We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo…how about you, you, you? Not only does a day out at a zoo make for great family entertainment it’s also educational and helps endangered and threatened animals. So here are our top 10 UK zoos…
Chester is the largest and most visited zoo in the UK, and in the top 15 zoos in the world! It will most definitely take a full day to see it all as the zoo is home to over 7,000 animals representing over 400 species. Conservation is at the heart of the zoo, with around half of the species being under threat. Monsoon Forest has just opened (August 2015) giving visitors a glimpse of Bali and home to the likes of an Asian giant tortoise and the zoo’s extraordinary new species the Sunda gharial crocodiles.
Set in 60 acres and home to over 250 species of animals, many of which are endangered or vulnerable, Colchester Zoo has some of the best cat and primate collections in Europe. Kids will love the daily elephant and giraffe feeding experiences and don’t miss Lion Rock, where you can see the African Lions being fed (by the keepers!). With four adventure play areas, an indoor soft play area and the Lost Madagascar Express road train you’ll certainly be kept busy all day.
This shady woodland zoo houses big cats, gorillas and elephants in its 32 acres and is ranked the 3rd best zoo in the UK by visitors on TripAdvisor. The zoo also has ‘Orang-u-tangle’ an outdoor play area, an indoor playbarn and if you need to rest your legs you can jump aboard the train safari and ride through the woods past reindeer, zebra, wolves and wallabies!
Located in Regents Park is a 36-acre conservation zoo housing more than 650 species. Just a cab ride away from the centre of London you can see all sorts of weird and wonderful mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Don’t miss the daily penguin show, ‘Tiger Live’ experience or High Tea with the giraffes! In August, a Komodo dragon arrived at the zoo to take up residence in the Land of Giants exhibition.
One of the UK’s largest zoos, set in 600 acres and featuring over 2,500 animals, many of which are jumbo size! The likes of elephants, rhinos, tigers, African lions, brown bears, zebras, moose and hippos all live here. It’s also got the UK’s largest herd of Asian elephants who share a 7 acre paddock. New this year, is the Butterfly House with over 30 different species of butterlies from around the world.
Bristol Zoo is the perfect place to spend a fun-packed day with over 400 amazing species from lions to gorillas. You can also learn about the plight of many creatures in the wild and see how the zoo helps. Over 5’s can swing alongside the gorillas, gibbons and lemurs on ZooRopia, an adventure ropes course 5 metres above the ground. Parking at the zoo is chargeable so if you’re staying close by booking a cab is a convenient option.
This 82 acre zoo is the only zoo in the UK to care for giant pandas and koalas, although the Panda enclosure is off limits at present due to a very exciting potential pregnancy. Home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals the zoo is situated in stunning Scottish parkland on the outskirts of Edinburgh. You can enjoy a ride on the free Hilltop Safari through the zoo and new for 2015 is ‘Dinosaurs Return’, a lost world of dinosaurs from 65 million years ago.
Longleat might not have ‘zoo’ in its title but its made it into our top ten UK zoos as it is the UK’s No. 1 safari park! You can view over 100 species of animals in natural surroundings from the comfort of your vehicle and experience a glimpse of Africa. The famous monkey ‘drive-thru’ (entered at your own risk) always raises a laugh to two and to see lions, giraffes and cheetahs close up and walking around your car is an unforgettable experience for children and adults alike.
Home to over 1,000 animals in 35 acres of beautiful parkland in Norfolk nestles Banham Zoo, where for over 30 years they’ve been watching over wildlife and committed to species survival. Don’t miss the tigers feeding time or the giraffe enclosure where you can get up high and look them in the eye. The zoo also has one of the best Birds of Prey displays and a Safari land train for a guided tour of the zoo.
This gem of a zoo in Devon, has over two thousand creatures and is laid out in six habitats that mimic where the animals live in the wild. For example you can see all the animals that live in the Savannah in one place, great for teaching children which animals live where in the world. There are also indoor and outdoor play areas, bird shows, a nature trail and the Jungle Express train.
Whatever age the kids are from toddlers to teens everyone enjoys a family day out at the zoo.