[H]undreds of school children have enjoyed their trip the Lake District Wildlife Park, taking part in the unique live nativity. The park is now set to welcome more groups and families as the Christmas holiday season gets underway.
The park was keen to focus their festive activities around the true meaning of Christmas, thinking about others, telling the Christmas story with their live nativity and linking to the national Save the Children Christmas campaign.
After months gathering costumes, building a Bethlehem scene and preparing the animals, the first pupils to enjoy the live nativity and Christmas activities were children aged 5 – 11 from schools in West Cumbria. At the weekend a family group from the Cockermouth Christian Centre Sunday School visited, paving the way for more families arriving over the holiday period.
The immersive Live Nativity activities were pulled together by Fran Foster who also narrates the Christmas story for schools. Fran said “It has been fascinating to hear the children chatting about which parts they wanted to play. Most schools give out set roles for their annual nativities but here at the park, the children could be who they wanted to be. We’re more than happy to accommodate lots of little girls wanting to play Mary!
“The group nativity was followed by a craft session where pupils created designs for festive jumpers – which link nicely in to the national ‘Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day’ on 16th December. Their drawings are now part of the bunting displayed in the play barn so others can enjoy their work too.”
As well as the live nativity and Christmas craft sessions, the children took part in a Santa trail around the park, before tucking in to a festive buffet in the café.
Andrew Robinson, from the Millcroft Veterinarian practice in Cockermouth brought his family with the Sunday School, he said “As a vet, I have spent a lot of time at the park working with the animals. When Richard the Park Manager first mentioned the live nativity, I knew my children and our Sunday School friends would really enjoy the experience. It was a real family affair with parents and grandparents getting involved and it was lovely to see the children dress up, meet the animals and take part in the Christmas story.
The craft session was specially tailored for us so the children could make Christingles that made it a very personal experience. I must say thanks to the team, for a well organised, lovely traditional family Christmas activity.”
Richard Robinson, LDWLP Manager said “Including our animals makes the nativity story extra special. The school trips have been magical and we can’t wait to see more families as we get to the Christmas holidays. The spirit of Christmas is very much alive and the feedback we’ve had so far, suggests that lots of parents will be using their photographs for Christmas cards next year. We’re looking forward to welcoming all our December visitors who get chance to dress up as Mary, Joseph, an angel or even a donkey!”
The family of animals taking part this Christmas Nativity include Annie and Dooley the donkeys, Neville and Luna the miniature Zebu cattle and Earnest the Cameroon sheep.
Throughout the Christmas period, visitors to the park can enjoy a full day at the park, with additional craft activities and a Santa Trail to explore. During winter the park is open 10am – 4pm and is only closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The nativity event will naturally conclude on Christmas Eve, but the park is still open throughout the holiday season.
To book a group visit for the nativity, or to find out more, please contact reception at the Lake District Wildlife Park on 017687 76239 or visit www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.com
Nativity Group Activities are for groups of 10+ children where entrance is £7.95 per child (with free adult per 5 paying children) including free Christmas Buffet, personal performance of the nativity, craft activities and Santa Trail.
The park is open to visitors all year to visitors £6.95 per child £7.95 concessions, adults £8.95. Café available.