstravaganza activities are included in the standard admission charge of £23.00 for adults, £18.00 for children aged 3-15 and £21.00 for concessions. Children under the age of three years are admitted free of charge. Admission includes a voucher for a return visit or safari gift. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.
Further information and tickets are available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402 114. You can find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page.