Newest Review: ... about the animals etc there is one big disadvantage to visiting Exmoor Zoo with young children - the toilets. There are 2 sets of to... more
Nice day out for everyone
Exmoor Zoo (North Devon)
Member Name: lyndsey1989
Exmoor Zoo (North Devon)
Advantages: Animals are well looked after, lots to see
Disadvantages: Some staff are rude
We were looking for places to visit when we booked our recent trip to Devon. As our clubcard vouchers were piling up we decided to take a look at the Clubcard Deals website and see where we could visit near the holiday park in Devon. Two places came up - Exmoor Zoo and The Big Sheep. We visited The Big Sheep in October during our last holiday and although we loved it (see review!) we thought we would try the zoo instead.
We set off from the holiday park (Bideford) at around quarter to ten, we knew that it would take around 45 minutes and wanted to get there relatively earlier. Because there were 8 of us in total we needed to take two cars. Both me and my boyfriend took our sat nav's so typed in the postcode of the zoo. This is when we hit our first problem - the sat nav's (despite being exactly the same!) were taking us different places. We decided that I would lead the way as my distance was slightly shorter. Luckily it got us there, however it did take us through numerous housing estates and I was beginning to get a bit worried!
When we arrived, the zoo was set back off of the road down a small lane, the car park was of a decent size and from the car park you had a good view of the lemurs which the kids enjoyed watching while we got everything out of the cars. The entrance is easy to see from the car park and we went straight to the counter as nobody else was there. The woman who served us was quite rude, I told her I had vouchers and she said I couldn't use them with a family ticket, so I said that was fine and asked for a 2 children, a student and an adult. She said I couldn't use it with a student ticket so I politely suggested that we could redeem the vouchers against the childrens tickets and then I would pay for the student separately. She sighed and implied she couldn't do this, then told me the total price I needed to pay on top of the vouchers so I handed over the cash and then she handed back £1 saying that was for the student ticket. I thanked her and she gave us a map of the park, telling us about feeding times etc. We then went to leave and I thanked her again, as did my boyfriend and his brother yet she did not reply.
So first of all we went through to the reptile house, there was a fair bit to see here including frogs, lizards and snakes. The children all found this really interesting and we spent a good ten minutes in here. We then left the house and went outside where we saw the bird avaries. There was again a fair bit to see here and the children all found this interesting. There was also a few monkeys here which were very entertaining as they came right up to the glass and followed the childrens hands etc, we got some lovely pictures here and enjoyed standing watching the monkeys for a few minutes.
Next was the meerkat enclosure. Since the popular TV advert I think that meerkats are a firm favourite with everyone, well they were with our group anyway! I really liked the meerkat enclosure as it had viewing points both outside and inside which a lot of zoo's don't have. This meant that even when the meerkats went inside the children could still watch them. We were very pleased to see that there were a few baby meerkats which were lovely to watch!
We then abandoned the route we were following around the zoo to get to the otters in time for their feed! We were keen to see the otters being fed as when we have visited zoo's or aquariums previously we have often found it difficult to see the otters. As it was a few members of our party's first time at the zoo we were keen for them to see the otters. The otters were very entertaining and the man that did the talk was very funny, had a lot of information about the otters, knew them personally and was keen to answer any questions from the audience.
We then saw the armadillo named Pedro who provided entertainment for a good 5 minutes. The children found him very amusing as none of them had seen an armadillo before and they were amazed by his appearance. He appeared to be very busy going about his daily business and was very cute!
Next we went to see the monkeys. There were so many different breeds of monkeys the children were amazed! Despite there being a lot of the same sort of thing, the monkeys kept the childrens attentions for nearly half an hour and they didn't want to move on to the next thing! Some of the monkeys were inside and some were outside which meant there were lots of different monkeys to look at. As always, the monkeys provided a lot of entertainment and were very funny and interesting to watch.
We then went to see the famous 'Exmoor Beast', a female black leopard called Ebony. She was very beautiful and we could see her quite well. She wasn't very active and instead was led down resting. However, if you do want to see her being more active it is worth noting that there is an opportunity to attend a talk about her which I imagine would be very interesting.
The children then wanted to go to the play park so we went there. There was lots for the children to do in the park including trampolines and slides. The children stayed in here for nearly an hour so it was obviously popular! While we were in the park there was a talk about the alpaca's and at the end the children got a chance to stroke them and meet them which the younger children absolutely loved! We got some lovely pictures of them with the alpacas. Next to the park there was also a reindeer who was looking very sorry for himself with only one antler!
We then went to see the skunks and some more birds. These included parrots and owls which the children found interesting. Opposite these was the lake where there was lots to see including pelicans, penguins and ducks. There were also a few peacocks wandering about!
We then went to the back of the zoo where the cheetahs are. There is a viewing platform which allowed us to get a good look at them which the children found very interesting. Also here are birds, dear, rhea and storks. The wallabys are also located here. When we went they were doing a session on meeting the wallabies which the children loved, especially as they would feed out of their hands!
We then decided to leave the zoo, although we could have walked around again the children wanted to get back to go swimming! We spent around 4 hours here but we could have been here a lot longer.
There is a cafe on site, however we did not eat here so I cannot comment on the prices or quality of the food. We did use the toilets and although there are two toilets they are both located at the entrance of the park so do make sure young children go before you get too far into the zoo! The toilets were clean and there was plenty of soap etc. We did visit the gift shop before we left and there was lots in here including soft toys, toys, stationary, fridge magnets etc. The prices were reasonable and there was something for everyone.
The animals enclosures are all of a decent size and I had no concern for the animals welfare whatsoever. They all appeared to be content and all had plenty of food etc. The staff were mostly polite and friendly.
We enjoyed our day at the zoo and the children continued to talk about it for the rest of the day. We would visit again as it represents good value for money and it is something that the whole family can enjoy.
The contact details of the zoo are as follows:
EXMOOR ZOOLOGICAL PARK
South Stowford, Bratton Fleming
North Devon, EX31 4SG
Telephone: 01598 763352
The parks opening times depend upon the season and are currently 10am-5pm but this can be reduced to 10am-4pm in winter or extended to 10am-6pm in summer.
Again, prices vary dependent upon the season but prices for the summer season are as follows:
Family (2+2) £29.50
I would recommend visiting the zoo if you are in the area as there is lots to see, the animals are well looked after and it can be a fun day out for all!
Summary: Nice place to visit
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