Reviewed by Lily D
As a mother of 3 school age children I am always on the lookout for days out to keep them entertained. When I was offered the opportunity to visit ZSL London Zoo during the Easter Holidays I was thrilled, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
ZSL London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, located in London’s Regents Park. Spread over 36 acres there are over 650 different species, many of which are now endangered or even extinct. Upon entry to the zoo we were handed a very helpful map which was necessary given the sheer number of enclosures and animals to visit across the site. Another helpful thing to note was the animal talk timing board. I made sure we took a photo so we knew what was going on throughout the day.
One first thing I noted is how accessible the Zoo is. The layouts are wheelchair /pushchair friendly with plenty of lifts to allow access to the many levels of exhibits. I was pleased to see a Changing Places disability friendly changing area for those who required use of it along with multiple alternate disabled toilets. Seats were also placed strategically throughout the Zoo and this was well thought out to take in to account all weathers.
Enclosures led one from another in a clear manner and there were so many animals to encounter! My particular favourite was the Land of the Lions enclosure which is designed to replicate an Indian town on the outskirts of the Gir National Park. Opened in 2016, it is intended to replicate how a lions natural habitat overlaps with local urban environments. I loved the attention to detail.
Other fantastic areas of the zoo include, Tiger Territory, Monkey Valley, Into Africa, Animal Adventure, Reptile House, Penguin Beach and Tiny Giants. The latter is an exhibition within a modern glass building called The Millennium Conservation Centre. This was a fantastic exhibit. Alongside insects, and a stunning, enormous marine tank, there is an amazing exhibit named In With The Spiders. I have never experienced anything like this before; Europe’s only walk-through spider experience bringing visitors literally face to face with arachnids! You could by-pass if you wanted to, fear not!
Speaking of walk-through exhibitions, I don’t think I have ever visited a zoo with so many of them. From lemurs and spiders(!) to monkeys and sloths, visitors can experience these amazing animals right up close. It makes the whole experience more memorable. Our favourite walk-through experience was the Blackburn Pavilion. A peaceful haven for over 50 colourful species and it was just beautiful. Outside the pavilion is a 2008 Hunkin Clock designed to depict the Victorian attitude towards birds. Stand and watch what happens at each hour and half hour time slots, worth a watch.
Throughout the Zoo visitors are shown an insight into the incredible works that take place at the zoo itself as well as at other locations and the zoo itself is clearly investing in the future with new exhibits on the way.
As a family who have visited many Zoos over the years I can honestly say this now is one of our favourites. We, very wrongly, expected to spend only a couple of hours visiting; however 6 hours later we left with sore feet and happy smiles! It really is a fantastic day out. All the enclosures are close together, plenty of undercover seating for rainy weather picnics or a rest for tired feet. Play areas with seating for kids on sunny days and lots of opportunities to get up close to the animals. I was also particularly pleased to see so many sinks with warm water a soap for visitors to use. We are already planning our return visit to the ZSL London Zoo, perhaps on a sunnier day, although thanks to the many indoor enclosures and undercover areas, the splattering of rain we had certainly did not stop
play. Well worth a visit!
For tickets please visit www.londonzoo.org