Reviewed by Lindsay Burton
In great anticipation we made our way to Whipsnade Zoo, located in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, to find out what adventure we were going on today. Being my little girl’s sixth birthday today, I was hoping that it was going to be a day filled with interesting animal facts, exploring, playing and fun. We found the free parking outside the zoo very easy and with only a short walk to the entrance, I found this a very convenient option. Closer parking is available for those who struggle with mobility but when you have three young, healthy and able children, the short walk is no problem at all.
Once we got our tickets at reception and we were armed with our park map and list of animal talks, we quickly planned our morning ahead. Having sat very patiently in the car for a two-hour drive, the first logical stop was the indoor play area at Hullabazoo. Please be aware that wearing socks at all times inside the play area is a requirement for the indoor play area, something we were not aware of before our journey but problem quickly solved with a purchase of bright pink flamingo socks sold at the entrance of the play area.
Next we made our way to the outdoor play area which snakes across the grass; a great big obstacle course for my three monkeys. They thoroughly enjoyed climbing across the rope bridges and sliding down the twirling slides. Once they had used up most of the energy, we made our way to the tiger enclosure for the 11:45 talk presented by Alice. It was very interesting to hear all the facts about the Siberian tigers and see how the mother was separated from the three 1-year-old male cubs to ensure that everyone got enough food. These babies only turned one in June 2018 but they are MASSIVE!
We then made our way to the mini steam train which can be found not too far from the tiger enclosure. Visitors can go on the train and at £4.50/adult and £2/child, I found the prices not too costly. Fresh off the train ride and armed with a round of scrummy ice creams, we made our way to the sea lions to watch them whizzing through the pool at great speeds. There are plenty of picnic areas so we opted to bring our own picnic but many facilities available to buy warm food or lunch boxes for the kids. Toilet facilities can also be found at most of the eating and/or play areas.
We also attended the Elephant talk and learned some unique facts about the Asian herd. Located at the Hullabazoo Farm, we found the Pygmy goats. These fascinating little goats were so entertaining and two escaped the initial enclosure so we had a grand time watching as staff coaxed them back. The beautiful Butterfly House and Aquarium was part of our list of must-see’s. We were soon running out of time so we took a quick walk to the other side of the zoo and caught some glimpses of the vast collection of wonderful creatures. There were activity tents for the children who could learn more about specific animals and issues surrounding problems some animals face in the wild.
I would highly recommended this venue for all people of all ages. It offers something for everyone, and we had a great day out!
For more information or to book tickets online (10% discount) visit www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2LF