Cedars Nature Centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire is one of the smallest zoos in the UK and it’s lovely. Obviously being so small they don’t have huge numbers of animals and you’re not going to be there for hours but that’s balanced out by the price. It’s inside the grounds of Cedars Park which has lots of things to do with the kids. You can read my review of the park here.
When we visited it was a bit of a damp dizzly day. Most of the animals are outdoors but actually there’s quite a big overhang so you can still look at the animals and stay dry. There was also a gazebo over the fish pond and the tropical house is indoors.
We were very kindly gifted admission to Cedars Nature Centre but they had no input into the review and did not see its contents prior to publication.
The Animals at Cedars Nature Centre
They have got 25 species at Cedars Nature Centre. There’s the ever popular meerkats, skunks (which Smallest Child is now a HUGE fan of), rabbits, owls, chinchillas and fish. They also have zorillas. Ever heard of them? Nope, well only two zoos in Europe have them! They’re a kind of striped polecat which looks a lot like a skunk. Throughout the day there are regular animal talks (weather dependent). Stuart (one of the Directors) gave the talk today when we got to meet one of the skunks. It’s very clear how much he enjoys what he does, and the bond he has with the animals.
Some of the animals can be a little bit shy, so they also have a room with videos set up of all the animals. That way you can guarantee you’ll at least see everything they have there. I think this is a nice compromise. One thing – it did remind me a little bit of Tiger King as there’s a throne set up next to the TV. Lol.
There’s a small tropical house at Cedars Nature Centre which I swear my kids could have spent hours inside, even though it really isn’t that big. You’ll find python, an armadillo, tarantula, bearded dragon, beetles and more in here. The kids were hooked.
Social Distancing Measures
When we visited Cedars Nature Centre to do this review they had only just reopened after lock-down. Currently they have a one-way system in place and only one family is allowed in the chinchilla and tropical houses. You have to stand behind a barrier when listening to the animal talks and you’re not allowed to stroke them currently. Tickets must be pre-booked online. You have to sanitise your hands before entering and there’s hand washing facilities.
Normally the tickets are valid for the entire day and you can pop in and out as often as you like. At the time of visiting you book for a 45 minute session which only has a couple of other families/groups at the same time. Given how much time we spent in the tropical house this wasn’t quite enough time for us to look at all the animals. That’s just the nature of post-lockdown and things will slowly go back to normal. For the price you’re paying even 45 minutes is still excellent value for money!
Our Cedars Nature Centre Review
This is such a lovely little zoo. There’s some animals you wouldn’t normally get to see, as well as some familiar favourites. Yes, it doesn’t take that long to look around BUT it’s an absolute bargain. I reckon you could easily spend a couple of hours here over the course of the day if you pop back for an additional talks. If you’re hoping to listen to all the talks (when things go back to normal) then you could be here all day. Helpfully Cedars Park has got lots to keep you entertained in between talks! I really liked it here. It’s not too busy (even under normal circumstances) and it’s small so it’s perfect for little legs. Smallest Child absolutely loved it, but the boys also enjoyed it just as much.
£2 per adult (16 years+), £1 per child, under 2’s and SEN free. If booking online there’s a tiny admin fee as well. To book visit their website.
The toilets are next to the cafe in Cedars Park.
No food is allowed on-site but there if a cafe in Cedars Park and you’re welcome to have picnics there.
Parking / How to Get There
Parking – There is a small, free car park in Cedars Park but it is popular and gets full. When we visited there were lots of people parking on grass verges and just waiting around for people to leave.
Address – Cedars Park House, Waltham Cross EN8 8RN
Hi, I’m Vicky. My husband and I live in Aylesbury with our three children; a 10 year old son, an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I (mostly) love spending time together as a family. We visit all kinds of places and we’re quite happy to drive a fair distance for a decent day out. A few years ago I decided to set up Free Time with the Kids as a way to share our experiences of these family days out. You know, the essential information you need to know before your visit that can be surprisingly hard to find out. Where do I park? How much will it cost me to get in? Are there any discounts available? Are there loos? Can I take a picnic or get food? My aim is to be your go-to guide for all your free and cheap family days out across Bucks, Beds, Oxon, Herts & slightly beyond. I really hope you find the reviews helpful. If there’s anywhere that you’d recommend please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook