The Bottom Line
- Large and varied number of animals in well-sized enclosures and roaming free.
- Many animals can actually interact with humans if they choose.
- Wide open spaces create almost natural habitats.
- Long (but easy) walks necessary due to sprawling layout.
- Cheetah enclosures not really visitor-friendly.
- Children need to be discouraged to feed the lemurs and monkeys.
- Sprawling wildlife park in County Cork, situated on an island.
- Numerous animals roam free and can be touched (with luck and patience).
- Fota is one of the strongholds of cheetah breeding.
Guide Review - Fota Wildlife Park
Arriving at Fota you will have the impression that you really are in the wild - giraffes can be seen on the plains, emus run by and you will want to take care that any accompanying children (or enthusiastic adults) do not harass the llamas which are in touching (and spitting) distance. A lot of animals in Fota actually roam the countryside without any enclosure except the external parameter of the park. So be prepared for some close encounters!
This freedom also poses some problems - monkeys and lemurs tend to be attracted by all sorts of food and make a beeline for anybody foolish enough to start feeding them. This will mean practicing restraint and keeping children under control. At the same time Fota is the best place to be if you want to experience wildlife up close. Free-roaming animals include kangaroos, capybaras, maras, ring-tailed lemurs, golden monkeys, numerous waterfowl and peacocks - touch at your own risk!
The cheetah enclosures were a bit of a let-down in contrast - Fota is well known for its breeding program, but the enclosures are not visitor-friendly. This may be for the best practical reasons. But do not expect a natural habitat in this area!