“ Address: Watery Lane / Nr Arreton / Isle of Wight / PO36 0L / UK „
The largest exotic animal, award winning attraction on the Isle of Wight. This is mostly indoors so a perfect gesture for rainy days, just like today!
We were hoping for a beautiful day as it being my only day off this week to enjoy with my daughter during school holidays! Well it was horrid at 8am and still is! We picked Madeline's friend up and headed straight over to Arreton (between Newport and Sandown) Its easy for myself to find being an Islander but I'm not sure for tourists. It is well sign posted and of course most of us have sat navigations now.
We arrived at 11am to be greeted by a very friendly member of staff that filled us with information. I was a little shocked that I paid £22.65 for a four year old, five year old and of course me! But by the end I realised the cost of the food, vet bills and rates this is probably worth every penny.
Opening times are 10am till 5.30pm and your allowed in as much as you like during that day.
Prices are Adults-£8.75, seniors £7.75 and children (3-14) £6.95.
We walked through the door it immediatley felt like we were in the Amazon (a little imagination) birds loose flying everwhere amongst the plants and trees some sat right beside the path so you got such a great close up. Little bridges and pathways that made it feel so inclosed and surreal to the girls.
The animals at amazon I believe to be a great range of variety were
huge african snails
red bellied piranhas
frogs from small to big!
There was only 2 snakes though which was a little dissapointed.
We took just over an hour and a half to go around all the enclosures and reading a few of the information boards.
I have to say the information boards were a little rubbish not a lot of information on what they are, where they live, where they sleep, what they eat, just lacking in general info. I would also like to know more than just general answers especially as they are keen on you adopting.
The enclosures were strange for example the tortoises had a huge home but the flamigos, armadillos, and otters had small enclosures? One particular little armadillo was going crazy bless him pacing up and down the window.
I would also say that it would be an advantage to have benches in the insect areas as it got very tiring lifting each girl to look in the tanks at the different species plus I was covered in mud from there shoes!
There is a lot of parking and an excellent play and picnic area but it was very cold and wet when we went so they didn't get to play. We had lunch there and I would say it was alittle over priced. The girls had ham sandwiches, small slush puppies and I had a coffee and it came to £11.10. The cafe was clean and the food was decent.
The zoo is wheelchair friendly but with experience of wheelchairs I would say it woulod be a struggle as there is slight hills, small bridges. However they did have different wheelchair access which seemed strange as they would miss half of the zoo! Also they would have same problem as young or short people with the insect area and most homes of the animals had walls around so again I had to lift girls over or they climbed up to have a look.
Overall I very muched enjoyed the day and the girls loved every minute so thats all that matters to me!
Hope you enjoyed and found this of some interest!
Amazon World, on the Isle of Wight is located in Arreton, not too far from Newport. It is an indoor zoo, which focuses on South American animals found in Rain forests.
It is open all year round, even in between Christmas and new year - which was good, as you practically get the place to yourself, so can really take your time looking at all of the animals.
There is a also a large car park outside, which is free! Or you can get there by bus, which stops literally at the entrance of the Zoo.
I have visited Amazon World twice in the last couple of years, and we have always had a good day out. Outside is a large climbing frame for the kids to use in the Summer.
Inside it is hot and humid, with the first part of the Zoo designed with a Rainforest layout, with birds flying, and running freely around you. This for me, was the best bit, as so often you are closed away from the animals, it made a change for them to be walking about right in front of you.
There are also lots of tanks of reptiles, insects, fish & amphibians. The tanks was quite disappointing, because the glass was steamed up with the humidity, it was sometimes quite hard to even see the animals.
Through to the next room, there was lots of different birds including parrots, and lots of different breeds of Toucans etc.
There was also another room, that was completely dark, which contained a large enclosure of bats, which was amazing. This is done in the style of a tomb, and you can watch the bats flying around, eating, and hanging from the ceilings. Some of these was huge! Also in here was snakes, and another nocturnal primates.
You go then go through to a desert type room, which contained foxes, meerkats, turtles, cavvies etc.
Then there was an outside section, with bigger animals, including penguins, monkeys, lemurs, otters, cats, sloths and a few other animals.
A few of the displays was empty, or being refurbished at the time, but most of the things were occupied.
Throughout the day, there are various shows and displays, these include a penguin talk / feeding, falconry displays, and a meet the animals, where they show you different animals and explain how they live etc.
There is also a gift shop, and a cafe, serving reasonably priced food.
The admission prices was good, as you could come and go in the day and stay as long as you wanted. Adults was priced at £6.99, children was priced at £5.99, but you could also get a family ticket for £24.
All in all it was a good day out, a great place to go even when it's bad weather as much of the Zoo is indoors, so you can still keep dry.
"The largest exotic animal attraction on the Isle of Wight"
Firstly, I would like to say that I agree completely with what was said by cmh4135 in her previous review of the same attraction.
Amazon World is an indoor wildlife park based on the Isle of Wight. The venue has a fairly good selection of animals, but the presentation of the place isn't up to much. Glass on fish / reptile tanks is often dirty, making viewing the animals quite difficult, and some of the information around enclosures is missing. In some cases, what information there is often consists of scruffy bits of paper stuck to the walls. Also, in bits like the terrapin pond, you can see electrical wires and pumps sticking out of the water, which ruins the escapism a bit. In a place like the excellent 'Tropical World' in Leeds, these things are well hidden in the environment. As a popular tourist attraction, you would think that with the turnover this place must make, they would be able to spend more time making viewing the animals a more pleasant experience.
On a positive note, the way tropical birds fly around the hothouses unhindered is very good, and many of these are freindly and will come over and to investigate.
There is quite a bad smell around the place, especially in the desert section, which makes you wonder whether the animals are being cared for as best they can - also in many of the enclosures there seems to be very little for the animals to do. This was especially aparent with the armadillos, which were basically running around in circles - quite sad to see.
There is a section where you can learn about conservation and rainforests - although these bits are badly presented, and an area which has models of humans in the Amazon looks incredibly tacky.
Amazon World could be so much better, and I would probably recommend Seaview Wildlife Encounter instead, which always makes for an entertaining day out.
CHILDREN (3-14 years old): £5.50
SENIOR CITIZENS: £5.99
FAMILY TICKET (2 adults + 2 children): £24.00
For more information, see www.amazonworld.co.uk
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Update as of 17/01/09
I visited Amazon World recently, and it had definitely improved as a venue. The bad smell I described in the dessert section had gone, and although there is still little for the animals to do in some cages, most seem in good health.
I don't normally have a problem with zoos provided, of course, that the animals appear well cared for. I do, however, have an issue with what I describe as "tourist animal traps" which seem to serve no purpose other than to cause discomfort to the animals and leave the tourist feeling fleeced. In truth, before I visited, I wasn't sure which camp Amazon World would fall into. I suspected the latter, after all there's nothing Amazonian about the Isle of Wight, but hoped for the former.
Amazon World is situated on the Isle of Wight between Newport (in the middle of the Island) and Sandown (on the East coast). Like most places on the Isle of Wight it's not going to take you more than an hour to get to wherever you're coming from. Signed by the traditional brown tourist signs it's easy to locate once you're in the approximate area.
Amazon World is billed as "the Largest Exotic Animal Attraction on the Isle of Wight". Given the size of the Isle of Wight this doesn't exactly mean much though. This winner of the Isle of Wight's "Top Tourist Attraction" then goes on to profess that you can learn about conservation and the rainforest whilst viewing some of the most beautiful and endangered creatures. I'm worried that there's no real statement about conserving those animals, least not in the big tourist-aimed posters and leaflets that are displayed around the island (later digging on the website did provide some comfort that the zoo is part of international breeding programmes and is a member of the British and European Zoo Federations).
Arriving at the venue one feels rather under-whelmed. A single dirt track leads from the main road, past an adventure playground, to a roughly gravelled car park. A mock Inca façade hides the entrance to the zoo. The whole impression is one of over-theming and tackiness and fears are not allayed at the reception area where the same members of staff serve both gift shop and entering customers from a double-windowed booth.
The first thing that you'll notice about Amazon World, once inside, is that you really are close to some of the animals - the first exhibition will see you walking through a "rainforest" with uncaged birds flying around your head. This is not a place to come if you don't like proximity to birds! It is warm in here as one would expect, but it differed rather in feel and temperature from previous "rainforest" experiences that I have had, such as that at The Eden Project. Having never been to real rainforest I couldn't comment which was more accurate though!
A large pond in this area was stocked with some over-sized goldfish but these were largely out of view of the younger guests (due to the necessary walls and fences) and rather uninspiring to the adult visitors. What could have been a main attraction in this area was the crocodile cage - unfortunately though the crocs were all but invisible behind misted-up, dirty glass. The temperature differences between the crocs enclosure and the open rainforest meant that the glass viewing windows were almost permanently misted.
As you moved through this first area one was met with the smell of animals and it wasn't particularly pleasant. One appreciates that animals smell and damp animals are more likely to smell more but to say it was pongy was an understatement. The issue of smells was addressed later in the route where signs advertised that natural deodorisers were being tested but, to be honest, you'd not want to spend too much time here!
The next section of the zoo, separated off from the first by a dirty plastic strip curtain (which amused my son no end) saw us moving deeper into the jungle. Here the more interesting exhibits were caged. Brightly coloured macaws and parrots were sighted around the edges and in the centre of the room there was a glass cage with an anteater and spider monkeys. Youngsters (and rather grumpy looking dads) were able to craw through tunnels to pop up in the middle of this glass cage to get "up close and personal" with the animals. The tunnels were well padded on the floor but being only a couple of feet high were rather awkward for adults accompanying younger children. Whilst I think the tunnels were a good and interesting idea the area was not really large enough for more than 2 people at once and so when a school party came in behind us we had to evacuate - a 2 year old in a tunnel and ten 12-year olds don't mix!
A Rainforest video proved to be the most unpopular part of the attraction with no-one stopping to watch the rather small tv screen from hard plank benches.
A river exhibition was, to my mind equally poor. Several very small tanks of piranha were rather boring, poorly lit and faced with dirty glass. The flamingos in the next area provided some more joy but not much. A very brief exhibition on the destruction of the rainforest followed and lead into the insect house. Again the tanks were small and placed awkwardly for younger visitors. Many of the tanks were empty (some with and without signs).
The next area could easily be bypassed by the wary - the Tomb. This area housed snakes, bats and a couple of nocturnal monkey-type things. Again, presentation really let the exhibition down. The bats were all but invisible behind dirty, reflective glass and the snakes were too high for younger visitors.
The final indoor area (and the one in which they were trying out the new air fresheners) was the desert area. Here tortoises, mere cats and a few monkeys fought for your attention. Theming was again high but presentation poor and I felt very sorry for the animals who seemed to have little to amuse themselves. They didn't look stressed or uncared for but I wasn't comfortable.
The indoor exhibition over one is led outside to a series of outdoor cages housing all manner of creatures from penguins to big cats, monkeys to tapirs. None of the cages looked great and a few gave cause for concern. The penguin enclosure was very small (as were the swim tanks for some otters) and a tapir (-type creature) had had rubber matting placed on the concrete outside of his shelter, presumably to protect his feet from unsuitable flooring.
The route around the outside takes you back inside, through the gift shop before you leave. A hand-stamp that you are given on entry allows you back in all day long should you desire and this is useful if you have mis-timed your visit or had to interrupt it to see one of the displays.
The zoo puts on various displays throughout the day from "meet the animals" to a falconry display. We saw both of these and they were well managed and of a suitable length for smaller children - possibly the most positive part of the visit.
Information about the animals is plentiful but is poorly lit and positioned for smaller guests and the disabled. There is no "interactive" play popular with so many of these attractions.
If you want a break from the animals or want to spend extra time at the attraction there is a large adventure playground for kids with a smaller section for the under 5s. In fairness, when we visited, three large school parties meant that this area was crowded and boisterous but we still managed to form an opinion. The large area was well maintained and had plenty of safe rubber matting on the floor to protect falling children. The toddler area was basic and less well thought through. Whilst the matting was present the positioning of the equipment did not take account of the fact that toddlers are more likely to fall and there were some "parent crunch" areas. The other poorly thought out thing here was the dino-slide. This was made of concrete and was causing toddler parents much consternation as their little one's struggled up the steps Once at the top of the slide in a tunnel-type construction there was no step up to the slide down meaning a climb of about 1.5ft. To a toddler this meant that parents had to lift their children from the tunnel to the slide. Hardly ideal for a toddler park.
Refreshments were available in a café and the food, although not tested, looked basic but wholesome. Prices were reasonable and portions looked fair. The toilets were situated next to the café. These were clean and, like many attractions, one could have benefited had more been provided. The major issue with the toilets is that they were situated quite a way from the main attraction and, being the only toilets in the facility meant that young children might struggle. Signs at the entrance to the zoo do warn you to go before you enter but we found that multiple trips out were required, often from what seemed like the furthest point away. The layout of the zoo compounds the problem with few shortcuts to the exits being available. My recommendation: don't go if you've recently potty trained!
The zoo is open all year round and as of 2008 costs just shy of £7 per adult and £5.50 for children with a family ticket available for £24. Under 3s are free. Various offers are available (if, unlike us, you remember in advance) and Tesco Clubcard vouchers can also be used.
As an attraction that can be visited in poor weather, much of it being inside, I might be tempted back to Amazon World. However, I wouldn't go out of my way to visit again. I found my toddler became restless and found more interest in the plastic curtains between the areas than in the exhibits themselves. As an adult I was rather bored by the whole affair, there being too many of the same thing and too little interest. School parties compounded the issue. Exhibits were poorly displayed behind dirty and reflective glass. I imagine that 5-8 year olds might be the best served by this attraction.
There were no obvious signs of distress in the animals but one was not left with the most comfortable of feelings. The smell was certainly enough to cause many to rush through areas. There is little evidence of good breeding programmes (one of the best reasons, in my opinion, for zoos) although several sloths and penguins have bred.
Access is acceptable for pushchairs and wheelchairs although there are a couple of routes that you will have to by-pass. Viewing of the animals will be more restricted though.
Only really recommended on a rainy day when the beach is off-limits!