At the end of the summer holidays, we went for a family day out to London Zoo.
I like to visit zoos where I can see that they provide a necessary service to the animals they care for and that the animals are well looked after. For example, if the zoo is heavily involved in conservation projects. I really loved Prague Zoo for that reason and London Zoo is the same.
We were very lucky with the weather – London weather can be pretty tumultuous even in the summer months. But we had brilliant sunshine all day – perfect weather for Lily to wear her Words of Wonder t-shirt.
London Zoo is very central and so easy to access via public transport. The nearest underground stations are Camden Town, Regents Park and Baker Street. If you use one of the latter two you can walk through Regents Park. There are also lots of buses that serve London Zoo – check out tfl for help planning your journey.
We jumped the tube and got off at Regent’s Park to make the most of the good weather. London Zoo is actually within the boundaries of the park and it’s such a lovely walk from the tube station to the entrance.
I hadn’t realised that there was a Dinosaur exhibition on at the Zoo so you can imagine the shock I got when we heard a massive roar and this popped up behind the trees!
Top Tip: London Zoo is not the cheapest of attractions in London. I would suggest looking out for 2-for-1 offers or pre-booking on their website for a discount.
Events at London Zoo
Once you’ve got your tickets I suggest making your first port of call the information desk. From there you can pick up a leaflet outlining all of the daily events such as feeding sessions. During the summer months, the first events start at 11 am.
Top Tip: Take a photo of the leaflet timetable – that means you have one less thing to carry and are saving paper!
Unfortunately, we were too late to see the Early Birds, however, we did catch both the Penguin and Tiger feeding times. As the zookeepers feed the animals they share lots of interesting information about the breeds. They also tell you about the conservation projects London Zoo work on with them. My photos of the tigers aren’t great because I was behind thick glass. Although I was glad of it when they got close!
Top Tip: The timetable is seasonal and is always updated on the ZSL site – plan out your visit in advance around the events.
The London Zoo Aquarium is one of my favourite areas although it’s looking a bit shabby round the edges these days. When we were there several sections were closed for refurbishment which was good to see.
We love the tanks of brightly coloured tropical fish. The turtle exhibit was a real conversation-starter as it featured pots and pans. The display explained that the turtles were used in soup in various parts of the World and so they were now nearly extinct.
The biggest conversation piece, however, was the tank filled with plastic bottles. This was to highlight the fact that so much plastic is going into our oceans that it’s estimated by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea!
That has had us really thinking about our plastic usage as a family and how we contribute to that waste.
We hadn’t realised that London Zoo had a special exhibition on called Zoorassic Park so this was definitely a pleasant surprise. The premise is that you go through a ‘time machine’ to meet the dinosaurs.
Lily is obsessed with dinosaurs and so this was one of her favourite parts of the day at London Zoo.
Eat and Drink
As with most London attractions, the food and drinks at London Zoo are quite pricey. We avoided spending too much by bringing our own water bottles and eating brunch before we left. By the time any of us were hungry we just had some crisps and ice cream. This kept us going until we were home for dinner.
Top Tip: There are plenty of picnic areas and open spaces where you can eat your own food if you are prepared!
Of course, before we left we stopped off at the gift shop. We picked up a couple of postcards and a soft toy for Lily. However, we passed on the very expensive photo books. Personally, it doesn’t sit well with me that the zoo prints them all ready for purchase. It’s such a waste of paper and ink. I can’t imagine that is a justifiable cost, particularly not for a company interested in preserving the environment.
Top Tip: You can sponsor animals at the Gift Shop or donate to animal conservation projects all over the World.
We loved our day out at London Zoo. Eventually, the heat got a little too much for Lily and so we walked back to Camden Town along the canal to jump on the tube. It’s a pleasant and short walk (quite a bit shorter than going through Regent’s Park!)
For more information on London Zoo head over to their site here.