England Theme Parks / Zoos National
Last year we brought a Merlin pass with Tesco club card vouchers, so we've been using every opportunity to visit the attractions that this covers and ensure that we get good value for money from the pass. The London Sea Life Aquarium is one of the places that we are able to visit for free using this pass and so it seemed a perfect place ... to go on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon in the school half term holidays and may be somewhere worth considering visiting during these Easter holidays especially if the weather is not great.
The Sea Life Centre is located on the London's Southbank, in the old County Hall building, right next to the London Eye, so combining these two attractions together can make a good day out and a combined pass can be purchased. Combined tickets are also available for the other London 'Merlin' group attractions such as the London Dungeons and Madam Tussauds, if you're not luck enough to have the full pass. Westminster Tube station is the nearest, but I'd encourage approaching on foot and experiencing the above ground atmosphere of London as nowhere is really far away in this city. Tickets cost £22.80 for over 16s and £17.40 for 3 - 15 year olds. These reduce by 25% after 3pm Behind the scenes tours are an extra £7.50. Opening hours are 9am - 8pm daily.
We arrived about 12.30 and there was only a very short queue inside the building and we were ushered straight to the doors leading into the exhibitions where our passes were checked, bypassing the ticket booths. As we left at 3.00 there was a line forming outside, but still not too long. The centre caters well for wheelchair users and those with pushchairs and two lifts offer an alternative to the stairs as you dive down into the basement to begin your trip. Yes, the entire experience is below ground! I found this quite scary, especially as it is right next to the River Thames as well, so I was aware that the other side of the concrete wall was a wall of water.
My main negative feelings about the aquarium stem from the fact that it was all below ground with no natural light or air. It felt quite oppressive and in many places the ceilings are low. There is no getting away from the fact that you're in the basement of a huge building - there are large expanses of concrete and huge steel girders across the ceilings. In most areas good attempts have been made to disguise them and create a backdrop to suit the fish of that section e.g. ivy and other vegetation covers the ceiling in the tropical area. I was very aware of my safety or potential lack of it the entire time and watched out for the emergency exits, which fortunately occurred at quite regular intervals. I know this building must have passed stringent health and safety inspections and maybe I'm a wimp, but I did worry about how easy it would be for the large numbers of people inside to get out in an emergency.
** The aquarium experience**
Once inside the main exhibition area you are led on a route that leads you around the ocean environments of the world with aquariums of various sizes. The first aquariums are quite small and I found myself comparing it less favourably than the Brighton Sea Life Centre that I have also been too, but as we entered 'The Deep' tank that represents The Atlantic Ocean I was suitably impresses. I think it is probably the largest such tank that I've seen and includes a model skeleton of an 80 foot whale as part of the habitat for the vast numbers of fish in this exhibition. There are numerous viewing areas for this tank at various heights, although you can't look into it from above which was a shame. The tunnel through which you can walk through the tank offers great visibility, but it is very short compared to others that I've visited. I could have stood and watched the huge rays, the sharks, giant turtle and countless other species for hours, but we were not the only ones wanting to watch by a long way so there was always pressure to move along and let the next person in for their turn.
The other large tank holds species native to the Pacific Ocean. I found this tank to be far more sparse in its vegetation than the Atlantic one which was bursting with colour and nooks and crannies in rocks for the fish to swim through. The Pacific area had more rock features and a large statue. Perhaps this is more true to the difference in habitats in the two oceans, as I believe the Pacific is deeper so probably has less vegetation. Three huge traditional looking sharks swim in this tank along with a tiger shark and many smaller fish. I appear to have done a really bad job of taking in the names of fish species to pass on in this review. At other aquariums I have been more aware of what fish I was observing, as there have been boards up with pictures of all of the fish. At the London Centre it is more high tech with computer screens by each exhibit. The problem I found with this was that if there were multiple fish in a tank it scrolled through information about them and I could rarely look at the type of fish that I was interested in without waiting it for it to scroll through and with large crowds this just wasn't possible. I have to say that I was more interested in just watching the fish swim and trying to take good photos with the aquarium setting of my camera than taking in lots of factual information. If that's what you like though it is there, but you have to be patient.
Other environments that you pass through on the journey, are the jungle section that contains crocodiles and terrapins and a tropical area with coral reefs and beautiful bright coloured smaller fish, which really attracted the younger children as they spotted 'Nemo' and 'Dori' look a likes from the Finding Nemo film. I have to say that I have seen other far more brightly coloured tanks in other aquariums so this would not be my favourite part as it often is.
An area that really surprised me as we progressed through the numerous varied habitats was Antarctica. For some reason I hadn't expected to find penguins underground in the middle of London. This was a very well landscaped area and included real ice, but was way too popular with the crowds, so it was a struggle to see. The viewing area would benefit from being at least twice the size.
The final area begins to bring you back to reality as a long tank with waterfalls splitting various sections represents the Thames and shows the familiar chubb, carp and roache to name but a few that we are used to seeing in our own country. Up a final escalator or lift and you exit through the gift shop, as with most UK tourist attractions.
As well as decor through most areas reflecting the natural environment atmospheric music plays throughout the tour. Temperatures also are appropriate to the needs of the creatures on display. The tropical and jungle areas are right next to each other and I found myself taking off both coat and jumper and still feeling a bit woozy. I needed to drink or I think I may well have been at risk of passing out. I noticed several people suffering similarly and heard comments to the effect that it was a shame there was no fresh air available anywhere. I was mightily relieved when shortly after this we arrived in the chilled Antarctic and I immediately felt much better and could put my layers back on. A specific route is followed around the exhibits so if you do feel ill or need to leave quickly you have to follow the whole cicuit. I had lost my bearings completely inside, as it appears that you keep traversing around the two main tanks and coming to them from different heights and angles.
The website advertises special events throughout the day such as talks about the different species and feeding times. Due to the circulatory nature of the event, although some of these should have been happening at times when we were there we never saw any. It must just be pure luck if you're in the right place at the right time. There was no list of times given out on entry and no loud speaker notices and certainly we didn't see anybody trying to back track. Maybe it was just too busy for them to cope with running these extras and at a quiet time there may be far more interactive opportunities.
After spending the morning walking around London, we needed to use the toilets and were disappointed to find that at the entrance there are only two disabled / baby changing toilets, so had to queue for these. The only proper toilet facilities we saw were quite near to the end of the journey around the aquarium, which did seem a bit silly and I can imagine that this would be an inconvenience for quite a few people. These facilities were all clean and in good condition.
The shop is quite large, but I was pleased to find that it is stocked almost exclusively with relevant aquatic materials including some very nice story books for toddlers and colourful reference materials for the older kids.
The Sea Life Centre has a strict no eating and drinking policy; there really is nowhere inside where there is room to picnic, but following on from the shop you enter the rest of the County Hall attractions which includes a McDonalds, if you're starving, as well as an arcade and bowling alley. As we exited into daylight again I was quite amazed to be confronted with Big Ben immediately ahead; the underground life had felt a million miles away from the realities of London.
Quizzes, notices and petitions throughout the centre draw your attention to the real reason that this attraction exists. It states that their roles are to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned sea creatures and return as many as possible to their natural environments, to raise money for conservation projects, such as a Mediterranean Loggerhead turtle project, to breed endangered species, to help visitors to be aware of marine conservation issues and to campaign and petition governments e.g to ban whaling and reduce by catch. Children's awareness will surely have been well raised after seeing vivid posters and quizzes and I'm sure they'll all know of the risks that carrier bags pose to fish who mistake them for food. I was pleased to be able to sign a couple of pertinent petitions during the visit.
I have mixed feelings about this attraction, part of me knows that its purpose is to raise funds for the conservation of sea life in its natural environment and to educate the general public about the importance of looking after the sea environment but part of me feels as though the creatures here are too confined within their tanks. It is stated though that none of the sealife have been removed from their natural environment to be on display.
We did have a good 2.5 hours in the aquarium and I feel that at a quieter time I would have spent far longer just gazing at the fish and reading notices. I would still recommend it despite the reservations that I have expressed in this review as there is so much to see. If you expreinece claustrophobia or worry excessively about being below ground and the potential safety issues that this could pose, I would definitely avoid this attraction. I feel that the prices are way higher than what I would be prepared for an afternoon only visit and although I appreciate that it has been expensive to salvage this historic river side building and create a tourist attraction and that much of the money is used for good causes, I just could not justify the outlay. With a combined pass it becomes far more acceptable.
Read the complete review
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Twycross Zoo also calls itself "The World Primate Centre, which should give you a very good idea what they are specialised in. We visited them during the summer holidays as part of an offer of the Leicestershire County, which combined a hotel stay and admission to 3 out of 5 participating local attractions. Getting ... there:
The zoo is located along the A444, just outside the village Twycross. It is well signed out and offers ample parking facilities. If you do not have your own transport you'll have to find your way to either Nuneaton or Ashby de la Zouch from where you can take a bus that will deliver you directly to the entrance.
For us it was easy as we had the pre-paid ticket from the offer, which meant no queuing up at all ! They seem to expect to get really busy as the line they have available is a very long and winding one. It was fairly busy when we arrived and we had to park our car a loooong way from the entrance but they seemed to cope very well and there really wasn't a long queue at all.
You can book your ticket over their website if you want to avoid queuing.
I'm not going to bore you now by adding all the admission fees, if you are interested visiting you can find them on their website at http://www.twycrosszoo.or g/buy-tickets.aspx.
To reach the entrance or payment booth you will have to pass from their visitor centre which houses their huge shop and a food court. The food court looked interesting and seemed to offer a large variety of dishes from all around the world at reasonable prices. However cheap and lovely the food smelled, we'd arrived directly from the breakfast buffet of our hotel and weren't hungry, so didn't eat here. The kids were keen to get into the zoo, so we managed to ignore the shop also (not on the way out though!) and only paid a quick visit to the toilet before making our way to the gate.
The ladies' room was clean and there was no shortage of toilet tissue or soap. The décor might not be to everyone's taste as there is an ant colony on display somewhere in between the hand wash basins and the mirrors, which is probably the strangest place to encounter them I imagine. It took a lot of persuasion to get my daughter, who hates creepy crawlies, to wash her hands here.
We were handed a map at the entrance and found out that there are 4 different set "trails you can follow, each named after a different animal: Gorilla, penguin, elephant and rabbit .
Gorilla: Will lead you to all the apes in the zoo and end at the enclosure of the gorillas.
Penguin: On this trail you'll meet the smaller monkeys, merkats, sea lions, and eventually the penguins.
Elephant: You'll pass from the giraffes, the Uda Walawe elephant walkway and the Mary Brancker waterways and end at the Borneo Longhouse.
Rabbit: This will lead you to the more local animals and pets, some of which you can touch, and a small funfair.
Our family is totally without any discipline and we just wandered off - and only consulted the map after we managed to arrive at the same spot the third time. If running in circles is not your thing and you like to follow a set itinerary you'll probably love the trails, and might not even find it inconvenient that only two of the four are actually an extension of the other, while for the other two you will have to make your way back to the entrance each time to start. However way you decide to explore the zoo the map surely comes handy to ensure you haven't missed anything.
As mentioned before, Twycross is a primate centre. This does not mean that they only have primates, but they do dominate and the majority of their animals are monkeys of all sizes. We love them and had fun watching them, at some enclosures we spend ages because they were just so entertaining.
They have more than 1000 animals and there is a wonderful selection from all around the world, including the ever-so-cute merkats, Chimpanzees, camels, elephants, deers, hyenas, a large variety of birds, ...
One of their stars is a snow leopard who's given birth to two adorable cubs in May 2011. Of course we were dying to see them but sadly had no luck. Both times we visited the Himalaya enclosure neither the mummy nor her babies were anywhere to be seen.
We had more luck with the gorillas, which also had a baby not long before our visit, and managed to get a very good and long look at the proud mum and dad and their little one.
One of the highlights of the day were the themed areas which are not to be missed. We loved the Borneo Longhouse and the Sri Lankan themed elephant walkway, both are superbly designed and offer so much to explore !.
There are several cafes in the park, so when we got hungry we decided to visit the Gorilla Outpost Café. This café is not the most pleasing on the eye spot in the world but neither are the others I fear.
Unlike the really impressive food court in the entrance area the choice of food we found was very limited. Not in the mood for some greasy chips and nuggets or a jacket potato we opted for sandwiches and coffee for us grown-ups and a lunch-box for the kids (sandwich, a small packet with apple slices, some carrot sticks and a small yogurt). The lunch boxes where £3.95 per child, no drinks included, prices for sandwiches start at £2.95. We paid almost £ 20, which clearly is not cheap at all for 4 sandwiches and drinks but sadly common place at attractions like this. Our sandwiches were very nice and generously filled but not enough to fill the husband who moaned that he was still hungry, and would have probably loved to have a slice of cake if there hadn't been so many wasps ! They were everywhere and made eating very uncomfortable.
There are also several play areas, surprisingly the kids didn't ask for playtime so we gave them all a miss. The park must have been good or they'd definitely asked to go on the playground.
The small fun fair offered a variety of carousels for smaller kids, sadly only one of them was open, and a train ride. The later is suitable for all the family. What we did like is that they do not charge you for these rides. They might be a bit dated but from our experience small children don't care about that at all. We've been to so many zoos where they charge you extra for rides, not just rides but generally for the air you breathe, and were more than just pleasantly surprised that the only thing that wasn't included in the entrance at Twycross was the food ! I really wish more attractions did operate like this, instead of charging entrance fees that are bordering on extreme, and then charge for every service and entertainment on the side on top !
Our last stop was the pet area where we met guinea pigs, snakes, rabbits, chicken, sheep and probably the cheekiest donkey I've ever met. A nice way to finish a great day out at a slow pace for feet and minds that were getting really tired and exhausted.
On the way out we had to pass from the shop again, and this time our kids were not distracted a bit, so we went, moaning husband included. We all were impressed by the size of the shop and the choice it offers, and there should be something for every wallet, no matter if you only want to spend a few pennies or totally blow it.
Soft toys, mugs, umbrellas, clothes, a plethora of African/Asian/South American mementos including some beautiful handmade jewellery, stationary, books, - you name it, they have it !
Each of our girls got something small, then a last trip to the loo with the ant colony and our visit was over.
We all had a great day and we were glad to have chosen Twycross as one of the 3 attractions our offer included. I cannot really fault anything in this zoo and we absolutely loved it !
Yes, the food we had was overpriced but I have seen much worse in similar attractions in the UK. We were expecting it to be more expensive than outside and were actually surprised that the sandwiches were of such a good quality, it seems more to be the norm that the quality of the food served in places like this is of extremely low standard, no matter how much they rip you off ! If we'd live somewhere in the area we'd brought our own picnic, they do offer enough tables.
After struggling a bit at the beginning we easily found our way around, even though we did not follow the trails. All the ways are paved and even, so getting around with a wheelchair or push chair shouldn't be a problem. There are enough cafes along the way to offer tired guests a chance for a break and refreshments.
The animal enclosures are all of good sizes and kept very clean and tidy, and the animals seem happy and well looked after. Twycross was founded in the 1960's and some of the enclosures still seem to be the same or at least look a bit dated. Do not get me wrong here, saying this I do not mean that they do not correspondent with modern expectations of size and environment, they are just not so pleasing on the eye, the interior of the cages is modern and animal friendly, I'm just talking about the shell ! The most attractive areas of this zoo are clearly the newer "themed areas which really get your and your children's imagination going !
The range of animals is good, much better than we were expecting from a zoo that markets itself as a specialist in primates. However, we did miss the big cats which they do not have at all.
I have mentioned in the beginning that they had a fairly busy day which was never a problem once inside the park. The people seemed to have spread out well, there was hardly ever a moment where we had to "queue to see an animal, there was hardly any queuing time in the café, and none at all when we visited the toilets.
All toilet facilities were clean although clearly not new and not very appealing, a bit of modernization wouldn't harm.
We did not go to any feeding times but did speak to a few "keepers, whom you can find throughout the park, and the kids did take part in an experience where they could touch skins, horns, spikes and bones of animals from around the world and guess to which animal they belong. They found this a great experience which ranged somewhere in between "weird", "yuk" and "awh"
The value for money you get is great. If we'd had to pay the normal entrance fee it would have cost us £ 44 for a family ticket for 2 adults and up to 2 children this summer. Admittedly, that is not cheap but for a zoo in the UK also not expensive. The good thing is that they really do not charge you extra for anything once you are inside and food is something you can always bring with you. I do hope they will never change this, it really hurts families if there are a lot of attractions within a park that cost extra and having to say "no" all the time is not much fun !
We got our ticket as part of an offer by the Leicestershire County that included a night in a 4-star hotel with breakfast for a family of up to 2 adults and 2 children, and entrance to 3 regional attractions for £99. Next to Twycross we chose Conkers and the National Space Centre, and this must have been the best offer around this year !
If you are interested, the offer is still available this year, although the price has gone up to £109, which is still great value for money:
Offer or not I'd absolutely recommend a visit and wouldn't mind going back at all !
This review has also been posted elsewhere.
Thank you for taking the time and reading it !
Read the complete review
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 01253 830830 www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk 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
Read the complete review
England Theme Park / Zoo National
Address: Longdown / Theme Park / Zoo National / Ashurst / Near Southampton / Hampshire SO40 7EH - Live the life of a farmer for a day! You will have the opportunity to do a variety of chores, such as cleaning out the pig styes, feeding the calves and goat kids, grooming the ponies and lots more.
Address: Ashby Road / Theme Park / Zoo National / Coalville / Leicestershire / LE67 3LN
Theme Park / Zoo National / Several locations in England: Southsea (Portsmouth), Tynemouth on Newcastle's coast (Tyne and Wear) and in Newquay (Cornwall). - Explore the undersea and be amazed by the fantastic sea life and creatures!
Address: South Stowford / Theme Park / Zoo National / Bratton Fleming / Near Barnstaple /North Devon / England
Address: Preston Park / Theme Park / Zoo National / Yarm Road / Stockton-on-tees / TS18 3RH England - Set inside Preston Park Museum is an indoor tropical garden populated by exotic free-flying butterflies complemented by a display of fascinating insects.
Marine Parade / Theme Park / Zoo National / Great Yarmouth / Norfolk / NR30 England / Telephone: 01493 330 631
Address: Horning Road / Theme Park / Zoo National / Hoveton / Wroxham / Norwich / NR12 8JW / Telephone: 01603 783900 - A huge forest filled with wild family outdoor adventure from treehouses, zip wires, marshes and more.
Address: Paultons Park / Theme Park / Zoo National / Ower / Nr Romsey / Hampshire SO51 6AL / Telephone: +44(0)23 8081 4455 - Family leisure park has over 40 rides, entertainments, gardens, museums, play activities, exhibitions, animals and exotic birds.
Theme Park / Zoo National / Amusement park for young children. Lots of playing and learning activities in an imaginative atmosphere!
Address: Sparkwell / Theme Park / Zoo National / Plympton / Plymouth / PL7 5DG / Telephone: 01752 837645
|England Theme Park / Zoo National Recommendations 1 ... 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 back next|
|dooyoo Results 111 - 120 of 155|