Before smallest child was born we were given annual membership to ZSL which included both Whipsnade and London Zoo. We went to Whipsnade loads (I will get a review up soon) and we were supposed to visit London when I was heavily pregnant with smallest child but, quite frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to schlep all the way to London at 30 weeks so we didn’t make it.
I finally made it there though!!
My first surprise was that HARRY POTTER WAS FILMED THERE. I knew that of course, but I had forgotten so when I came across this sign in the reptile house I was very excited. Obviously I had to get a photo of biggest child and his mates in front of the tank.
They have a decent range of animals at the zoo and we got to actually see most of them. An absolute highlight was the sloths. They have just had a baby and we got to see it up close. The way they have their rainforest area arranged means that the animals can go anywhere that they want, including along the walkways. There are a couple of trees at the edges and both the mum (with her baby) and the dad had decided to hide in these trees. We were only a couple of feet away from them (under the close supervision of staff) and it was incredible.
The lions and tigers seemed to have the largest enclosures. We could only see one Tiger and that was hidden under a tree. There were four lions though all basking in the sunshine. One thing I did like is that most of the animals had their own keepers on stand-by constantly. The aquariums and reptile houses were really good. The Giraffes, Zebras etc just looked crammed together.
It’s quite a compact zoo (because it’s in the middle of London) which means it is easy to get around everything in just one day. The downside of this is that all of the enclosures seemed very small. I know that zoos can be quite a controvertial subject and not everyone likes them. In general I think that most of them do a lot of conservation work and it’s a good way for kids to get to see the animals they wouldn’t ever be able to in the real world. All of that said, to me it seemed, London Zoo’s enclosures were the smallest I’ve seen. Obviously they meet all of the necessary welfare guidelines etc but there were two camels in this tiny space about half the size of our playground!! We went to see the Gorillas and I swear they all looked sad. It would be better to have less animals with more space.
Everywhere was pushchair / wheelchair friendly and, because of the size, it would be quite easy for little legs to get around if you decided to ditch the pushchair. All of the staff that we met were polite and enthusiastic and the gift shop is suitably overpriced. We did have a lovely day, I just came out feeling a little bit sad about the cage sizes.
BLUE PETER BADGE HOLDERS GET IN FREE. 2 Adults, 2 children = £89.10 if booked online at least a day in advance (until 30 June. After this the ticket prices vary by date. A weekend in the summer holidays will cost you £94.50). You can also pay for flexi online tickets that you can use any day but they are a LOT more expensive.
Parking / How to get there
Regent’s Park, London. NW1 4RY.
Whilst there is some parking nearby you really are better off using public transport
Picnics are allowed and there is seating dotted around (some under cover). There are cafes on site too
2 / 5. There are MUCH better zoos, and nearer too. I really didn’t think there is anywhere near enough space for the animals that they have. It’s very expensive and a pain in the bum for us to get to. Obviously BP badge holders getting in free does bring the cost down a lot, but I’d much rather go to Whipsnade or Cotswold wildlife park.