Woburn Safari Park welcomed the 20 millionth visitor to the park on Sunday (April 23) and The Duke of Bedford and staff had a big surprise for the lucky family at the park entrance.
The lucky visitor, Stephen Dennis from Romford, enjoyed full VIP treatment alongside his wife and children.
Not only did they receive their park entry, free of charge on the day, they were all awarded an array of prizes to enjoy, starting with a VIP Experience going off-road with Bob the Ranger in a Land Rover for a tour to meet the animals close up.
The family were personally greeted by The Duke of Bedford on arrival, and were also handed Annual Tickets, for a full year of exciting visits to the Safari Park.
The Dennis’ were also presented with a basket of safari toys and gifts and later went on to enjoy lunch on the veranda of The Safari Lodge with bubbly and luxury chocolates.
Stephen, wife Linda, and their children Paige (aged 22) and Joshua (aged 13) were thrilled to be awarded with their prizes.
Stephen said: “The family feel overwhelmed. I’m not normally this lucky! I wasn’t expecting this today at all, it’s quite amazing really, to be the 20 millionth person through the doors. It’s just an amazing place to come to.
“Our highlight of the day was probably feeding the giraffes, they are very special animals.”
The Duke of Bedford said: “It’s amazing to think we have had 20 million people come through our gates! We hope our special guests today enjoy their prizes and their visit to the park today.
“We have a great offering here at Woburn, that’s why people keep coming back, often people come as children and then years later they come back as parents with their own children. It’s a testimony to the foresight of my Grandfather, in bringing animals to Woburn, and we hope we’ll still be here in another 50 years time.”
Records were originally kept on paper back when the parked opened 47 years ago in 1970, and thanks to that careful record keeping over the years (added to the computer-based data collected today) it all adds up to this huge number of people!
The landmark number was reached earlier than expected thanks to a busy Easter weekend and the park has gone from strength to strength, growing to over 500,000 visitors per year.