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A Wonderful Little Zoo With Far More to Offer Than Meets the Eye
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife (Essex)
Member Name: Mask_and_Mirror
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife (Essex)
Date: 08/08/09, updated on 08/08/09 (167 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonably Priced, Lots to see, Everything is well looked after
Disadvantages: Usually going to be full of children!
I was visiting some friends in London over the weekend, and we decided to try to find a relatively local attraction that wouldn't require us to head into central London (always expensive and stressful, and we'd seen most of it before!). A quick internet search turned up Tropical Wings. The website was not massively promising, but it was fairly closeby so we decided to give it a try.
It was easy to find by car, and although the outside looked a little unkempt we were extremely impressed by the experience. It costs £7.75 for an adult ticket (£4.75 for a child), which I think is remarkably cheap considering the zoo is unexpectedly large. If we had gone into London, we would have spend almost that much on transport alone.
The first main area of the zoo is the butterfly house, supposedly one of the largest in the country. It is beautiful and well kept, and the butterflies are healthy and active. They are also relatively used to the presence of humans so they are easy to observe and photograph. One of my friends commented that this area alone was worth the entry fee. There are also small birds, koi carp and iguanas here.
On exiting this room (enjoy the feeling of the cool air hitting you as you leave this tropical heated area!) you will find yourself in the main part of the zoo. There are a surprisingly large amount of birds of different species here, many of which have learnt to talk or laugh from contact with passers-by. There are also some large tortoises, lemurs and marmosets.
Further into the zoo there are birds of prey, goats, meerkats, otters, rabbits, guinea pigs, degus and chipmunks. There is also a remarkable large area in which wallabies roam free and can be stroked.
One drawback of having so much in such a small area (although I must say that all the animals have more than enough space, which is wonderful) is that it is very easy to miss things. There is no one prescribed path around the grounds, so you can find yourself having walked in a circle, or missing out on seeing a few animals by missing a particular path.
At the time when we visited, the car park was very full, but they have substantial overflow facilities. The zoo itself was not overcrowded, but the presence of so many children was somewhat annoying. Having said that, this is a great place to take well-behaved children to learn about animals and see some beautiful examples. The zoo does have a tea-room (we did not sample this; it didn't look particularly inviting and I would rarely eat at a place like this anyway as they are generally overpriced and poor) and adequate toilet facilities. There is also a small zoo shop as well as a farm shop next door where local produce can be bought.
I fully intend to visit Tropical Wings again (though probably during school hours to avoid the crowds!). It is a beautiful, well kept little zoo that provided far more than I expected for a very reasonable price. For a 'small' zoo there is a lot to see, and I would recommend it to anyone with a love of animals or with (well-behaved!) children.
Summary: The best attraction of it's kind that I've visited; I can't reccomend it enough.
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