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Windsor Safari Park

From 1969 - 1992 Windsor Safari Park was a large and popular safari park situated just outside Windsor in the former grounds of 'Dodge Mansion' on St Leonards Hill. It was established by the Smart family of 'Billy Smart's Circus' fame, The Smart's had for a number of years used nearby Winkfield as their winter quarters, where a large brick built barn, with a number of outbuildings were used when not on tour to house the elephants, lions and tigers as well as many other circus animals and circus paraphernalia such as the multitude of brightly painted circus vehicles.
   But for one reason or another, the attractions of circus life faded for the Smart's and regular touring ceased in 1971 although very successful TV 'specials' from Windsor and elsewhere continued for a number of years thereafter from the specially erected Big Top.
   In 1986 an auction was held of remaining circus equipment at the Winkfield Winter Quarters and the site sold. The area is now occupied by HFC Bank.
    In 2003 the Billy Smart Circus took to the road again. Details
    Windsor Safari Park closed its gates in 1992 and the area lay idle for several years until Legoland opened its doors in 1996 as its first theme park outside Denmark.
   A website has now been created celebrating Windsor Safari Park. T
he following introduction to the site has been supplied by 'Falkor', the administrator of Windsor Safari

An Introduction to Windsor Safari Park

From its opening in 1969 and into the 1980s, Windsor Safari Park was a large and exciting Safari Park to explore, especially when you ventured into the chimpanzees enclosure. You literally took your 'car in your hands' as the chimpanzees were extremely curious, mischievous and boisterous. Stopping was a big mistake, not only for you but all the cars following behind. The chimps would spot a stationary car from a hundred yards away and within seconds would be swarming all over it. Wing mirrors, windscreen wipers, petrol caps, aerials, hub caps, you name it, it would be HISTORY! But seeing this band of child-like animals at work was often more a subject of laughter than tears, especially if you were watching them unleash their energies on somebody else's car!!
   Having survived the chimpanzees, you moved on to the tigers' lair just in time for dinner. The tigers would have been licking their lips for hours and then 'meals on wheels' appeared. Can you imagine being on the inside of that cage as the wire door just swings wide open, "...Eeeerrrr Fred, you forgot to latch the back gate again!"

I remember that the Killer Whale was a big hit at Windsor Safari Park, the dolphins she worked with would often display on their own and they each had their own separate routines, although they were quite content to swim around together too.

The routines were the same every day but even though you soon got to know them, they remained extremely interesting and entertaining to watch. Winnie and the dolphins were capable of launching themselves out of the water, high into the air, to the gasps of a packed audience, and screams of those in the 'splash-zone'!
   By the 1990s Windsor Safari Park had been the subject of so many improvements and building works, major new rides and areas - that to close the place down in 1992 must have seemed complete insanity in the face of such enormous and very recent investment.
The park contained not just a safari route, not just a few children's rides, not just a museum and educational centre, not just a conference suite and butterfly house but all of these things and more. To have this incredible achievement bulldozed to the ground must have caused heartbreak at all levels. Why did it happen? Why couldn't a buyer have been found to take on Windsor Safari Park as a going concern?
   Well, it is all too late to worry about that now, simply enjoy the photos of 10 - 20 years ago, the legendary era of Windsor safari Park. Say your piece, reply to what others have said, join the holy brethren of the Windsor Safari Park site, you would be most welcome to come in for a chat, put your feet up and make yourself at home once more at Windsor Safari

Top regards from Falkor, Web Site Administrator


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