London Zoo!

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As part of my Christmas present my in-laws got me a Gin Parlour Experience in London which involved drinking gin. Which everyone knows is one of my favourite activities. As it involved gin we needed to stay in London which meant we were going to make a weekend of it! More on the Gin Experience and our weekend in general to follow but I decided to put a whole post together on London Zoo!

I love going to zoos, I enjoy seeing the animals but more so I enjoy hearing about the different conservation efforts. We were blown away by Vancouver Aquarium and hadn’t been anywhere since so I had high expectations.

London Zoo is set in the north of Regents Park in Central London, a 10 minute walk from Camden Town. Entrance to the zoo is expensive…like £30 per adult ticket expensive. However! If you travel to London by train and have a ticket (or the reservation coupon) plus a downloaded voucher from 241 London241 London you can get in 241! Which if you’re as good at maths as me meant we only paid half price! Bonus!!!!

We arrived at the ticket gates at around 10:30am and there was barely a queue so 5 minutes later we were in! As we hadn’t checked into our hotel we decided to try out one of the lockers to store our bags. The small lockers are £5 for the day (or £1 per hour) and the large ones are £10 for the day. You can fit a lot in them and you can visit them multiple times a day so it’s a good option if you want to save some money and take a picnic.

London Zoo is quite a large site (obviously as there are loads of animals that need space) and can easily take you a whole day to wander round and see all the creatures. The weather wasn’t great but that’s what you get in England in March so it was a little cold. I imagine in the summer it would be lovely and a great place for kids!

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We started off in the Reptile House where they filmed the snake scene in the first Harry Potter. Filled with snakes, turtles, lizards and crocodiles it would not be the place my Mum would want to visit. My favourite animal was the giant anaconda which made it’s way from land into the pond. It was a HUGE snake. To move along it contracted and relaxed it’s muscles and was so hypnotising I almost couldn’t stop watching.

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Once we had our fill of reptiles we decided to move on through Komodo dragons, pigs and giant tortoises and into the Tiger Territory.

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I have seen big cats in zoos before but I have to say this was probably the best viewing of Tigers I’ve had. Feeding time was in 10 minutes so we decided to hang around and watch them being fed.

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If I’m honest the actual feeding itself was a bit of a let down as they hardly get fed anything and their are tons of people. The information given by the speaker was interesting but I had bought the guide book so I had all the information already. Either way we got a great view of the male tiger and then mum and cubs later on.

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At the far end of Tiger Territory were some wonderful camels which were cute from a distance but quite large up close! You could also see out over Regent’s Park which was a little odd when you can see people walking their dogs and playing football!

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After doing a loop and seeing some baby monkeys and gorillas we were going to head for some lunch. With it not being long since a lot of the animals had babies it was nice to see some new additions to the London Zoo family.

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The gorillas were all spending their time inside out of the cold which was good for them but not really for us on the other side of the glass. Large green “jungle” stickers have been applied to the internal windows to protect the animals from human glare but it did mean you couldn’t see a huge amount of them. Next time we go hopefully the weather will be good and they will be outside.

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Lunch was pretty uneventful, we were feeling lazy so opted to eat in the onsite restaurant. There is a wide range of things you can get from salads to pizza and burritos. As you would expect from a tourist attraction in London the food wasn’t cheap so I wouldn’t recommend it for a family but for us it was okay. I opted for a pulled pork macaroni cheese with chips and Stu went for a katsu chicken burger. He picked better than I did.  

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Our first stop after lunch was with the penguins. They have a lot more and the enclosure is much bigger than those we had seen in Vancouver and it must have been mating season as there were several “dates” happening. It was nearing their feeding time so they were making their way to the viewing area which meant we could get quite close to some of them. Penguins are such funny creatures!

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As you do in zoos we moved from penguins into an inflatable butterfly house. The butterflies were beautiful and there were loads of them! It was a little disconcerting as my glasses were steaming up due to the humidity plus some of the butterflies kept flying at the my head!

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If you’ve got kids I can imagine this would be awesome, even if you can’t touch them!

The newest enclosure at London Zoo is the lions and was opened by the Queen herself. It’s quite a nice enclosure but a lot of it isn’t really relevant to the lions themselves but the area they are from. The 4 lions there were pretty chilled out and Mr Lion himself was taking a nap. What a life eh!

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We walked through a monkey enclosure where some small monkeys were running around in British shrubs which was a bit strange.

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London Zoo is split over two sites which a road through the middle, luckily two underground tunnels are there for pedestrians to make their way from one to the other.

Before we headed over to the other side and Out of Africa we partook in some meerkat and farmyard animal viewing plus some super cute bunnies!! The petting section was closed for maintenance which meant we could get up close and personal to the tiny goats…which to be honest I wasn’t too unhappy about as I’m not great with animals actually being around me!

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We were getting pretty tired by this point due to the early start and lots of walking, plus it was getting colder so we didn’t spend much time in the Africa area or surrounding animal enclosures but I did get to see one of my favourite animals – giraffes!!!

Super tall and super pretty these animals get me everytime. Plus I love that their internal enclosure has giant giraffe and small human doors!!! After watching them do their thing and eat some leave we saw some small deer and a hippo before heading towards the exit.

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The small deer have now become one of Stuart’s top animals which is funny as they are so little!

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On the way we walked through the ringtail lemur centre and an internal area where there were more tropical monkeys and a sloth!!! I’d love to be a sloth, just hanging there doing nothing all day apart from eating and sleeping.

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A coffee and brownie stop was in order before hitting the gift shop on our way out. If you have kids the gift shop is going to be tricky. I managed to restrain myself and just left with a sloth fridge magnet! I would recommend visiting London Zoo if you get the chance, it’s a balancing act between good weather and less people to get the best experience and it definitely does deserve a whole day to explore properly.

 


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