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Not just for kids.
Member Name: masterreviewer
Advantages: Easy to get to, loads of different species many of which you can get up close to.
Disadvantages: Some of the animals are in very confined spaces
We drove to ZSL and parked for £12.50 all day which for Central London, isn't that bad at all! You can get here easily by public transport though.
We had booked our tickets online and I would recommend everyone do this, you go to the gate marked 'internet bookings' and totally bypass the huge queues. The tickets cost £19.80 peak time for adults-not £9 as under the description above. This is inclusive of a £1.80 donation which you can opt out of. Child tickets are a few pounds less.
The zoo is open from 10am-5.30pm and stays open until 6pm on most bank holidays. Even though it does get very busy, the crowds disperse once inside so you do have plenty of time to see everything.
Make a note of the feeding times and show times. Unfortunately, most of the animals get fed at the same time so decide which ones interest you most beforehand otherwise you'll end up missing them all!
There are a few 'exhibits' newest of all being the Rainforest. You can walk through and see exotic birds, monkeys and sloths up close. My favourite is still the nocturnal animals (these are in the same area as the rainforest exhibit) here you'll see bats, rats and other animals that like the dark! Another great addition is the butterfly house. It's a huge inflatable catterpillar which keeps the inside really hot, and you walk through with 100's of beautiful butterflies flying around you.
Dont miss the Bug house where you can see red ants migrating from one perspex box to another via rope carrying leaves for their nest. You can also get up close and personal with spiders, cockroaches, beetles and other creepy crawlies.
There is a petting zoo within the zoo where you can stroke donkeys, llamas, pigs, and sheep-there are sinks and soap so dont forget to wash your hands afterwards!
There are so many different types of animals, many have great spaces to roam around but it does seem like more money has been spent on the more 'interesting' ones. If you go to the bird aviary, look over to the right hand side and you'll see a row of cages which house owls and other birds. These cages are really small, there isn't even enough room for them to fly. I know space is an issue in London but this was quite shocking. I know that the zoo does a lot of conservation work and relies heavily on donations so hopefully their constant renovation work will soon include these poor birds. Other than that, the animals seem very happy and extremelly well looked after.
Bring a packed lunch if you can, the food is very pricey. A hot dog costs £3.95, (it looks really nice though!) and a bottle of drink (pepsi etc) will set you back £1.20.
If there is a specific animal you really want to see but when you get to the enclosure it is asleep or nowhere to be seen, make a note of the feeding time and go back there about 20 mins beforehand. They'll know they are getting fed soon and will usually be really active. That way you'll get a good look before the crowds arrive to watch them being fed!
You cant leave and re-enter so make sure you have everything you'll need for your day out.
Don't be fooled and think you wont need a whole day here. There is plenty to keep you occupied and if you only set aside a few hours, you'll be dissapointed.
I would definately go again and would reccomend everyone go, children or not. You will learn loads, see loads and generally have a great day rain or shine.
Summary: an overall great day out.
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