Newest Review: ... times so you know where to head when. I didn't buy one, but I have to say their guide book did seem to be much more reasonably priced th... more
Zoo with a nice atmosphere...........
Banham Zoo (Norfolk)
Member Name: Kipperkid
Banham Zoo (Norfolk)
Advantages: nice atmosphere; some good discounts to be had if you look around
Disadvantages: if you are looking for elephants or lions you won't find any
We visited Banham Zoo in June while we were on an owner's club rally at the associated Caravan park - our fee for the caravan park entitled us to reduced entry at the zoo - pay once and go into the zoo as many times as you like for the duration of your stay. We thought that was a brilliant deal and made good use of it! It means you don't have to rush to try and do everything in one day, which was a definite benefit as my companion is older and whilst she can walk fine, there is a limit to how far she can go in one day :-) We found quite a few seats dotted around so a rest was possible when needed - not sure whether this would be as easy in peak periods.........
If you are planning a trip, don't pay the full price - look around on the web or visit a tourist information centre to get one of the leaflets that has discount vouchers in.
When you go in they give you a map of the zoo showing where all the animals can be found and where important things like loos and eateries can be found. They also give you a leaflet which lists all the feeding and talk times so you know where to head when. I didn't buy one, but I have to say their guide book did seem to be much more reasonably priced that some I have been offered at other places. Drinks and ices weren't cheap but fairly reasonable - not as expensive as at many tourist attractions. Didn't try a meal, so can't comment on them. Loos were clean and stocked with loo rolls, soap etc.
Various animals around the zoo are fed at different times of day, and while the keepers are feeding them they give a talk (amplified so you stand a chance of hearing it!) and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
There are also various shows - there's an indoor talk around lunchtime which I think included the chance to get hands-on with some of the animals, but we never did get to this so I can't confirm that! And I think there is something on in the reptile house as well, but as my companion is snake-phobic I didn't get anywhere close to that :-)
I would thoroughly recommend the Birds of Prey show which takes place in an outdoor arena - when we went this was at 2.30pm in the afternoon but I think in peak periods there could be another one earlier in the day. We saw a variety of birds flying around demonstrating their skills at catching prey. Just a word of warning, at the start of the talk they warn you to stay seated at all times during the talk and keep all food out of sight, with very good reason - the birds do swoop very low over the audience at times and may even brush you with their wings. If you are frightened of birds, it isn't the show for you and there was one little lad who got quite upset because a bird flew close and frightened him.
There is a small land train which will take you on a tour of the zoo, doesn't take long but gives you an overview and there is a commentary although I gather if you are sat at the front of a carriage it can be difficult to hear it. I don't think this is wheelchair accessible but I didn't think to check, sorry!
The giraffe enclosure has an aerial walkway which allows you to get eye to eye with the giraffes if they deign to come over your side of the enclosure - they didn't when we were there, but it was a good idea and did give you a different perspective on them. There are ramps up to the aerial walkway, which finishes in the giraffe house and there is also a lift for disabled visitors in the giraffe house.
The penguin exhibit has 2 large windows which allow you to see the penguins swimming underwater - you can also go round the other side and see them standing/walking around on land. A word of advice - don't just walk past the window saying 'oh, there's nothing in there' like we saw many people do. If you wait a minute or two, they WILL swim past (there's a seat opposite the windows if standing for any length of time is a problem) and it does give you a completely different view of them.
There's a farm barn where children can touch the animals (sinks and soap provided for hand washing afterwards, also gel dispensers around the zoo). There is also the opportunity to try your hand at milking a (full-size model) cow!
There was evidence of work in several areas around the site to improve the exhibits - they are building a new enclosure for the lorikeets I think it was, and a new area for the lemurs so you can walk through it.
So all-in-all, would I recommend this zoo? Yes, definitely!
Summary: A good day out
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