Drayton Manor's meerkats get in the Christmas spirit

Friday December 2 2011

Drayton Manor Zoo’s cheeky meerkats are all set for a fun-filled festive season after their enclosure was decorated with a Christmas tree, complete with presents.

In fact, the naughty little rascals are so excited that they’ve already tried to open their presents. Meanwhile, one of the meerkats, called Aja, can’t get enough of wearing her Christmas hat.

Debbie Downer, the meerkat’s keeper comments: “We routinely provide activities for the animals as part of an enrichment programme. On this occasion, we put the hat in their enclosure and Aja went straight for it and refuses to let anyone else play with it.

“There are also two newborn babies in the mob, who are eagerly awaiting their first Christmas. If they’re good they may even get some special treats too.”

Visitors can see the meerkats, along with many other animals, as the zoo is open as part of Drayton’s Magical Christmas, which runs till Monday 2nd January 2012* (full opening dates and times below).

In addition to the zoo, Drayton Manor’s Thomas Land™ attraction is also open and has been transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with festive music, spectacular decorations and snow machines, which will release flurries of snow at least three times a day.

Thomas Land is home to 20 rides and attractions based on the ever-popular Thomas & Friends™ series, including Cranky’s Drop Tower, the Troublesome Trucks Coaster and the Blue Mountain Engines ride, which opened earlier this year.

New for this year is Santa’s Magical Workshop, where excited youngsters get to meet Jack Frost and his penguin friend Archie, who tells the story of the flying reindeer before the children share their Christmas wishes with the Ice Princess. Children then get to see Santa and his elf, Humphry, hard at work making toys in their workshop. Boys and girls aged nine and under will receive a free gift too…but only if they have been good!

Another new offering for this year are the festive food stalls, where visitors can fill up on cinnamon doughnuts, soups, bratwurst hot dogs, then wash it all down with a mug of hot chocolate or a glass of gluhwein.

In addition, Drayton Manor’s Ben 10: Ultimate Mission roller coaster is open during the festive season, as is the 4D Cinema, Big Wheel, Carousel, Jolly Buccaneer, the Thomas Land shop and the Cartoon Network Store.

Families wishing to visit the park can save money by logging on to www.draytonmanor.co.uk and getting a Buy One, Get One Free offer. Meanwhile, tickets purchased online will cost just £15.50 for those aged 4 – 64 years and £11.50 for 2– 3 years. Children aged under two will receive free entry.

Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth in Staffordshire, is on Twitter www.twitter.com/Draytonmanor and Facebook www.facebook.com/Draytonmanor for regular updates and news.

*Drayton’s Magical Christmas is open until 2nd January 2012, excluding 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 24th, 25th and 26th December 2011.