Last Sunday we visited Howletts Wild Animal Park, which is situated near Canterbury, in Kent. It was a cool January afternoon, and I was a little bit worried that many of the animals might be hiding indoors, away from our view, but luckily that was not the case at all. In fact, we got an even better look at most animals this time, compared to our previous visit in August, as there’s less vegetation to obscure the view this time of year.
We saw wolfs, tigers, a lioness, lemurs, elephants, river hogs, deer, gorillas, wild dogs, bison, rhinos, various primates, a tapir, and more.
As usual, Penguin was keen to keep moving, so we only spent a short time on each animal. I’m very grateful for every good day out with our boy, and we pay a lot of attention to his signals and try to make sure that his needs are met. There have been times before when outings have ended in Penguin having a meltdown, and that can be pretty traumatic, so we obviously try to prevent that from happening. Keeping sugar levels from dropping too low and stress levels from rising too high are key, and one important aspect in this is movement, which gives plenty of proprioceptive input and works as an outlet for stress and anxiety.
When things don’t go to plan and a day out ends in a meltdown (due to sensory overload, or not enough food or drink or sleep, or too much waiting, or an unfortunate combination of a little bit of everything) it may make you hesitate about doing similar activities again. But for now we’re on a good run, keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to continue enjoying our days out and about with Penguin, like we did this time.