We’ve been to Cotswold Wildlife Park many times but this is the first time I’ve been since I started the blog so I haven’t done an official review. Until now! Full disclosure – this is quite possibly my favourite zoo. It’s a good size (not too big, not too small), has a good range of animals and is reasonably priced. During our visit today there were various elements of social distancing in place. Some things mentioned in this review may, or may not, be open when you visit Cotswold Wildlife Park yourself. If there’s anything in particular you’re looking for then please double check their website before booking.
The walled garden and aviaries
Because this bit is nearest to the entrance it’s where most people start. There are a couple of bottlenecks. The penguins are very popular and on busy days it can be hard to get the smallest children to the front so they can see. Top tip – if you want to avoid the crowds in the morning walk over to the back of the zoo and then work your way back towards the entrance, finishing with the walled garden.
Just outside of the walled garden itself you’ll find most of the aviaries. At Cotswold Wildlife Park they’ve got a wide range of birds (93 species apparently), and sizes (up to and including an ostrich). There’s owls, vultures, storks, hornbills, parrots and even some adorable love birds. Hidden behind the train station are the wolverines. Not of the Hugh Jackman variety – Boo. Sadly they were all hiding on this visit. Boo again.
In the walled garden there are lots of Cotswold Wildlife Park’s most popular residents. This is where you will find the penguins, meerkats, prarie dogs, sloths and lots of birds. There’s also some of the smaller primates in here such as colobus monkeys, tamarin and marmosets.
The Madagascar walkthrough is an area you can walk through (duh!) that is filled with lemurs. You’re not allowed to touch or feed them though. It’s a bit strange because the walk through is quite big, but everyone ends up in the same small area where the lemurs are hanging out as a group. When we visited to do this review of Cotswold Wildlife Park the walkthrough was closed because of Covid restrictions.
Make sure you have a look in the amphibians section. Amongst the weird and wonderful creatures you’ll find these moss frogs. They’re properly freaky!!!
The farm animals
Towards the back of the zoo you’ll find all the farm animals. There’s sheep, goats, pigs, miniature ponies, cows, sheep and donkeys. The pygmy goat walkthrough was also closed when we visited. They have the most adorably fluffy rabbits here and some guinea pigs. You’ll also find house mice and rats in here. Apparently rats can mate within 18 hours of giving birth and can be pregnant up to 299 days per year. Every year. Sod that!!!!
All the other animals
Cotswold Wildlife Farm is fairly large and so they’ve got all of the animals that you’d expect; giraffe, lion, camels, zebra, rhino, flamingo, wolves etc. A couple of years ago we were lucky enough to get the chance to hand feed the giraffe. It was amazing! They’re sooo strong – we were warned to keep hold of the kids in case one of them was pulled over!
Obviously these are wild animals, not performing ones, so you might not always get to see them. I’ve seen people moan before that they go to a zoo and all of the animals are missing. Well, that’s to be expected really. We were quite lucky this time and got to see most of the animals, but the lions didn’t fancy sitting out in the rain.
It’s worth mentioning here that a lot of the animal houses are currently closed due to covid. This means that if they are hiding, you really can’t see them. It’s a bit of a shame but it is also to be expected.
The bat cave is also currently closed. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the bat house. It’s really cool watching them all flying around and flying at you and flying at each other. But, at the same time, they are flying at you which is freaky!
You can go into the reptile and invertebrate houses but you have to queue and wear a mask. We decided not to go into the reptile house as the queue was quite long and it was raining. Stupidly we did go into the invertebrate house – aka where all the bugs and creepy crawlies are. If you’re lucky you get to come face to face with this little monster!!
There’s a really good playground area at Cotswold Wildlife Park. There’s separate ones for under 7’s and older children, plus a tree house slide. The skymaze is 20 feet high and full of tunnels and tree houses. The last time that we visited we did lose Biggest Child in here for quite a long time. There’s zero visibility so if you child goes in and doesn’t want to come out then it’s hard to get them out again! As well as the play frames there’s lots of other equipment to play on. There’s swings, an activity trail, rocker and more. The kids will quite happily spend AGES in playing in here, but it was closed when we visited Cotswold Wildlife Park to do this review.
Hidden in the trees, this is the older kids’ play area
And this is the one for under 7’s
What else is on site
There’s a miniature train (£1 per person, under 3’s free). There is normally quite a long queue for the train, but it’s good fun. The train was closed on our most recent visit. I can’t remember how long it takes but it does go all around the park.
There’s plenty of places to have a picnic on-site. You’ll find benches dotted around all over the place, most of which have cover. There’s also a couple of large picnic shelters. Should it be a dry day then there are various lawns where you’re allowed to have your picnic. Because the site isn’t massive you can just leave your picnic in the car and pop back and get it at lunch time. Much easier than lugging it around all day.
Our Cotswold Wildlife Park Review
As I said at the beginning of this review Cotswold Wildlife Park is my favourite zoo locally. It’s the perfect size, it’s a really good price, there’s good animals and it has a relaxed feel. We’ve been several times and it’s never felt overcrowded. The animals all have plenty of space and there’s lots of them. We’ve been several times and we’ll go again!
Tickets are currently £14.40 (adults), £9.90 (children 3-16) and must be pre-booked online in advance. That’s nearly half the price of London Zoo!
Parking / How to get there
There’s plenty of free parking on-site
Address – Bradwell Grove, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4JP
There’s a couple of kiosks and a restaurant. Currently the restaurant is closed, but there are various other food options available. There are plenty of places to have a picnic too.
There are loads of loos, all over the place. There’s also baby change facilities and a changing places room.
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