Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sunshine, Meerkats and big smiles!

Jacqui Turner and her partner, Peter, have been here on the Island for a few days holiday – and, as we all know, it’s been rather wet weather for much of the time!  Today, however, has been perfect!  So Jacqui celebrated her birthday by having a Meerkat Encounter.  She said it made her holiday!

The healing power of close encounters with wildlife

Mr Vernon James is here on the Island with his family for a short break.  Vernon has had a life-long-love of Meerkats.  As his health is not good this was a special occasion for Vernon to spend close-up time with these animals that he has loved and admired for so long.  The weather was absolutely wonderful – clear blue skies and warm September sunshine – and the Meerkats were active, inquisitive and responsive – so all in all it was a perfect Encounter.  Vernon said it was the highlight of his holiday.  Health permitting another Meerkat Encounter is already being planned ….

Otters waiting for breakfast!

Pictured waiting for breakfast … our three lovable Asian Short-clawed Otter brothers …. behaving as though they haven’t eaten for days …. they climb up their enclosure fence every morning like this so that they can see the Keepers going in and out of the food prep room door – they call out with their high-pitched wailing voices, just in case the Animal Care Team might forget to feed them!

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Never mind the weather …. the Penguins are eager as ever!


Grace Abbott (pictured below) is here on the Island from Cambridgeshire having a family holiday this week.  Her Dad booked a Penguin Encounter for her – and Grace seemed to really enjoy the whole experience.  The Penguins were really hungry this morning so Grace fed them an extra helping of sprats during her personal, one-on-one feeding session!


Picturesque Storm clouds and rainbow over the Park this morning


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Liam’s 21st birthday!

LiamThistlewood is a popular and valued member of our catering team.  He’s been with the Park for three seasons now and multi-tasks between assisting Graham, our chef, with food preparation in the kitchen – and dealing with front-of-house customer service.  Liam celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday.  When he sat down to have a cup of tea in the mid afternoon he was surprised with gifts, a card and a banner (that ended up wrapped around him like a sari!)  A few members of the catering and gifts teams gathered round to sing to him!

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Monday, 24 September 2012

Express yourself, and at the same time support a very worthwhile charity ….

The Wight Fair Writers Circle presents:
A Winter Short Story & Poetry Competition
‘The Night before Christmas’
Great prizes to be won as well as the winners published in the County Press and interviewed on IW Radio!
Under 12s up to 750 words - £2 per entry
Under 18s up to 750 words - £2 per entry
Adults 1,500 – 2,000 words - £4 per entry

All proceeds to:-

The Earl Mountbatten Hospice
St Catherine’s School
Closing date 19th November 2012
Winners announced 19th December 2012 at a reception in Newport Minster
Entry forms & rules below or write to:-
For further information call Carol Bridgestock
01983 402393 or
Maggie Jones 01983 840899
Or collect from: Waterstones, 118 High Street, Newport


Entry Form
Name: ……………………………………………………………………………
Address: ……………………………………………………………………………
Post Code: …………………
Tel. no …………………….
E-mail ……………………………………………
DOB if under 18 at the time of submission
Please state what age you will be on the 19th November 2012 …………………
School Attending..................................
I enclose £…… for my entry (ies) and declare that the material is my own work, and has not been previously published in any form. I am an Isle of Wight resident/work or attend school on the IOW.
Signature of Parent//Guardian/Teacher if entrant is under 18 …………………………….
I enclose the following stories
………………………………….. ………………………... ………………….
………………………………….. ………………………… ………………….
Please put the money in a sealed envelope attached to your entry & make cheques payable to: Wight Fair Writers Circle
£4 per adult story/poem & £2 for under 18’s
Return entries with entry fee by 19th November 2012 to:-
Winter Christmas Short Story/Poetry Competition ‘The Night before Christmas’
118, High Street,
Isle of Wight
PO30 1TP
e-mail Carol Bridgestock @ or Tel: 01983 402393
Maggie Jones @ or Tel: 01983 840899 with any queries.

  1. All stories/poems must be original, unpublished and the sole work of the author.
  2. Word count is 1500 – 2000 words for Adults – Up to 750 for Under 18’s. Category chosen clearly marked.
  3. Entries to be submitted to Waterstones, 118,High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1TP or by post. 
  4. Postal entries must be submitted with name, address & phone number on a separate sheet of paper with entry money enclosed.
  5. All entrants must be residents of the Isle of Wight.
  6. Closing date for entries is 19th November 2012
  7. All entries must have a title
  8. Winners will be announced on 19th December 2012 at a prize-giving reception
  9. All stories/poems must be accompanied by the entry fee of £4 per story for adults and £2 for Under 18s. Cheques should be made payable to White Fair Writers Circle.
  10. Entries will not be returned so please keep a copy
  11. The judge’s decision is final. No communication will be entered into
  12. Submitting an entry to the Wight Fair Writers Competition implies acceptance of the above rules. Entries which do not comply with the rules will be disqualified and entry fees will not be returned.
So come on all you budding writers and poets – or even those who think they can’t write but have love in their hearts – dig deep and reach out to others who need you right now in this lead-up to Christmas 2012.

Letter of the Week

Thank you very much to Chris Murray and Jemma Lumber for taking the time to write this lovely email giving us such positive feedback on their Penguin Encounter of last week!
“23 September 2012
Dear Jules
Just a quick email to thank you so much for our fantastic penguin encounter last Tuesday 18th September. Jemma had booked the encounter as a Birthday present for me and we combined our visit to you with a few days break on the island. Our day at Seaview Wildlife Encounter was definitely the highlight of our trip. We had a fantastic day at the park and were very impressed with the very “hands on” approach to your animals and birds. As you know Jemma and I are both great animal lovers and we both work with dogs but we were able to fulfil a life long ambition to get up close and personal and to feed penguins. We were also very impressed with the rest of the park and the friendliness and knowledge of all your staff, particularly Charlotte and Grace. Thank you also for all the great photographs which will remind us of our time with you. Looking forward to visiting again soon.
Thanks again for an awesome day. Love to Dippy & Co.
Chris Murray & Jemma Lumber, West Sussex”
Chris and Jemma photographed during their Penguin Encounter 18th September 2012

Beautiful autumn weather before the rain arrived yesterday!


Before the onslaught of the recent heavy rain we had some excellent Wildlife Encounters here at the Park on Friday and Saturday. 

Jenny Dix (pictured below) was a Keeper for a Day on Friday 21st September.  This was a 60th birthday present from her husband, Morris.  The couple live in St Helens on the Island.



Also on Friday we were pleased to welcome Paul, Faith and Grace (pictured below) for a Combo Encounter – a birthday treat for Grace!



On Saturday 22nd September Enya Rogers (below), who is a regular visitor to the Park, saw one of our Meerkat Encounters and wanted to experience a Wildlife Encounter for her 12th birthday – she was lucky enough to be treated to a Junior Wildlife Experience where she enjoyed close-up time not only with the Meerkats but with many other animals too!




Also on Saturday we were pleased to have Ella Batten with us as Keeper for a Day (pictured below) – Ella is from Newport and was having an early celebration for her 16th birthday!





Cartoon birthday birds

And then we had a happy crowd of young birthday-party goers on Saturday lunchtime  – the cheerful gathering booked one of our birthday party events ( to celebrate Ashley Clarke’s 7th birthday with a cheerful crowd of friends and family.  All of us at Seaview Wildlife Encounter join in wishing Ashley a very happy birthday! 




Looking at the ‘cornflower blue’ skies in the images above it’s hard to believe how the weather has turned in the past 2 days … but we’re looking forward to some great Autumn sunshine again nearer the end of the week … so, don’t forget to book for your Wildlife Encounter with us soon before we close at the end of our season on 4th November - just click on:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Update on our stowaway rat!

We blogged two weeks ago about a young, domestic (‘fancy’) rat that appeared in a shipment of mealworms we received from the mainland.  Readers of our blogs may remember that the company who supplied the mealworms, on hearing we were happy to keep the unexpected arrival as a new member of our collection, offered to send another young male rat, free of charge, to keep him company!
The second Mr Rattie arrived a few days ago and the two boys have settled down extremely well –making friends instantly!  Both seem very happy and relaxed - and have been a big hit with the Keepers and Park visitors.  The two have now officially been named – Rizzo (our first arrival – named after one of the rats in the Muppets) and Templeton (after the rat in the story ‘Charlotte’s web’).  I snapped a couple of images of the rodent run-abouts a few minutes ago:

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Above: ‘Templeton’ the new arrival and companion for ‘Rizzo’
Above: Best of friends -Templeton and Rizzo exploring and tumbling about on Fern’s hands (and inside her fleece!) earlier today!

Grace’s last day

Grace Turner has been part of the Animal Care Team at Seaview Wildlife Encounter since March of this year.  Unfortunately her contract with us ends today.  During the winter months, when the Park is closed to the public, we have far fewer employees throughout the business – even the Animal Care Team runs on skeleton staff – hence not being able to renew Grace’s contract right now.
Grace says she’s had the most amazing season with us working with fantastic animals and has loved being part of a dream Team!  Grace has enjoyed working with all the animals – especially the Wallabies, Meerkats and Otters – but loves them all!  We’re hoping to keep in touch with Grace and look forward to her future visits.  Thank you from all of us – we’ll miss you Grace!

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Today’s Penguin Encounter

Li Carter and her friend Kiri from South Wales are here on the Island enjoying a few days holiday.  Apparently they booked their trip to the Isle of Wight around this Penguin Encounter (Li absolutely loves Penguins!)  Most people are quite wary of having a nip from a Penguin but Li (pictured below) seemed absolutely delighted to have a small peck-mark on her leg as a memento … even saying she might ask her tatooist if he’s able to copy the pattern as a lifetime memory!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A perfect week for VIP Wildlife Encounters!

At this time of year the holiday hustle and bustle has subsided and most kids are back at school.  Park visitors comprise couples (either with no children or with youngsters, as well as wildlife enthusiasts, overseas holiday makers and grandparents with their grandchildren.  They’re here making the most of the beautiful autumn sunshine!  This week, so far, the weather has been really perfect for being out and about interacting with the animals.  As previous Park visitors will know, all our guests get up close to wildlife, but those having a VIP Wildlife Encounter have an extra special time!  I’ve included a few images taken during some of the Wildlife Encounters so far this week:

Above: Dan Saney and Abel Tao from London who enjoyed a Meerkat Encounter on Monday.  The Meerkats were particularly busy during this encounter – digging and exploring all round their two special guests.  Dan and Abel heard about our VIP Wildlife Experiences through rave reviews on Trip Advisor!

Chris Murray and Jemma Lumber (above) enjoyed their Penguin Encounter on Tuesday 18th September very much – they’re both ‘animal-orientated people’ and so had some excellent interactive time with the Penguins!

Elena Gomez Lastra was treated to a Penguin Encounter this afternoon (Weds, 19th Sept) by her friend, Victor.  Elena lives in Madrid; she and Victor are enjoying a few days holiday on the Island.  This was a complete surprise for Elena who absolutely loves Penguins and was delighted to have close-up time with our Humboldts (even though some of them are a little temperamental at the moment!)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Letter of the Week

We received a beautiful glossy card this morning with an image of Penguins on the front of it and inside was written:


“To all the Kind Staff at Seaview Wildlife Park.

Just to say a huge thank you for the opportunity to do the Penguin Encounter.  I enjoyed every minute of it, and it’s something I’ll remember forever. 

Special thanks to Fern and Becky for their patience and kindness, and of course the opportunity to get so close to my favourite animal in the whole world.

Thanks once again.

Michelle Carter
Penguin Encounter – 13.9.2012”

Above: Michelle during her Penguin Encounter

Chilean Flamingo Chicks of all sizes!

It may be due to our strange weather this year that we have Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) chicks ranging from two weeks to five months of age this year!  As readers will remember, we had a warm, early spring during which time there was an early flurry of of egg-laying, incubation and subsequent hatchings.  This then tapered off during our rather patchy summer conditions and resulted in intermittent hatchings through the damp, mid-summer months – right up until quite recently with ‘late arrivals’ appearing once the summer finally came into its own in early September!
I’ve included a couple of images – one showing different Chilean chick sizes in our flock – the other of an adult bird feeding her large chick:

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Photography: Jules Brittan, General Manager, Seaview Wildlife Encounter

Monday, 17 September 2012

Magical Meerkat Moments


A few images of our Meerkats captured in the September sunshine today ….


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Photographs: Jules Brittan, General Manager

Soft late summer sun – great for Wildlife Encounters!

The weather couldn’t be better for you to experience a One-on-One Wildlife Encounter here at the Park!  Over this last weekend we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Glen Mitchell (images below) from Woking who was a Keeper for a Day on Saturday - his favourite were the Penguins.

In the afternoon on Saturday Shirley Cundall (pictured below) from Binstead on the Island said she was in love with the Meerkats!  Shirley has visited Seaview Wildlife Encounter many times before – and her daughter has previously enjoyed a Penguin Encounter with us!

Yesterday (Sunday 16th September) Holly Spencer and Sophie Davis (pictured below - aged 12 and from Surrey) were both Keepers-for-a-Day – they loved the whole day but said their absolute favourite animals were the Meerkats!

So, don’t delay, now’s the time to make your own special Wildlife Encounter booking!  We’re open for another seven weeks until Sunday 4th November – (then we close for the winter months) – just click on for your once in a lifetime experience!

Friday, 14 September 2012

More Encounters from the past few days.

Yesterday we had a visit from Ashley Clark and his wife Jane. They are enjoying their honeymoon on the Isle of Wight. Jane booked secretly a Meerkat Encounter for Ashley as they are his absolute favourite animal.
Also Sascha Evans who is a regular visitor to the park joined us for a Junior Wildlife Experience, as a ninth birthday present.
Today we had four people for our V.I.P. Encounters-
Firstly, Michelle Carter who came to the park yesterday and saw that we have Penguin Encounters and she jumped at the chance and booked in a Penguin Experience for the following day. She enjoyed spending this morning with our cheeky colony and made great friends with one of our younger very tame penguins called Skipper. 

This afternoon we had Lynda and James visit us to take part in their ‘Meerkat Encounter’. Lynda said she had always had an ambition to get close to Meerkats, and this exceeded all expectations.

Finally,  Joanna Xylas so enjoyed her Penguin Encounter.  As you can see from the pictures she had a great time.  Joanna said it was one of the best experiences of her life!