ZSL London Zoo has got to be one of the most fun days out we’ve had this year, there is so much to see and do and I think people of all ages would be entertained! It first opened to the public in 1847 and sits in the top corner of Regents Park, so it’s easy to get to by public transport or car (it has it’s own car park) Open daily from 10am you can buy tickets online or at the gate and can easily spend the whole day there! We went last week and had an amazing time so I’ve put together 10 reasons why you should take your family to ZSL London Zoo:
1. Get up close and personal with Lemurs
This was by far my favourite experience of the day, getting to stroll through the Lemur enclosure! They’re fluffy and friendly and full of beans, and we were amazed at how un-phased they were to see people strolling through their home! There were benches to sit on, and the kids were both amazed that the Lemurs came so close to them. The walk-through was hot and humid, perfectly mimicking Madagascar so the Lemurs felt at home.
2. Meet the Animals & Zoo Keeper Experiences
You can pre-book a range of different experiences to really have an incredible experience, you can be a keeper for the day, and get to help out with the upkeep of the animal enclosures, feeding schedules and get a real insight into the day-to-day running of the zoo. Or you can get up close and personal in a ‘meet the animals’ session, choosing from Giraffes, Meerkats, Monkeys or Penguins (my dream! I love them!)
3. Gain a Wealth of Knowledge
With two small and excitable children with us we didn’t get much of a chance to read more about the animals we were seeing, but there was a wealth of information available all over the Zoo. From where the animals came from, to how the keep them entertained (did you know the Zoo created a special toy so that they can play with the Komodo Dragon?) and so much more. Our kids at 3 and 5 just wanted to know what everything was, and what things ate but I can imagine as they get older and are able to read for themselves we’ll be spending a lot longer learning about each animal!
4. Penguin Beach Live
This is the UK’s biggest Penguin pool, and is home to the Humboldt penguins, and it has a special penguin nursery with an incubation unit and a pool where the youngsters can learn how to swim! There is plenty of seating so you can get comfy during one of the two daily talks, and see penguins being fed and learn more about how they live, as well as watching them swim under water. I could easily have stayed all day here just sat watching these little guys waddling around and going for dips!
5. Tiger Territory!
The Tiger Territory was top of Arlo’s list to visit, and he was most put out that the Tiger we saw was having a snooze, and declare him ‘lazy’ for being asleep in the day! But the Tiger had chosen to have his cat nap right in front of a huge glass wall so everyone could get a close look at him! There was lots of space for the Tigers to run, jump, climb and hide too, and this was definitely one of the most impressive enclosures.
6. Land of the Lions
This area (the newest in the Zoo) was so amazingly put together, with a real Indian feel (complete with Tuk Tuk & and a crumbling temple) we walked up the sloping boardwalks to see our first glimpse of the majestic Lions. Most of them were chilling out in the sunshine but a male Lion was slinking about looking very superior indeed and the kids couldn’t get enough of him! We followed the path round and down the front of the Lions’ enclosure and got a completely different view of the Lions, as well as spying a Lion cage for the kids to climb into (don’t worry! it was a replica!)
7. Eco Friendly Education
There was a big display of plastic bottles, turned into a sculpture which started a great conversation with the kids about why and how we can use less plastic. We then turned a corner to see a water bottle refill station just outside Penguin Beach, which was really helpful as we could refill the bottles we took with us for the day without having to contribute to the mountain of plastic the UK goes through in a day! Also when we stopped for a snack we noticed the bench we were sat on was made out of old plastic bottles too – and the bag that held our purchases in the shop was a paper one! I think the more the kids see eco-friendly messages on days out the more normal it will become to them!
8. Snakes & Spiders
I’m not a lover of creepy crawlies at all but we couldn’t miss a chance to visit the famous reptile house! Plus all the beasties are safe in their tanks, and sometimes hiding so you do have to look closely to spot them, though not one of the snakes who was all curled up and staring out at us front and centre
9. Downloadable Nature Trail
As well as all the more unusual species of animals being looked after at the Zoo there is also a nature trail so you can find out what the other creatures who live in the Zoo are up to, either with the leaflet or a downloadable app. The Zoo is doing everything they can to make sure that the local wildlife, from bees and bugs to Herons are all provided with what they need to thrive. There are 20 signs relating to the Nature Trail dotted about the Zoo to find, and kids can learn more about how they can help protect their local wildlife at home too.
10. Photo Opportunities!
I think all families these days love to capture their memories on camera, and all around the Zoo there are so many places to do that, statues, paintings, and of course the animals themselves, and I’ve already ordered a few of my favourites as prints so that Athena can put them in her ‘What I did this Summer’ box, and then they’ll go in frames as a lovely keepsake of a fantastic day.