Need an idea to keep the kids amused for a day during what seems to be endless summer holidays? Fota Wildlife Park must surely be the answer to all your prayers! Find out more about Fota Wildlife Park, the animals that live within its confines and how to get here.
The aim of Fota Wildlife Park is to care for endangered species, through breeding programmes. The animals chosen can do well in an environment that allows them to meander through 40 acres of land, as if they were back in their home country. Here in their new home, they mix with other species, and of course, these animals need to be comfortable around the many thousands of visitors. It’s also very important that the chosen species can adapt to our climate.
How it all began…
It’s due to Dr. Terry Murphy (Director of Dublin Zoo) that we have Fota Wildlife Park today. It was 1979 and Dublin Zoo couldn’t develop any further due to limited space. Dr Murphy suggested setting up something that would be between a zoo and a safari park. The Zoological Society was on the lookout for a suitable site, when Professor Tom Rafferty (Vice President of University College Cork and also Director of Fota Island) contacted them and proposed that this new concept be housed at Fota. All within the space of 1 year a formal agreement was in place that the Zoological Society would set up this new wildlife park.
Funds for the project came from the public and a grant from Bord Fáilte.
It was definitely a case of “icing on the cake” for Dr. Murphy, as the Zoological Society took on board his vision for the design of the park.
By the end of 1982 the first animals were arriving and the dream was finally realized with the Grand Opening by Dr. Patrick Hillery, President of Ireland, in the summer of 1983.
What can you expect to see at Fota Wildlife Park…
Animals and birds from all over the world basically, including apes, bison, kangaroos, prairie dogs, sea eagles, ostriches, pandas, pelicans and zebras to name but a few!
What you won’t see…
Lions, tigers and elephants, due to the fact that these animals can prove very dangerous and need quite a big compound to keep them.
Facilities in site…
Jump aboard the Wildlife Tour Train and be chauffeured round the park. Stop off at the Serengeti Gift Shop for that must have souvenir of your wonderful day.
Got the kids with you? Then have a nice relaxing sit down as they burn off some energy in the free playgrounds. Or satisfy those hunger pangs with a trip to the Oasis Restaurant.
Monday to Saturday: 10am
The last entry is at 5pm and the gates close at 6pm.
Children under 16, students and seniors: EUR8.50
Children under 2 years of age: Free
Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) EUR54.00
How to get here…
Fota Wildlife Park is situated 10km east of Cork City, just off the N25. Take the Cobh Road (R22) The entrance to the park is just before Belvelly bridge.
There is a Direct Rail Service to Fota Wildlife Park Station. Cork to Fota only 15 minutes. This train connects to intercity trains to Dublin.
Fota is only 15 minutes from Cork Airport.
For more information check out the Fota Wildlife Park website.
Need somewhere to stay? Have a look at our Cork hotels page.