Denmark is fairly fragmented and made up of islands but they're all very accessible with great bridges. We decided to head down to the island of Lolland, south of Zealand, to visit Knuthenborg Safari Park. Having never visited a safari park, and also sharing a fascination for exotic animals with the kids, we knew this day was sure to be a winner. It took us just over an hour to reach the venue which was approached via a long lane and entered through imposing gates. We turned in to the parking lot at the Limpopo House first so the children could stretch their legs in the play area and what a play area it was! A magnificent set of thatched houses with rope bridges, slides, tunnels, climbing frames and nets surrounded by sand (later we found out 'fossils' were hidden for children to dig up!) carved animals and a wooden jeep and a huge open bouncy castle that we loved (yes, I went on it too. A lot) plus a rope bridge across the pond.
A smattering of rain sent us diving to the car but it cleared up quickly and we drove off to see the animals. First up was the giraffes. Have you ever seen a giraffe run? Their spindly legs and wobbly bodies was terrific and seeing them do the almost splits to eat from the ground was fantastic. We saw a herd of zebra, had donkeys nuzzle up the car (the only time we feared for our wing mirrors and four year old Sacha thought they might eat her as they tried to poke their heads inside) saw goats and their new babies, enormous rhinos ( or 'rhinoceratops' according to Sacha) and ox. We also braved the tiger enclosure where we thought we would never find them until we saw the magnificent beasts sunbathing near the exit.
Another favourite moment was getting out of the car to walk alongside the baboon enclosure where a number of new babies were present – the little furry things were incredibly cute. We did hunt for the deer but didn't spot a single one (however lounging at the summerhouse later, a deer strolled past the living room window!). We also saw emus and ponies plus there was a small petting zoo that we didn't visit. There is a lot of slow driving to be done here and the animals are kept wild so we took care to observe safety precautions but there are lots of exotic animals to see up close and we all really enjoyed it. It is somewhat of a drive but Knuthenborg Park is really a hidden gem and can apparently get very busy in peak season.
How much? Adults 155Kr, Children 85Kr, Under 3s free.
Opening times: 10am-5pm (gates open until 6/7pm)
Pushchair accessibility: Due to the nature of the park, leave in car.
Facilities: Loos at Limpopo House.
Cafe: At the Limpopo house near the entrance/exit.
SatNav postcode: DK-4930 Maribo
Web: Knuthenborg Park
As we were so far south, we felt we couldn't miss the opportunity to drive two islands east to Mon and visit the famous cliffs Mon Klint. Our drive past traditional yellow-painted and thatched Danish bungalows in sleepy villages from Lolland, across Falster then to Mon was quiet and quaint. The entrance to Mons Klint resembled a dirt track and a long winding road led us up to the carpark (25Kr payable on exit by card/cash). We had arrived too late for the Geocentre museum where the evolution of Denmark is explored but the walks were plentiful and free plus there was a good sized sandy playground full of twisted tree stumps and branches for the children to play on.
We decided to head down the steps to the shoreline – a descent that took around 15 minutes via a series of wooden steps anchored to the tree lined cliff side. The steps were well maintained and the leafy canopy kept us cool. Children should be able to manage this quite well. Around a third of the way down we started to get glimpses of the cliffs and there were a few viewing platforms for gazing out to the turquoise-hued sea with dots of white sailboats. The shingle beach below had huge rocks perfect for clambering on and the children enjoyed stretching their logs. If you're fond of dramatic scenery, this is a great place for photography too. We also read that Peregrine falcons live in the area and there's also lots of orchids. The climb back up was a bit of huff'n'puffing for us so we were glad of the play area to rest our legs at the end!
How much? Walks free
Opening times: Geocentre 10-4pm (later in summer, admission price). No times for walks, just turn up.
Pushchair accessibility: Limited, leave behind.
Facilities: Loos near the Geocentre.
Cafe: Open during Geocentre times
SatNav postcode: Unknown, follow signs.
Images: Camilla Chafer