They’ve been welcoming visitors for four decades.
Fota Wildlife Park turns 40 on Friday, June 23rd, with a weekend of carnival-style entertainment planned to mark the milestone birthday.
Since opening to the public in 1983, the park has expanded from 73 to 100 acres, growing the animal collection from 59 species to 108, giving €4m to conservation programmes, and overseeing the births of hundreds of endangered animals including 240 cheetahs, 72 Rothschild’s giraffes and 60 European bison.
Fota Wildlife Park has also been a key participant in many high-profile reintroduction programmes such as the European bison into the UK, Poland and Romania, the Scimitar-horned oryx in North Africa, and have released almost 7,000 Natterjack toads in West Kerry in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Dingle Aquarium.
From Friday, June 23rd to Sunday, June 25th, carnival performers such as stilt walkers and jugglers will entertain visitors from 12pm to 4pm daily.
Carnival booths, face painting and an array of fun games will be available each day, located at the Oasis Restaurant Area in Fota Wildlife Park.
The Cork-based vocal duo, Velvet, will also be doing pop-up acapella swing and jazz numbers on Friday afternoon.
“Throughout the birthday weekend there will be live feeding of animals such as the Humbolt penguins, Northern cheetahs, lion-tailed macaques, red pandas, seals, and various primates,” they told us.
All events are free with entry to Fota Wildlife Park.