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
Lovely day out for your little monkeys!
Exmoor Zoo (North Devon)
Member Name: SallsMumof2
Exmoor Zoo (North Devon)
Advantages: Small, friendly & more 'intimate' than most zoos, great talks, reasonable entrance prices
Disadvantages: Lack of toilets, no large zoo animals
Having just returned from a weeks holiday in North Devon, I thought I would review a couple of days out we had whilst there and Exmoor Zoo was our first trip.
Being the voucher/money savvy person that I am, we often use a combination of our National Trust membership and Tesco Clubcard vouchers to go sightseeing when away on holiday in the UK. So, when we were planning our week away, I was straight on the Tesco website to see where our vouchers could take us this time.
We stayed near Coombe Martin and were only approximately 15 minutes drive from the Zoo. My husband's Tom Tom sat nav had no problems finding it, but the Zoo is also signposted (with brown attraction signs) from the main road, so is relatively easy to find. We parked in the main car park and there is additional overflow carparking clearly signposted and a short walk from the main entrance if the car park is full.
We arrived approximately 11am and as it wasn't a school holiday, there werent any queues and we went straight to the desk. The lady accepted the vouchers without any problems, stating that it was a very popular way for people to pay and almost half of their trade was via clubcard vouchers (good old Tesco!). She handed us a map and feeding guide pointing out the popular animals and feeding sessions.
Before I wax lyrical about the animals etc there is one big disadvantage to visiting Exmoor Zoo with young children - the toilets. There are 2 sets of toilets, one either side of the main entrance/reception and thats it. As the Zoo is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, it does not have mains drainage. They do make the toilet situation clear and are apologetic about it, but when you have a 3 year old who drinks enough to float a boat, the regular walks from one end of the zoo to the other can be a bit of a trek and a trial!
So, onto the main details . . . Exmoor Zoo is a small and friendly Zoo with mainly small animals. There are a variety of Monkeys, Lemurs, Meerkats, Otters, Deer, Panther, Cheetah, Penguins and many different birds to name but a few. There were chickens, guineafowl and peacocks loose and roaming around the Zoo when we visited which was nice and the whole atmosphere felt more 'intimate' than alot of Zoo/Animal parks we had been to previously. There aren't any of the traditional large Zoo animals here (Giraffe, Rhino, Lions, Elephants etc) but that wasn't a concern for us or our children as there was plenty to look at and do to fill a whole day regardless.
We attended a few of the feeding and talk sessions which were great (Lemur, Snake, Meerkat and Penguins). The keepers appeared knowledgeable and genuinely caring about the animals in their care and the talks were both informative and exciting enough to keep most children's attention. Quite a few of the larger animal enclosures (deer, big cats etc) were left very natural with long grasses and shaded areas, which although made it more difficult to see the animals, was better for their welfare and again made the Zoo feel more 'natural' than a concrete jungle.
As well as all the different animals, talks and hands on experiences, there is a large playground area with swings, climbing frames and trampolines which is very handly placed adjacent to a covered picnic area and close to the toilets. There is also a small cafe/restaurant and gift shop near the main entrance and toilets. We didn't purchase any food, but had a great cup of tea and the prices of the gifts weren't over inflated. Our eldest daughter picked up a rubber snake and iguana for £2.75 for the 2, so quite reasonable I thought.
The Zoo is open all year round and it's opening times are:
March 31st to May 4th 10am to 5pm (or dusk)
May 5th to September 15th 10am to 6pm
September 16th to November 2nd 10am to 5pm (or dusk)
November 3rd to March 30th 10am to 4pm (or dusk)
and the last entry is 1 hour before closing
The entrance costs are:
Summer 2011 Winter 2011-12
Adults £10.00 £9.00
Children (3-15) £7.50 £6.50
Concessions £1.00 off £1.00 off
Under 3 Free Free
You can also purchase a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children for £32.50 (summer) and £28.50 (winter) as well as an annual membership.
Even though we used our Clubcard vouchers and didn't actually pay to get in, I still think the prices represent good value for money for a full day out.
The Zoo has a good website and you can download a map as well as get any further contact or other details you would require on www.exmoorzoo.co.uk
We did spend the whole day there leaving at around 5pm and we all had a great day. My daughter was very excited about the meerkats, lemurs and otters and my husband greatly enjoyed taking some lovely photos of the otters and other animals with his new camera. I would thoroughly recommend this as a great family day out and have no doubt we will be visiting again when we are next in North Devon. I want to give it 4.5 stars really as the only negative is the toilets and it seems a bit churlish to mark it down a whole point just for that, so I will give it 5 stars as it was an excellent day out.
Summary: Excellent family day out to a small and friendly zoo