Newest Review: ... We spent around 3hours in the park but could have spent longer had our son not been exhausted from all the walking! I would give Blackp... more
Time To See The Animals!
Member Name: angelboouk
Advantages: cool animals, lots to do, clean, decent food, animals are well looked after
Disadvantages: cost, quiet out of season
Blackpool Zoo was officially opened in 1972. The Zoo is set across 32 acres of land which is home to hundreds of animals.
~Location, Opening Times and Prices~
Blackpool Zoo, East Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8PP
Blackpool Zoo is approximately 2 miles from the seafront of Blackpool and located a short walk from Stanley Park. During the peak season, buses run from the town centre straight to the zoo. The Zoo has a car park which can accommodate a good number of cars.
Blackpool Zoo is open everyday except the 25th of December. The Zoo opens at 10 am each day and closes at either 4.45pm or 5.45pm depending on season. The last admission for the Zoo is 45 mins before it closes.
There are lots of different pricing options offered by the Zoo and you can save around 5% by booking online.
*Adult - £15.50 (membership £38.75)
*Child (3-15yrs) - £11.00 (membership £27.50)
*Concessions - £13.50 (membership £33.75)
*Family of 4 - £48.00 (membership £120.00)
*Family of 5 - £57.00 (membership £142.50)
It is worth noting the facilities before I discuss the animals at the Zoo. The main foyer of the Zoo includes toilets (disabled and baby changing available), a cafe with small play area, the Zoo shop and also areas for corporate events. The foyer is where you can purchase your tickets before heading into the Zoo.
Within the Zoo, there are toilets located in various areas, a nursery (see website for fees), educational areas and various food chalets which are open during peak seasons to offer ice cream, drinks and sweet treats. There is a cafe known as the Lake View Cafe which offers light bites and refreshments. There is a small, outdoor play area to the far end of the Zoo and a small train which runs around one end of the Zoo (£1.00 per person). There are feeding sessions and also the opportunity to become a zookeeper for the day etc.
There is a huge playbarn located around the corner from the main entrance of the Zoo which costs from £1.75 upwards. There are picnic areas and benches dotted around the Zoo and also drinks machines. There is plenty of grass to roam or relax on during warmer months. The Zoo is fully accessible for prams and wheelchairs (these can also be hired) as the pavements are flat all the way around the Zoo.
The animals who live at the Zoo have their own areas - huge enclosures, barns, large grassy areas and also indoor sleeping areas. There are a few lakes around the Zoo which are home to the more aquatic animals that live there. Most of the animals can be viewed by walking around the Zoo. Others are most likely to be in their indoor space. There is a Wallaby Walkabout allowing you to get up close to the animals.
The Elephant and Reptile House is home to the elephants and snakes. The Amazonia dome is home to some fish and small monkey type animals which roam about free. There is a childrens farm which has set times for petting the animals and is ideal for those who are a little scared of the bigger animals within the park.
The visitor guide book is priced at £2.50 and can be purchased from the main reception. This book gives plenty of info about the animals you will see and their temperment. There is also a map to give you an idea of where to go to see each animal. The animals at Blackpool Zoo include tigers, gorillas, tortoises, flamingos and penguins plus many more. Each enclosure features information plaques which give an insight into the animal you are watching.
Despite having visited Blackpool more than 30 times since my childhood, I had never visited the Zoo. We had decided to take our toddler son to the Zoo on our visit to Blackpool last week. We arrived by taxi (£10 from the seafront - ouch!) last Tuesday morning and were there for the Zoo opening. We arrived a little earlier than 10am but were able to walk around the foyer and have a peek in the shop.
My review is based on our visit during an 'out of season' day. Personally I would recommend visiting during the Summer as the park was pretty quiet and not as buzzing as it should have been. This did mean we could wander around freely without bumping others out the way to see the animals but the chalets weren't open and only part of the cafe was open during our visit. It was quite a dreary but dry day so we couldn't play at the play park or relax with a picnic either and an ice cream was a no no!
My son had a quick play in the small play area before entering the Zoo. We had planned on taking him to the playbarn afterwards but a 'tired strop' resulted in us missing that part out. The entrance foyer is very modern and well adapted to handle busy crowds. The shop has quite a varied range of merchandise including little items such as pencils and rules, juice and sweets. They also stock more expensive items including toys, ornaments and clothing. We had forgot to purchase a disposable camera so ended up buying a Fujifilm at £7.00. My son wanted to buy a small train set (£5.99) and we paid nearly £3.50 for a bottle of Coca Cola and a Fruit Shoot - not cheap!
We didn't have any vouchers for the Zoo so paid full price. We made a purchase of a guide book and the total for our visit came to just under £44 which I paid by debit card. I believe this is a fair price for 2 adults and 1 child though it would be incredibly expensive for larger families to visit, dine and buy shop treats at the same time! The staff members that we encourtered were very friendly. We did see a few out feeding the animals during our visit and they were informative if information was requested.
We were able to go around the Zoo ourselves with complete ease. The Zoo is huge and very spacious. The various animal areas are clearly signposted and there is a little walk between the different sections. I would say we got to experience all of the animals but this review would be too long to discuss them all. I will mention our favourites in a bit more detail. I would say the guide book is an essential purchase - more so for the map!
~What Can You See?~
The animals all appeared happy and healthy in their 'home'. The enclosures were incredibly spacious in most cases and the animals had plenty of space to roam, sleep and eat. I did notice electric fences around some enclosures but in most cases, large wooden or metal fences were in place with strict instructions not to feed or touch the animals. I love animals - well looking at them but I certainly wouldn't want to be in 'close' contact with any as I value my life too much - that being said, they were all very well behaved and none acted up during our visit.
My son was a little scared of the animals to be honest but this was his first time at a Zoo of this size. We did try to calm him but certain loud noises would scare him even if the animal was behind a massive fence! Anyway, most children will appreciate the variation of animals but some will be appreciated more than others. A lot of the animals have their own names but as a game, we made up names for some animals based on animal characters in my sons favourite shows!
The first area that we witnessed was the tortoises. The huge tortoise barely moved and I believe it had moved an inch or two by the time we returned to him a few hours later! I was amused by two other tortoises as one was trying to 'nudge' the other out a bit of mud it had became stuck in. My son was not keen on the Dinosaur Safari complete with huge, realistic dinosaur exhibits, water and greenery.
The tiger we met was kept inside as he was being trained but normally ran wild in a huge play area suited to his needs. He was beautiful in terms of colour but his teeth did nerve me somewhat! The lion/lioness were absolutely stunning. The lion relaxed and allowed the lioness pride to pose - he looked like the 'big daddy' who had the ladies flocking around him and was quite a sight with this stunning mane. Nearby we met the Giraffes who had wandered indoor for a bite to eat. I believe there were 5 giraffes and by walking up the ramp to 'Giraffe Heights' we were able to view them from above - it is amazing how tall they are!
Some of the smaller animals didn't appear to be willing to come out to play or pose which was disappointing. A short walk around the park, we met the orangutans. These were our favourites! The orangutans had a huge enclosure with glass panels around it. They had a swinging apparatus and a water and grass area to play in as well as an indoor area where they could also be viewed. The orangutans were very cheeky and playful and we couldn't help but visit here a few times. One had hidden himself inside a bundle of hay which was funny whilst another inside on sending me and my son kisses through the glass inside.
The gorillas were located opposite the orangutans and were equally as fun to watch especially during feeding time. I was amazed by how 'human' like these animals actually were! One gorilla took all he could to eat (including holding a cabbage between his feet) whilst the big gorilla sat proudly in the corner and didn't care who saw him eating his meal. There was an adorable baby gorilla who enjoyed playing hide and seek which was amusing to watch.
We were on time to witness the penguins being fed. The penguin pool has a viewing area which was very popular. The seagulls were perched on the rock watching for the fish being distributed and I am very surprised that the penguins actually got anything to eat! It was interesting to witness though we didn't get to see any other feeding sessions during our visit. As we wandered around the Zoo, we were able to see the gorgeous flamingos, several camels and even reindeer (who by the way, didn't look like Rudolph!).
The elephant enclosure was huge but due to the positioning of trees and bushes, it was difficult to get a good picture of the elephants. From what we could see, there were 2 elephants and they were absolutely massive! We wandered into the Elephant and Reptile house which stank to high heavens but wasn't particularly of any interest to us. The Amazonia wasn't amazing either. I expected it to be like the Amazonia in Scotland but it wasn't very populated with animals. There were small monkeys here which looked rather cheeky and my son wanted to speak to them as they were cute! There was also a parrot enclosure near Amazonia - absolutely stunning and colourful birds here.
The Childrens Farm terrified my son despite me assuming he would love it! There was a small climbing frame and drinks machine in there but not somewhere you would want to sit long as it smelled quite bad due to the different animals. There was no handling sessions whilst we were there but they are normally held twice daily. I personally found the barn the perfect size for the smaller animals but the donkeys did not look impressed about being in such a limited space. The barn had lots of animals and we named them all and encouraged our son to speak to them. There were a few sheep, donkeys, goats and one massive black pig! The llamas were very cool and 'relaxed'. I personally went daft for the rabbits and guinea pigs. They had huge rabbits and I so wished I could have held one! This area (and several others) had soap and water to clean your hands after handling the animals which I feel is very responsible.
~Grabbing A Bite To Eat~
We chose to have a bite to eat in the Lake View cafe. This cafe was very spacious inside though had a canteen type ambience. During the warmer months, there is an ice cream and burger bar open but the main part of the cafe is open all year round. The choice of food wasn't amazing but acceptable all the same. There were prepacked sandwiches, kids boxes, drinks and sweets. Hot meals included chilli, baked potato and corned beef hash with veg etc. There was a chiller with salad items and yoghurt.
My son wanted sausage and chips (he had an addiction to this meal last week for some reason!) which came in a big portion. I went for a baked potato with cheese and a side of coleslaw and tomato - quite filling and tasty. My fiance had some sandwiches and we had two drinks between us. The total cost was around £15.00 (paid by debit card).
Before leaving the Zoo, we popped into the other cafe (in the entrance foyer) for some cake. They had a good selection of cakes and biscuits and served Starbucks drinks. The drinks were expensive but average for this type of establishment (£2-3 a drink). We had a slice of Victoria sponge filled with jam and fresh cream - absolutely delicious and well worth £2.95 a slice in my opinion! Our son had some of our cake and also a pack of Bourbons and a banana which were fairly cheap to buy.
We did visit the toilets at the far side of the Zoo which were spacious, well stocked and clean. The park in general is well maintained throughout and kept very tidy.
~Conclusion and Recommendation~
We can highly recommend the Zoo. Despite spending nearly £100 in total, we had a fab time. I have no doubts that my son may be less afraid for our next visit and we will return in the future. There is lots to do and see here and the animals are so engaging and welcoming. We spent around 3hours in the park but could have spent longer had our son not been exhausted from all the walking!
I would give Blackpool Zoo 5 stars as it exceeded our expectations and we will be back! We captured some amazing memories during our visit.
Thanks for reading x
Summary: well worth a visit!
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