Ireland’s Fota Island Wildlife Park
This past weekend I went to Fota Island Wildlife Park with Heather and Emily, which was only a 15 minute train ride from Cork City Centre.
As stated by Wikipedia: Fota Wildlife Park has more than 70 species of exotic wildlife in open surroundings. Animals include ostriches, giraffes, kangaroos, zebras, and antelope. Just about all of the animals who inhabit the island are allowed to roam throughout more than 202,000 square metres (50 acres) of mature grassland.
When I originally read this, I assumed this just meant it was like a giant zoo where the animals had more space to roam, but you were just as far away and separated by fences and glass. How very wrong I was.
Unlike American zoos where the owners are afraid of liability, I could have essentially jumped into any of the enclosures of the park without an issue, and some of the animals even decided to jump out! (as shown above where Heather and I are chilling with the mara and peacocks). We were able to get extremely close to all of the animals, and the variety was incredible. Although I knew there were ‘exotic’ animals, I never expected penguins, harbor seals, or kangaroos to be roaming next to peacocks, lemurs, and zebras in an Irish wildlife park.
I highly recommend the park to anyone in the area, it reminds me again of the fact that Irish is so different from America. It’s significantly more easy-going, and a lot more trust is put into the citizens of Ireland than in America. I’m from LA where everything is fenced in and regulated with security all around, yet at Fota you could probably walk right into the enclosures and hang with the animals.