On the weekend we were invited to visit one of our favourite zoos, ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park.
Firstly, let’s start by saying this post is entirely a positive one. We love a day out at a Zoo. Therefore not likely to be for you if you believe that those who visit zoos are heartless monsters, or who believe these animals are held in cells by the cruelest of captivists.
ZSL London Zoo very clearly adore animals and the welfare of their animals is held in the highest regard.
There is nothing quite like seeing wildlife up close, especially animals that you would not normally see, such as giraffes, tigers and kimono dragons!
Here, you have the option to come as close as possible to animals from the Lemur Walkthrough to Butterfly Paradise.
One of our favourite areas of London Zoo is the new Land of the Lions!
The concept is based in India’s Sasan Gir and allows you to get close to the lions whilst exploring India.
It is visually stunning with its bright colours and traditional elements. We probably spent the most time in this area soaking it all in and Ita especially enjoyed the little safari hut with the interactive phone. (It rings when there is a lion emergency!!).
Here you can also pick up a little leaflet and stamp things that you have spotted ie lions.
There are 3 walkways within this section with various areas including a train station, temple and a traditional high street.
Right within this area is Gir Lion Lodge where you can spend the night!!
How amazing would this be, right?
Here is the link below, for more information on staying a night in one of the Lion lodges.
Prices start at £159 per person, per night.
Without doubt my favourite area is Penguin Beach! This exhibit is England’s largest penguin pool. Penguin Beach recreates a South American beach landscape where the Humboldt penguins live. In fact there are bred here too!
This area features a large pool with an underwater viewing area (seen below).
There are 2 shows held here daily too showing the feeding of the penguins. Be sure to take your seats early though. We saw people sitting down for the show almost 40 minutes before it started!
One exhibit that always stays in my mind is the butterfly walk through, known as Butterfly Paradise!
It’s absolutely stunning and the butterflies fly right around you (some even land on top of you!). Here is a tip though, it is very very hot in this area so best to leave your coat outside!
Butterfly Paradise features butterflies from Africa, South-East Asia and Central and South America.
In the 1980s London Zoo created the first butterfly house! I can really remember this from visiting many years ago!
Ita was possibly most excited to visit Gorilla Kingdom. She genuinely thought she was going to meet one!
Gorilla Kingdom is based on the African Rainforest where western lowland gorillas live.
There is a huge viewing area of this habitat and although it was very busy, we were still able to see the gorillas quite close up. As this is quite a popular attraction, it might be wise to visit here first so that it is slightly less busy.
After seeing the gorillas we headed to “Africa” to see the giraffes!
This is by far the best giraffe viewing area that I have ever been to. The way it is set out means that you will always have a good view, and on sunny warm days the giraffes come right out to greet you.
Also in this area are the hippos and the meerkats. Straight away Ita was shouting “there’s Timone!”.
The Rainforest Life exhibit is also in this area. It is an indoor centre based on the rainforest where monkeys, sloths and bats live! It, like the butterfly exhibit, is incredibly warm so best to remember this!
The Lemur Walkthrough is also based by this exhibit and you literally are face to face with ringtail lemurs! It’s amazing. The zoo keeper in this area was, quite rightly, very protective of the lemurs. He was making sure that people did not get too close and intimidate them. This was very genuine and, I think, shows just how loved the animals are.
Some of the other animals that we really enjoyed seeing was the Tiger and Kimono Dragon. Harri The Tiger could be heard even when we were in Land of the Lions!
Costs to enter ZSL London Zoo vary depending on the time of year you visit. Personally I think Autumn and Spring is the best time although we did visit last New Years Eve to see the light exhibition and we really enjoyed that too. Keep an eye out for this event!
Booking online in advance saves you at least 10% than what you will pay on the door – link below.
There are plenty of places to sit down and eat should you choose to bring your own food and there is also a big canteen style restaurant too. The food portions are very big and both hot and cold food options are available.
By the restaurant area there is a carousel and face painting too, both at an extra cost. Ita had a snow leopard painted at £4 which was very reasonable. We have paid £8-10 previously in similar places.
In terms of parking, on this occasion we used the Zoo car park at £14 for the whole day.
There is also street parking at 60p for every 15 minutes. Depending on how long you think you may stay, you can work out the best option for you.
The zoo is within close walking distance of either Camden Town or Regents Park tube stations (15-20 minutes walk).
During December there is a special event running called the Living Nativity. It runs from Monday – Friday only and is aimed at reception, year 1 and year 2 children.
Along with visiting the zoo as a day out, there are also special other things that you can do such as “Keeper for a Day”, “Meet the Animal Experience” and “Junior Zoo Academy”.
How amazing would these be as Christmas gifts?!
We had a great day at ZSL London Zoo and cant wait to visit again!