Reviewed by Emma Booth
Me and my family were lucky enough to be invited to ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park, London on Saturday, 7 December 2019, to enjoy their “Celebrate the Magic of Christmas“ event which is running from now to the 24th of December.
This was our first time at ZSL London Zoo and we decided to drive, it was surprisingly easy to get to with ample parking a few minutes walk away, charged at £14 a day for zoo visitors. We made our way through the entrance with no queues a quick bag check and we were in.
So it’s hard to know where to start, there are so many activities and talks going on. I’d advise you to start off by looking at “The 12 animals have Christmas“, here there is a list of 12 animals and various times throughout the day where you can help prepare seasonal treats for the animals and then watch them enjoy them while listening to a talk about them. We didn’t manage to make it in time to help make anything but we did see an enclosure with some cracker type things in there which I take it had treats in, but we did manage to make it to a couple of talks particularly enjoying the gorilla talk.
In the afternoon up by then B.U.G.S building, we came across the crafts with Mrs Claus. We went into the nice cosy room all decorated Christmassy and listened to a Christmas story with comfy bean bags for the kids to sit on. My nearly 3-year-old loved the story and enjoyed Tell the Story which was being told, with the kids encouraged to get up at times to look closer at the book – my nine-year-old wasn’t so keen on listening to the story but it is perfect for the younger ones. We also passed Santa’s grotto. We decided we had enough to do and see without seeing Santa, but it did look good – tickets are £12 per child which includes crafts with Santa’s elves, followed by a trip to see Santa and a gift as well. And if that wasn’t enough, there was also free festive film screenings at 12:30 every day and 12:30 and 4:30 on weekends, these are free but tickets must be pre-booked. Some of the films showing include Arthur Christmas, The Muppets Christmas Carol, The Santa Claus plus more.
Also near the Terence restaurant was a mini Christmas market with a few stalls. We saw one stall where you could toast marshmallows. There was also a couple of rides like the carousel and swing boats, all bits in this area incurred an extra cost.
The zoo itself is a lot bigger than you think and has a huge variety of animals so I’ll just mention some of our favourites. I absolutely loved B.U.G.S – this is a conservation centre opened in 1999 and there is so much to see, a must being the spider walk-through if you’re brave enough and watching the leafcutter ants taking the food along the ropes was amazing, I was also fascinated looking at the bloodworm under the microscope.
For my daughter her favourite part was the indoor rainforest where you can walk around and have a monkey climb beside you or see the two toed sloth sleeping in in a tree about a foot above you and see the bats just hanging there so near was brilliant. I thought the African hunting dogs were great to see I’ve never seen any before and was taken aback at how striking they were.
We spent all day here and still didn’t get time to see everything, it was so much better than I expected and will definitely be back to see what we missed. I also love the fact that ZSL London Zoo do so many conservation projects. Yes, it’s not a cheap day out, but it’s well worth it in terms of entertainment and animal conservation.
For more information and to book tickets, visit www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo.