Written by: Cally Worden
A visit to the zoo is a great family day out. Even the smallest of children appreciate the visual delights of weird and wonderful animals. Most zoos around the UK have both indoor and outdoor enclosures and exhibits, so even if the weather is unpredictable you can find something to keep the children occupied.
1: Chester Zoo – Chester
A little known fact is that Chester is the largest Zoo in the UK. With 7000 animals from over 400 different species a visit here definitely offers value for money. Conservation is a key theme at Chester, with over half of the species represented under threat. Tsavo, the black rhino, is one of Chester Zoos most famous residents, and a prime example of the excellent work being done by the conservation team.
2: Edinburgh Zoo – Edinburgh
Situated in a lovely area of open parkland outside of the city, Edinburgh Zoo is the largest wildlife attraction in Scotland. Home to over 1000 animals, the zoo is a registered charity and has an active involvement in protecting its endangered species via various conservation programmes. The Giant Pandas are one of the main attractions at Edinburgh, and the free Hilltop Safari ride offers a useful guided tour of the Zoo. A new walkthrough aviary offers the chance to get close to rare and beautifully coloured bird species from around the world.
3: Twycross Zoo – Leicestershire
The extensive 80-acre countryside setting for Twycross Zoo is home to around 900 animals from over 160 different species. Run by a charitable trust, the Zoo has a heavy focus on conservation, education and research. Regular events are run at Twycross to engage young people in various themed learning activities, and the site has a dedicated wetlands area that provides the perfect natural habitat for the wildlife on its doorstep. Keeping with the wet theme, the Zoo also offers the chance to experience a tropical storm in the South American Tropical House.
Perhaps the most famous of all the UK’s Zoos, London is an iconic attraction that provides comfortable homes to more than 650 different species across its 36-acre conservation site. The Reptile House is legendary for its sheer range of species, and a great favourite with youngsters who love seeing what to them look like mini-dinosaurs. Daily feeding of the lions and penguins are always popular, along with the monkey enclosure that has been created to reflect the environment of a Bolivian Rain Forest.
5: Drusillas Park – East Sussex
One of the smaller Zoos in the UK, Drusillas is nevertheless one of the most popular because of its child and animal-friendly environment. Low-level viewing in the innovatively designed enclosures allow children to really feel close to the animals. There are several walk-through exhibits, including a Bat Cave and Lemurland. Drusillas Park also offers a number of special play areas for children, including a Thomas the Tank Engine ride around the Park. Great for when the urge to run off some energy strikes.