Yesterday we were invited back to ZSL London Zoo for their (Home) Schools Out for the Summer event!
We have visited a number of times before and have always enjoyed our visits but we were quite keen to see how the new social distancing rules would be implemented in a zoo!
Lets start with the basics that London Zoo have implemented.
You now MUST book in advance and are broken down into specific times. Morning slots allow entry between 10am-2pm; Afternoon slots allow entry between 2pm – 5pm. (The zoo closes at 6pm).
There is a restriction on the amount of visitors the zoo will take to assist social distancing.
There is now also now 3 new one-way routes around the Zoo.
Keeper talks and animal experiences will not be running.
Masks are advised and are mandatory in some walk-through exhibits and indoor areas. (We were asked to wear them to see the lemurs but not the birds area). So don’t forget your mask. If you do, you can purchase one from the zoo for £5. There are stands outside of the enclosed attractions as well as the at the gift shop.
The introduction of the one way route is a very good idea because it really does mean you will not miss out on certain animals. In fact, we saw far more in this visit than we had done before. We had never noticed the giant tortoises from the Galapagos Islands as we usually go towards the kimono dragon. We even braved the reptile home which usually we avoid. Equally, you can safely avoid certain animals by simply walking on and re-joining the route else where.
If you have visited for the festive animals after dark event, you will see the similarities in how the route is laid out. We particularly liked that it was more streamline around the gorilla’s for example, with far less people around because the system naturally encourages you to look ahead.
However just because safety measures have been implemented, there is still a role for visitors to play! We found that by the kimono dragon area and by the penguin area, people were huddled together without a thought for social distancing. It was really frustrating to even walk past safely and one lady actually approached our nieces buggy to appear inside. The zoo has gone to such efforts to implement these rules and I feel like people should be more accountable in following them!
The giftshop is also one way and allows a very limited amount of people in the shop at any one time. All staff here were wearing masks and were good at explaining the process for being inside. You can now exit the zoo without walking through the gift shop too by taking the exit to the right of the shop.
The restaurant has also reopened and also has spots marked for social distancing. We decided to bring our own picnic and eat on one of the many open areas of lawn at the zoo.
There is a car park at London Zoo, which is slightly up the road from the entrance (the post code is NW1 4SX) and costs £14.50. There is also street parking too. We paid approx. £7.20 for 11am – 2pm and parked right outside. Given the new time restrictions is works out better to park on the street.
London Zoo is still one of the best days out in London (there is no room for argument here!) and I would thoroughly recommend visiting over the summer. If you feel uncomfortable please do tell staff and I am sure they will do their best to assist. We have always found the staff to be friendly and approachable.
The past few months have been tirelessly difficult for everyone, but places like this, have lost out hugely and suffered significant financial impact.
We have donated a few times during lockdown and would urge you too also if you can.
To pre-book your visit click the link below.
Check out our previous visit to London Zoo here: https://garciafamilyuk.com/2019/09/16/london-zoo/
We also have a YouTube Video from our last visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJGMSSibYYw
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