Things to do | Posted 24 Jan 2012
The Fota Wildlife Park is a modern 70 acre wildlife park in County Cork, Ireland. Fota is home to more than 70 species of birds and mammals, many of them endangered, from a wide variety of habitats. Here you can see giraffes, macaws, kangaroos, flamingoes, penguins and many other varieties of wildlife.

The park is not a zoo in the traditional sense, because many of the animals here are not enclosed at all but are free to roam the park and even come into contact with visitors. The lemurs and monkeys in particular will interact with humans on a regular basis. The larger animals are fenced in by enclosures that are naturalistic and barely noticeable.

Several endangered species are held in breeding programs at Fota, but the most well know are probably the cheetahs. For feeding, exercise and behavioral enrichment purposes, the park has installed a “cheetah run,” where the cheetahs must chase after food that is suspended off the ground while it is pulled along a wire at about 65 km/h.

Fota places a great emphasis upon conservation, research and education. They offer classes for both primary and secondary students, and provide a summer camp for children and youths when schools are not in session. The education program at Fota has won the prestigious Sanford Award for Heritage Education for its work in teaching students about wildlife.

Fota is a very family-friendly wildlife park. Aside from the animals, the park has several playgrounds, and sponsors a variety of special programs geared to both children and adults. The park maintains two tour trains and a jeep safari. Visitors can relax in the café and picnic facilities, and purchase a memento at the gift shop. Fota is only 10 km from the city of Cork, and about 15 minutes from Cork Airport. There are many hotels in Cork nearby so you have no excuse to not visit this beautiful park.

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