Newest Review: ... there was also the option of an activity sheet for younger children. Having visited lots of times before we know our way around but ther... more
A great day at the zoo.
Marwell Wildlife Park (Winchester, Hants)
Member Name: kiss_me2070
Marwell Wildlife Park (Winchester, Hants)
Advantages: great range of animals, good look out points, plenty of information/facts, food and play areas
Disadvantages: needs to be a dry/warm day to visit
= = = = = = =
Marwell is a zoo located in Winchester, Hampshire and gives you chance to get close to the wonders of the natural world and play a big part in helping them. The zoo contains many different animals including Poison Arrow Frogs, Leopards, Meerkats, Giraffe's and many more species. The zoo includes over 170 species of animals to see which is spread over 140 acres of beautiful parkland. The zoo also has play parks, trains, and animal talks and feeds that you can watch. By visiting the zoo you make a contribution to their conservation projects in the UK and Africa. This means that you help to save endangered wildlife for generations to come. There are a range of different places to eat at in the zoo so there is no need to bring your own food, although there are plenty of seating areas if you do bring anything with you. You should allow approximately 4hrs for your visit to the zoo. As soon as you walk through the entrance to the zoo we were given a free park map. There is a nice pond on the left hand side with some carved wooden statues and other statues of animals such as a rhino. There are toilets on the left hand side of the park just after you enter and the first animals to see are the Penguins.
= = = = = =
Some of the animals are in their own special sections and contain look out points where you can get a better view of the animals and their surroundings. I will go into detail about some of the lookout points and the animals below:
* Savannah Tracks - This is a great opportunity to see the cheetah's in their enclosure. The wooden walkway goes above their enclosure where you can see them resting on spots including large boulders and shady areas. This enclosure is suited very well to their natural habitat of the open savannah in Africa. As you follow this walkway it will take you to an undercover viewing platform. It's nice to walk up the wooden walkway to see their enclosure. We spotted 2 Cheetah's, one of which was roaming around for everyone to see and the other one was laying down towards to the back of the enclosure. The viewing platform contained some interesting information about the animals.
* Into Africa - This are contains a wide range of different animals including Porcupines, Colobus Monkeys, Bongo, Buffalo, Lizards, Fish and Giraffes. The main attraction here for me was the Giraffe's where you can go into the Giraffe house to watch them eat. There were at least 4 Giraffe's in here and also a baby giraffe. The Giraffe's aren't always in their house but you can walk around the side and back of the fenced area outside and see the Giraffe's there. It seemed as though on the day we visited that they liked the attention of people taking photos as most of them were outside. The fish and lizards are actually located just behind the Giraffe house and are contained in another small building. This again gives interesting facts and information about the animals in this section.
* African Valley - This area contains animals you would expect to find in the African Valley including Ellipsen waterbuck, Grevy's Zebra and Ostrich. They all roam together in their new habitat which is contained in 20 acres of natural valley field. You can clearly see all the animals in their enclosures and you can also get some fantastic pictures of them as well as you see them roam about.
* Aridlands & Desert Carnivores - This area contains a favourite of mine which is Sand Cats, these are absolutely gorgeous, fluffy animals. These are kept in a glad enclosure but you can clearly see them walking around in their enclosures and climbing on the rocks and tree branches. There is also an inside area where you may see the Cats resting in their house. This area also contains Addax and Dorcas Gazelles.
* Tropical World - This was my boyfriend's favourite part of the zoo and I really enjoyed it too. This is a glass house that gives you a sense of what it is like to be in a tropical rainforest. The glass house is full of stunning and beautiful plants, some tall and others very small. You may even spot some exotic fruit (I didn't on this occasion) growing amongst the flowers. There aren't only plants in here but also beautiful coloured frogs, spiders and lizards (all in their own vivariums). Follow the path through the glass house past the pacu in the pool and the piranhas in their own aquarium. I liked the dwarf crocodile resting in its pool. You can also follow the trail of leaf cutter ants as they collect leaves and take them to their home.
* World of Lemurs - This area contains many different enclosures which different types of Lemurs in. These are beautiful and quite cute looking animals. We saw plenty of these on our visit as we walked around this area taking photographs. You will find a lot of them resting on wooden stands or climbing the ropes in their enclosures.
* Penguin Cove - This is actually the first animal enclosure you will see when entering the zoo as it's on the left hand side. This is a lovely enclosure with rocks and a large pool area where the penguins can swim about. During our visit most of the penguins were standing on the rock area towards the back but there was one penguin swimming about in the water showing off a little as there were lots of people watching him. There is also another viewing area where you can see the penguins swim underwater as well.
* Tiger Junction - This enclosure is very large and it can often be hard to find the Tiger amongst all the bushes and tree's. We managed to spot the Tiger soaking up the sun on one of the high platforms. Unfortunately it was too high so I couldn't get a very good picture.
* Encounter Village - This area contains 3 different types of enclosures/areas for you to enjoy. Cold Blooded Corner has a range of different reptiles including Snakes & Lizards. Me and my boyfriend was looking forwards to this area but there isn't that much in here and it's quite hard to see into some of the glass vivarium's due to the condensation on the glass. There is also a Bird Walk Through enclosure but this was actually closed during our visit. You can choose whether to do the Australian Bushwalk which is a small grassed area where you call through the Wallaby enclosure whilst they hop around you. There are barriers in this area where you cannot cross.
= = = = = = =
There are 2 children's playgrounds in the park which includes rope bridges, climbing frames, slides, swings and more. There are also picnic tables and areas where you can eat or have a rest whilst the children enjoy playing. There are food and drink kiosks located in different areas on the park. Quite a few of these weren't actually open during our visit apart from the main one which is located next to Encounter Village. There are plenty of toilets in the park. There are manual wheelchairs that you can use during your visit in the park which are free of charge; how-ever they have limited availability on these. There are a number of baby changing facilities around the park and Café Graze has a microwave which you can use to heat up baby food. An information and First Aid Kiosk is located just inside the park entrance. There is a gift shop in the park which sells a range of cuddly toys, games and other items. Prices do vary and I think these items are rather pricey, how-ever all profits are returned back to the charity. An alternative to walking around the park is to get the free road train which goes around the park. You can also get a tractor ride as well around some areas of the park.
= = = = = = = =
I have been to the park twice now in the past 2 years and both times have enjoyed my visit's here. I love going to zoo's anyway so enjoy seeing the animals in their enclosures and learning about them. As there are lots of enclosures this does require a fair bit of walking which I think is why they tell you to allow 4 hours for your visit. When we visited the park we didn't have any children so we were able to complete our visit within about 2 hours or just over. As we visited the zoo during half term week it was of course busy, how-ever there was plenty of room to see into the enclosures. In terms of value I think the price is very reasonable for the range of animals and facilities in the park. Most of the areas are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, although there can be some uneven surfaces around the park. We chose not to eat during our visit here so I can't comment on the range of food or the price of the food here. The play areas for the children are quite big and will keep them entertained for a good amount of time whilst you have a rest or something to eat. I didn't watch any of the staff feeding the animals; how-ever I can imagine this gets rather busy. You definitely need a dry/warm day to visit the park as none of it is undercover and some areas can get a little muddy. Overall the park is very beautiful and has a great range of animals in. As I have already visited the park twice in the past 2 years I wouldn't go again for a good few years. I would recommend the zoo to others to visit.
= = = = = = = = =
Marwell is open every day apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Opening/Closing times may very during different times of the years but a full list of these can be found on the Marwell website along with ticket prices.
Adult Ticket Price without Donation - £12.72 (£14.00 with donation)
Child Tickets Price 3-16yrs without Donation - £9.99 (£11.00 with donation)
They also do family tickets and senior/student tickets as well. If you book all your tickets online you can save some money.
Marwell Zoo, Colden Common, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1JH
Tel: 01962 777407
(review also on ciao)
Summary: Marwell Zoo, Winchester, Hampshire.