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Whipsnade Wild Animal Park (Bedfordshire)

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Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is one of Europe's largest wildlife conservation parks. Located in Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LF
Telephone: 01582 872171. Fax: 01582 872649
For up to the minute information, telephone 0990 200 123

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    16 Reviews
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    • More +
      07.08.2011 20:47
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      A full family day out!

      On our recent visit down south to my father's house we decided that as the weather was brilliant we were going to take a trip to a zoo or safari park.
      After researching the available options we settled on ZSL Whipsnade.
      We visited the zoo during the 80th birthday celebrations, hence why I'm including the zoo's history in my review.

      ***HISTORY OF THE ZOO***
      ZSL Whipsnade zoo was founded in 1931 by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, and over the next decade the animal collection was added too including the whole livestock collection from the 'Bostock and Wombwell Travelling Menagerie', and also donations from the Duke of Bedford.
      Over the last 80 years a lot of important things have happened at the zoo for example during the 2nd world war the animals from the ZSL London zoo were transported to Whipsnade to protect them from the German bomb attacks, and also the 1st white rhino born and bred in captivity was born there in the 1970's.
      The main basis of the zoo centre around conservation of not only animals but also their habitats, the zoo not only promotes conservation from around the world but also here in the UK.

      ***GETTING THERE***
      The zoo is located near Luton and Dunstable on the M25; there are also good train and bus links to the zoo (which give discounts on entry fees)

      ***GENERAL INFO***
      The zoo is open daily from 10AM and varies in closings time depending on the time of year.

      There is a large car-park with direct entry (via underground tunnel) to the main gate parking cost's £4 per car.
      OR
      If you are visiting the zoo and doing the safari trail with your car this cost's £17 per car.

      The park is fully disability adapted with many slopes rails etc ALTHOUGH disabled visitors CANNOT use the free bus service (an old London double decker) as it cannot accommodate wheelchairs, we were asked to fold away all buggies from the journey.

      ***TICKETS***
      At this point I would sit down!!!! As we went in peak season the tickets cost around £1 more than off- peak tariffs. We paid (hold on!) £99 for 2 adults, 1 disabled adult, and 2 children ( the 3 under 3's and my brother's carer were free), the car park and a guide book (£4), to be honest I thought this was a terribly high amount to pay, having been to other zoo a lot around the country and have not paid near this before.
      With the guide book you are given a large map of the zoo, some children's workbooks and as it was the 80th celebrations there were little fact guides and show times booklet too.

      Upon queuing you are asked if you would like a photo of you party taken against a white screen, these photos are available to buy at the exit of the park. I did think this was a great idea as it gives to a real memento of the day. Upon leaving we found the photo and were charged the grand sum of £20 from it although it did include 2 x 8x10 pictures, 3x 6x4 pictures 2x key-rings and a CDROM, each photo had had a background of animals and jungle etc morphed onto them. A great touch but really just another way to get money out of you.

      Once through the ticket booths you enter the main square with the main shop, and also different stalls selling snacks, drinks etc, this is also the first stop where you can get the free bus tour, which we decided to do first.

      The bus service is free and visit's some of the major attractions such as the Tiger's and the Fun Park/ train and get off and resume at another point/time etc.
      The bus (as mentioned) is a small old fashioned double decker, so wheelchairs cannot get on and all buggies mush be put down....not easy with 5 children ranging from 8 years to 6 months!!! I was disappointed though as there was no commentary through speakers on the bus and the driver was too busy on his phone (at one point) to answer some one's question. Overall though the bus journey gave the children some excitement and they seemed to really enjoy that part of the day.

      ***SHOPS AND CAFÉ'S***
      In all my wisdom I had decided we would go on what later seemed to be the hottest .day the year, so we were constantly on the look out for refreshments and/or café's etc, there were plenty of these dotted around as apart from the one's in the main square there are also 3 main café's the 'wild bite café' these include BBQ's, the 'lookout café' with views of the downs and the famous Whipsnade lion and lastly the 'mount whipsawed' which is only accessible by car. There are however lots of little huts dotted around with vending machines containing snacks and drinks; we used the main shop for drinks which was very expensive and ONLY took cash and also the lookout café which we all found very good value for money, managing to feed 4 adults and 4 children for around £20.
      There are 3 gift shops dotted around ('Africa outpost', 'main store' and the 'Jumbo express' store) each selling the usual type of souvenirs such as cups, pencil cases and toy animals, and while I didn't find them too over priced they weren't cheap either. I did though like the idea of them asking to to buy a reusable bag instead of a plastic one.

      We had been dropped off by the bus at the tiger enclosure (of which none were visible) as there is a huge play park with bouncy castle's, this also contains the shop and toilets and as it was so hot that day there were also various 'pop up' vendors selling ice cream. The play park itself is well kept with lots of benches and picnic table's (this is where we decided to have our 'snack'. It was at this point we decided to get out the map and plan some more it was then we realised............

      ***THE BAD BIT***
      One point I was very un-impressed with was the fact that even though you pay such I high entrance fee- unless you use all forms of transport (walking, the free bus AND the chargeable train) you wont see all the animals, they have arranged to so some animals can only be seen via the bus and others via the train and others via just walking! I found this very bad form as I didn't seem to find it fair that to see the elephants(most popular animals in zoo) properly and the rare species of deer you HAD you take the train which cost £3.50 per adult (kid's free) NO CONCESSION'S! This journey lasted around 15 mins so not bad money for value but still rather cheeky in my opinion. Like wise though to see the meerkats you HAD to go via foot or they couldn't be seen as they were nestled away between larger more popular exhibits.

      Among our favourite exhibit's was the discovery centre containing the dreaded creepy crawlies (or as my 4 year old excitedly screamed at the top of his lungs 'MINY BEAST'S') and crocodiles, each situated in separate 'climates' such as the rainforest's and the desert's. We did find this section though slightly on the small side and have definitely been to bigger insect houses at other zoos.
      Attached to the discovery centre is an activity room where, for a small fee, you can make badges and dress up etc, this is also the area where function such as wedding are held.

      ***80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS***
      This year the Whipsnade has been open for 80 years and to celebrate the zoo have put on some special attractions around the park, each week the zoo will focus on a different animal and have lots of activities based around them, we were so lucky that when we went it was Cheetah week and lot's of special things were happening at 'Cheetah rock'. The talks are held once a day and we found it super busy and slightly over powering although our group really enjoyed meeting the big cats!!!

      ***NON CELEBRATION EVENTS***
      When purchasing the tickets we were given a booklet with the times and places of the live talks and shows, most of which we attended. Just after arriving came the first 2 talks in the space of an hour so we did feel pretty rushed although the animals in questions weren't to far away from one another. Of course it did seem as though some talks (Tigers) were more popular than others (warthog) so I did enjoy the quieter ones more although the animal I wanted to see (the Wolf) staying in hiding.
      These events are on every day the zoo is open and some have morning and evening talks so you shouldn't miss any. One I would highly recommend are the Sea Lion's, there are amazing and after the show they sometimes come up to say hello, they also have an underwater viewing tunnel for this show.

      Overall we had an amazing time at the zoo and would thoroughly recommend a visit if you're in the area, yes it is expensive and the do everything they can to get more out of you BUT it is going to the animals so I shouldn't complain. The animals seemed well cared for and not distressed and gave neither me nor my party any cause for concern.
      The shops and cafes overall were slightly over the top in terms of cost but I expected no different. We ended up staying from 10AM until around 5:30PM so it was a full day out and overall it did seem value for money. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and to me that is money well spent, although I am in two minds as too whether I would pay that again.

      I am awarding the zoo 5 stars though as like i said the animals are cared for well and the park and amenities are in good order :)

      In the end I bought the photo pack too....................

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      • More +
        12.04.2011 16:24
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        a good day out for kids and adults

        I'm going to start this review by asking you to do a little work, nothing too taxing so don't worry! I want you to picture a zoo, really imagine what you think of a zoo to be like.

        Now, if you're anything like me you'll have pictured an area with animals all behind bars, your view of them obscured by glass, chicken wire or something else to prevent you getting a good look at the animals. The zoo itself won't be too big, sure there's plenty of room for the animals but nothing really else except possibly a café or two where you can pick up a snack. Now forget that whole image! Whipsnade is a zoo in a league of it's own and I'm about to tell you why. First things first though..


        Getting There
        ~~~~~~~~

        Whipsnade is a Zoo in Bedfordshire, Dunstable to be precise. The postcode, for those of you with sat navs, is LU6 2LF. It is also very helpfully clearly signposted from all major roads and junctions 9 and 12 of the M1, by road signs with a picture of an elephant.

        There are also buses (X31 every day except Sunday and 161 or 60 on Sundays and public holidays) from Luton and it's a 20minute taxi journey from Luton and Hemel Hempstead train stations. Whilst this does seem a lot more hassle then just going by car it does entitle you to discounted entry. More on this later.


        Entry Prices
        ~~~~~~~

        Unfortunately, like all zoo's now, this isn't cheap to get into!

        The prices vary depending on what time of year you go. Unfortunately I can't see the prices after July 2011 as these are not listed on their site. However, the most you can expect to pay for entry between now (April 2011) and 31st July are:

        Adult - £19.50
        Child - £15.00
        Concessions - £18.00

        Or, if you buy online an online saver is available. This entitles either two adults and two children or one adult and three children entry for 10% less then the price at the gate.

        These prices include a £1.80 donation towards to zoo's conservation work. However if you'd rather not pay this you can request to have it removed and this will not affect your right of entry or anything else. It is a voluntary donation but automatically added on unless you request it to be removed.

        Disabled adults or children are entitled to free entry for a carer.

        If you go by bus or train there is a voucher that can be printed off (http://www.intalink.org.uk/default.asp?contentID=657) that will allow 2 for 1 entry when presented with your bus or train ticket. It also allows you to save on the car parking prices.


        If you do choose to go by car you have two choices: park your car in the car park. In which there are plenty of spaces and will cost you £4.00 a day; or take your car into the Zoo which costs £17.00 on top of admission but allows you to see more then you would have without your car.

        Those of you with a Blue Badge can either get free parking (there are allocated disabled places in the 'lion' area of the car park) or free car admission to the park.

        The opening time is always 10, closure is between half four and six depending on what time of year you go. Last admission is one hour before closing and the park is open 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day).


        Enough Already.. What About Inside?
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        We arrived at 12 and didn't even see half of it so I would highly recommend you get there as it opens to make the most of your day. However, this gives you an idea of the amount of animals there and gives you a good idea of the fact that I would be here for the rest of time if I tried to let you know about the animals I did see, never mind all those I didn't!

        As you enter the zoo you will be given a map of the zoo, even with this we managed to get confused so I would highly recommend making use of this! It also tells you the times of all talks and demonstrations available. These may vary but on the day we went they were:

        * Lemur Breakfast: Since this is a breakfast it is early (10.45) we got to the lemur enclosure soon after entry so around 12:30 and there wasn't a lemur in sight! So I would recommend going to this if you want to see these wonderful animals.

        * Birds of the World: There are three demonstrations a day. These are the typical birds of prey demonstrations you imagine including bald eagles, hawks and macaws (not a bird of prey I know). These birds are all doing things they are trained to do that usually imitate behaviours they would do naturally in the wild and all birds are flying free from chains, ropes etc.

        * Bear Brunch Brain Tease: Again, as it's brunch it's early (11:45) so we missed it but it's advertised as an 'interactive quiz' and says that you can help feed them. (An explanation on how this is possible without getting eaten(!) later.)

        * Sealion Splash: There are three of these displays a day. In the wild sealions are very active, acrobatic creatures jumping several feet into the air amongst other things. These displays are designed to show off these talents as much as possible and in my opinion is worth the entrance fee in itself!We went back to these wonderful creatures after a display and they still had access to their outside pool and were having fun playing with each other, so don't worry if you do miss these displays as just watching them play amongst themselves was a wonderful experience in itself.

        * Supermarket Sweep: Don't ask me why this is called supermarket sweep! It's a talk about the chimpanzees at the zoo and the problems they face in the wild.

        * Peckish Penguins: Penguin feeding, a keeper talks to you about the penguins and watch them be fed whole fish.

        * Tigerrific Tigers: Pretty self explanatory! This is a talk about the tigers, the conservation work the zoo is doing and how you can get involved with this work. This is an especially interesting talk as you are actually in the enclosure with the tigers.


        Besides all these animals there's also a Children's zoo where the children can get amongst the animals and touch them. There's a range of other animals, some native to here such as otters, llamas etc. Others non-native such as cheetahs and sloth bears.

        The whole zoo is set within 600 acres of the Chiltern hills (information taken from http://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/) which provides some spectacular scenery to stop and just enjoy the views and some wonderful places to stop and have a picnic.

        All the animals looked extremely happy and well cared for, they are actively breeding which is also reassuring as they wouldn't if they weren't happy with their surroundings. There are also certain animals such as Wallabys, Maras and Peacocks running wild around the park. You can get fairly close to these animals considering they are wild. This is also reassuring in regards to how well cared for the animals are because these animals could (in theory) just escape over the hills as there's nothing physical keeping them in the park - yet they choose to stay and breed (the wild wallaby's had babies)

        I mentioned earlier that this zoo is unlike any others that I have been through before but haven't as yet explained why. This is because you are allowed to walk through several enclosures, the tigers and bears being two such enclosures. Usually these animals would be securely behind bars or glass which, whilst it makes sense from a safety point of view, it does prevent you getting a good look at the animals. However it works in this zoo because there are pathways quite a bit above the actual enclosure giving you a good look down on the animals. Obviously since tigers can jump there is still something between you and them but the whole walk through experience provides an experience completely different to any other I had experienced. It's also been very cleverly designed as although there are brick walls on the walkway above the enclosures there's carefully placed plastic (or glass) sections where children in pushchairs or adults in wheelchairs can look down on the animals without having to get in and out all the time.

        As for taking cars in if you can afford this I would highly recommend it. There is a "passage through Asia", a safari that takes you round animals such as Axis deer, Yak's and Hog deer. Since this is a safari you cannot get round it on foot and therefore will miss out on this if you do not take your car in. Also, as mentioned above the zoo encompasses 600 acres. That's a long way to walk! However, there is a whole area inside the road way that circles the zoo that is not accessible by car and so you will have to walk around this but there is plenty of parking inside the zoo gates too so you will have no problem parking inside, walking around the foot paths, then returning to drive around the rest.

        That said, if you don't want the extra expense or hassle of taking your car in but the thought of walking round that far is giving you a heart attack while you read this(!) the zoo has very helpfully thought of this too and provides a free shuttle bus with regular stops around the zoo.


        Refreshments
        ~~~~~~~~

        Don't worry, even with all that exercise you won't get thirsty! There are huts regularly placed around the zoo in which there are hot and cold drinks and snacks available from vending machines.

        There's also two café's which serve drinks, snacks and hot food. I wasn't too impressed with the first one - although it had spectacular views over the hills and into the village below. It had a very limited choice of food; namely fish and chips or nothing! However walking a little way around we found another equally well placed café with tables both inside and out. We chose out as it was a warm day and it had wonderful scenery with flamingos and other animals behind us.

        The food is locally sourced, the meat comes from within 45 miles of the zoo and the fish is marine life certified. Meals are reasonably priced at around £8 to £10 for a full meal, salad bowls available from just under £5. The food is both fresh and well cooked. At this café there was a selection of cooked meals ranging from beef stew and roast dinner (meat varied - I had chicken) and fish and chips. There were plenty of veg included in the meal but a side salad can be purchased if desired. The quality was just as good as I would have expected from any local pub. If you still had room after your main meal there were a wide selection of puddings such as cakes, cookies and donuts.


        We All Like Presents..
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        There is a gift shop by the entrance/exit. There is something for everyone in here including posters, stuffed toys and paint by numbers. Prices are reasonable, unlike most other places. In fact, there's a poster I was particularly interested in that was priced at £5. The producers name was included and I thought I could get it cheaper elsewhere. It's £1 more expensive to buy online then if I had just bought it at the zoo - I guess that's a reason to go back then!


        Other Information
        ~~~~~~~~~~~

        Whipsnade is a part of ZSL and as such is a charity and is actively working to conserve animals in the wild.

        By joining as a member of the zoo you can get unlimited free entry. There are a number of options available for this (single, joint etc.) so I won't go into each one but suffice to say that to make the joining fee worth it you will, on average, need to visit the zoo three times a year.


        So.. Worth A Visit?
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

        That's a resounding yes! I hated zoo's before I visited here. The image I painted at the start of this review should explain why, however this is nothing like that and is well worth a visit. It's an enjoyable day out for both kids and adults alike.

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        • More +
          30.03.2011 19:44

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          Not Bad but Web Site needs work

          I went with my Partner to The Zoo with the intention of seeing the Bird Displays. Alas we found out after we had paid a Fortune to get in that the display was not on!. I feel that the web site for the Zoo should make this very Plain it is a bit misleading it does say that there is Two Shows at 11.30am and 3.30pm. I found that the Zoo seems to be going through a major re-fit but no one seems to be doing any work, a lot of the animal areas were fenced off with diggers etc there but again no one was doing anything. A high point to our experience was the keepers were taking the Elephants for a stroll and they had a baby with them he is about 12 months old and Gorgeous!Anyone thinking of going to the zoo with kiddies it is a long walk and food and drink are expensive there, my advice is take a Picnic!
          So Whipsnade if you read these reviews please please make your web site plainer in respect of whats on and when! and please in these days of price increses on everything look at your charges!!

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        • More +
          19.08.2010 21:05
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          Excellant family day out

          Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable is a fun filled day out for all of the family.

          Entrance is £19.50 for adults, £15.00 for children and £18.00 for any concessions.

          There are a wide range of animals here, my personal favourites being the brown bears and lions. The animals all have large enclosures and all seem very happy. There are various shows and talks on through out the day. These incluse the Sealion show where the sealions show off various tricks such as having races and balancing balls. There are also talks on the bears and penguins, at these talks both specis of animals are fed and children can also throw the fruit down to the bears which is quite exciting. There is also a discovery centre which houses the reptiles, insects and small specis of monkeys such as marmosets.

          The park is enormous so if you have young children a pushchair is a must. When I took my neice she was extremely tired and as we did not take a pushchair my partner had to carry her around most of the day. There is also a bus that stops at various points around the park which is free or you can pay £3.50 to have a ride on the train which does a lap around the park past animals such as the elephants and the childrens farm. You can take your car in but it is expensive to do so and it is so much more fun exploring on foot.

          There are two cafes onsite which serve fairly nice food although it is quite expenisve. There are alot of picnic tables around so you can always bring lunch from home. The toilets were also clean and stationed at various points around the park.

          Overall Whipsnade is a lovely day for all the family and i would definately recomend a visit.

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          • More +
            20.12.2009 20:22
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            A great day out for adults and children alike

            Whipsnade Park


            Safari parks, zoo's, animal parks...a misconception by many that these places appeal only for the younger generation. Not Whipsnade. With its fine animal selection and beautiful grounds all hearts and minds, no matter the age will feel right at home here.

            Of course this is only my opinion, well in writing anyway, though hopefully it will help give you an idea of what this park is like.
            I had been to many zoo's and safari parks in the past, and Whipsnade was one of them. Yes, I was not a newbie at this animal park. My mum had taken me many times when I was young, and since then often visited as it was not too far away from where we lived. A perfect day out for all the family.

            ******Background of Whipsnade******

            Although a lot of people do not care much for the background on such a place as this, a review on Whipsnade would not be the same without a brief background as the park itself. I promise I will be brief!

            Originally the zoo was called Whipsnade Park Zoo, the name changing to Whipsnade Wild Animal Park back in 1988 though in 2007 it once again changed to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after the owners of the park; the Zoological Society of London. This same company owns wider known zoos and animal parks such as London Zoo.

            There are 600 acres of land within this park, set on a hill with a beautiful white lion image on the hill which can be seen from the road below as well as the air (photo added of this). This is one thing that always sticks in my mind when thinking of this park!

            Originally this park was only a derelict farm on Dunstable Downs, not unusual for the time and was brought in 1926 by ZSL. The first animals to come to the park was in 1928 which were two Amherst pheasants, a golden pheasant and five red jungle fowl. Not a great deal to start with, though soon others followed including muntjac, llama, wombats and skunks.

            The zoo first opened to the public in 1931 and proved extremely popular immediately. In 1932 even more animals arrived, some of the bigger animals eve walking all the way from Dunstable station to the park - what a sight that would have been!

            During World War 2, the park acted as a refuge to animals being evacuated from London zoo. Unfortunately bombs fell on the park in the 1940's frightening one baby giraffe to death, though missing most of the park. Some of the ponds still in the park were originally craters left by the bombs.

            So you see, as well as being the park it is now, it has great history which really shapes this strong park.


            ******The Animals******

            There are many animals here at Whipsnade, possibly too many to list all at once, so let me give you a rundown on the most popular animals here.

            *African Lion*
            The lions are possibly one of my favorite animals in this park. Their surroundings are beautiful and the lions themselves are well cared for. We were able to see three or four of these beautiful animals roaming in their vast paddock, one male sitting upon a rock basking in the warm sunshine, which I bet is a luxury for them as England doesn't really get very good summers anymore! We saw the feeding of the lions which was interesting, though crowds made it difficult to grab a good spot and the lions were quite far away from us (we were on foot) at the time, though worth a visit.

            *Asian Elephants*
            Another of my favorite animals and these elephants always seem full of mischief each time we have visited. This last time we went, one of the bigger elephants was being given a wash with a large hose and bucket by a member of staff and decided to take the opportunity to suck water from the bucket in his trunk and throw it over us poor audience. Getting his own back for being watched while having a bath I guess, and I don't blame him, I wouldn't like an audience whilst Im in the bath either!

            *Bactrian Camel*
            Originally from places like China and Mongolia, these camels roam around their paddock not taking too much notice of us gawping at them, though they are worth visiting as they are truly amazing animals.

            * Bald eagle*
            If you have never seen a bald eagle up close then you will not want to miss this. The bald eagle is amazing and powerful and when feeding and flying, as you get to see at certain times, they take your breath away.

            *Wallaby*
            We couldn't really see these small kangaroos the last time we went, though we have seen them before and when you do see them, they make you say just one word; 'awww!'

            *Burmese Python*
            Now my husband stayed well clear of the python and any other snakes as he has a bad phobia, so me and my daughter went in alone. As a 7 month old, she hadn't developed her dads fear, though even looking at this large snake; I felt some of his fear wiped off on me. I certainly wasn't first in line to touch it!

            * Sealions*
            This is a must! Go see the designated shows and you will feel the whole day is worth it in just one animal. Beware, though, if you sit near the front you may get a little wet!

            *Cheetah*
            Another amazing animal that you just have to go see. Renowned for their speed, they are in a large area of ground, though unfortunately we didn't et to see them run.

            *Chimps*
            I love chimps, though not if Im driving around them. Yes, you get closer in the car but sometimes way too close for my liking - I didn't feel like watching them pull apart my car!

            *Hippos*
            They were hard to spot at first, but soon we saw them and were glad we went over there as these are lovely hippos and not too worried about the sight seers. There are two types, not that I could tell the difference; Pygmy and Common.

            *Donkey*
            There are a few of these lovely tame animals in the park and although not classed as exciting as the lions or bears, they are well worth seeing.

            *Emu*
            These animals are always worth seeing. There's just something about them which makes me smile

            *Brown Bear*
            Soft and cuddly yet fierce and dangerous - a lovely combination and seeing these animals a this park is something you don't want to miss

            *Grey Wolf*
            Beautiful animals and this park has many of them. Definitely go see the wolves - you won't be dissapinted!

            *Zebras*
            Ok, so not the most exciting of animals but they complete your day nicely.

            * Penguins*
            We got to see these lovely animals at feeding time and it is the most funniest thing when they try to rush towards their food and slide all over the place. Don't miss feeding time!

            *Red Panda*
            Beautiful animal, though unfortunately we didn't get to see them this time around and I cant remember seeing them before. I think we took too much time around ret of park that we let the day get away from us.

            *Crocodiles*
            We did look for these though I think they must have been around the other side from where we were as we jus couldn't see them. We did see a log floating in the water which shaped like a crocodile though!

            *Lemur*
            A newish enclosure opened in 2007. Walk through only.
            Of course, there are many other animals, but as mentioned above, this review will be too long if I mentioned them all in detail. Keep your eye open for the free-roaming animals around the park though such as Deer, Marmots and Indian Peafowl.


            ******Special Exhibits******

            Some exhibits are mentioned within the animal section, though I felt I wanted to highlight these more as they are well worth seeing.

            *Cheetah Rock African Adventure*
            Since 1991 the Cheetah conservation has been well focused on, complete with in-depth studies on cheetahs. They are linked with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as well as the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)

            The exhibit is a £1million one and well worth visiting. It is along the main pathway from the lions and across the special cheetah crossing with a standing stone to mark your way. When you reach the exhibit you stand in this lovely African style hut with glass floor to ceiling. You also have the chance to get closer to the animals by a rock lookout. When here, the Cheetahs were very close. Obviously this can not be guaranteed as the cheetahs may decide to rest elsewhere on the day you are there.
            There are many information boards with lovely images and easy to read text.

            You are also able to adopt a cheetah, though more about that later.

            *Lions of the Serengeti*
            To get to the lions exhibit you walk down this lovely trail which is decorated out like a traditional Maasai trail with goats roaming around. There were a few staff members dressed up along the way too. The viewing area is like the cheetah area with floor to wall glass and the lions tend to come to a special rock which is places really close by so this is the best way to view these magnificent creatures. This is also the area where you get to see designated feeding of the lions as well as demonstrations.

            Like the cheetahs, you can adopt a lion if you wish (more about that later)

            *Lemur Exhibit*
            If you wish, you may go right up on to the lemur island and get right up close and personal. Although these creatures are not as exciting as the other exhibits, its well worth it even just for the scenery. You walk over a moat on a lovely bridge and follow a pathway right up to a lovely waterfall area and onto a raised platform. There is only a small viewing area, though, so make sure you go when others don't!

            *Chimpnasium*
            This exhibit shows the chimps in a gym type enclosure that goes both indoor and outdoor. There is quite a big viewing area though at busy times it can get quite cramped.

            *Rhinos of Nepal*
            Ever heard of rhinos having the luxuries we would all love to have? Well at this park they do! You can watch them swim in a heated - yes heated - indoor swimming pool! The viewing glass area surrounds this indoor pool as well as the outdoor paddock. You can also go to the maternity part and if you are extremely lucky, see a rhino give birth (or is that unlucky for the squeamish!) We were a little late for the birth of one baby rhino who was a few months old before we arrived there!

            ******Special Events******

            There are quite often special events run at the park, though these are subject to specific dates and change regularly so if you are extremely interested in one in particular, please contact them or view online to see what dates they are available.

            Events include; Sealion shows, (this is one we saw - see above), Birds of the world - a show with eagles, parrots, macaws and other free flying birds, a great show for those who love birds. There are also elephant shows demonstrating training of elephants in specially made arenas, zoo nights which allow you to see the zoo at night only - this I didn't go to but it would be brilliant to see.

            For members there are many other events such as member only night time safari and also mucking out days - really close and personal times! I cant comment on this though as I am not a member.

            ******Grounds******

            The grounds of this park are lovely to walk around. As mentioned above, the first thing you will see is the giant white lion on the hillside. A marvelous sight! As you walk around the park you are met with a mix of serenity and other countries as many padocks are decorated as the country in which the animal comes from, though the walks in between are well kept and beautiful. A perfect mix.

            ******Food and Drink******

            Personally we took our own picnic as buying food and drink from parks such as this can be quite expensive. If you do choose to purchase lunch, there are a few small places around the park selling a range of items. There are also many picnic areas complete with tables and benches dotted around the park, or on summer days you can simply sit on the well kept grass areas.

            ******Gift Shops******

            There are many gift shops around the park, all at the average prices for parks like this. You can buy a whole range of things, though if you have young children expect them to want more and more! You can buy memorabilia from each of the main animals, special vouches such as keeper for the day (see below), adopt animals (see below), soft toys, photos and prints of animals, odds and ends, dressing up clothes, books and many more items.

            ******Adoptions******

            Whipsnade allows you to adopt animals which enables you to help support the animal of your choice as well as get close and personal with them on dates arranged. You can also adopt an animal for someone else as a gift.

            Practically all the animals you see at Whipsnade are available for adoption. Check at information for more information.

            You'll receive a photograph of your adopted animal as well as an adoption certificate, annual subscription to Wild About magazine and an opportunity to visit the zoo.

            There are a few types of adoption packages available;

            * Discovery Adoption : A donation of between £20 and £99.
            * Safari Adoption : A donation of between £100 and £499
            * Sanctuary Adoption :A donation of £500 or more

            The higher the package the more you receive and the more free tickets given to you for entry to the park and your animal


            ******Keeper for the Day******

            There are four packages available for keeper for the day which invites you to spend a certain length of time experiencing the animals up close and personal with a group of up to five people, going behind the scenes, mucking out, everything you can dream of. I haven't taken this package though I have heard from others who have that they have had a fantastic day. There is also a choice of two experiences; Keeper for the day which is approximately seven hours and An Introduction into Zoo Keeping which is about four and a half hours

            Packages include;

            * Introduction to Zoo Keeping at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo - half day : £ 160.00
            * Keeper for a day at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo- full day : £ 250.00
            * Introduction to Zoo Keeping at ZSL London Zoo - half day : £ 160.00
            * Keeper for a day at ZSL London Zoo - full day : £ 250.00

            Please note that you must be aged 16 and over and not be pregnant or given birth in the last 6 months.


            ******Staff******

            All the staff are well trained and very helpful. They are always willing to answer any questions and there is always a member of staff around to deal wit any problems.

            ******Extra Information******

            * How do you get to Whipsnade?

            ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is just north of London in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

            *Bus*
            The park is on a direct route from Luton Rail station, Hemel Hempstead and Dunstable. It runs approximately every two hours.

            *Train*
            The train stations are approximately 10 minutes away at Hemel and Luton

            *Car*
            The park is 20 minutes from M25 junction 21 and is well signposted from the M1 junctions 9 and 12 (follow the elephant signs!)

            * Can I park my car easily?

            Yes! There is a pay and display carpark in the main park which is £3.50 for the whole day. If you wish to drive around the park than it is a £14 entrance fee. Coaches and minibus parking is £10.

            * What are the opening times?

            30th March - 13th September: 10am - 6pm (Weekdays and Saturdays), 10am - 7pm (Sundays and Bank Holidays)
            14th September - 11th October: 10am - 6pm
            12th October - 25th October: 10am - 5pm
            26th October - February 2009: 10am - 4pm
            Please note - these are times as of time of writing review.

            * Is the Park Expensive?

            This park is the general price of all parks and zoos of this nature. Quite expensive really, though no different to others.

            (please note: Prices may change so please check before attending)

            Adult (16 - 59 years) £15.40
            Child (3 - 15 years) £11.90
            Under 3's: FREE
            Concession (Student over 16, Senior over 60, Disabled): £13.90
            Saver Ticket (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult 3 children): £49.10
            (See above for car prices and car admission)

            * Is there accommodation nearby?

            There are loads of places to stay around the park area all varying in prices. I wont list them all as there are too many, just type in the area to find places on the internet or look on Whipsnade website for full list.
            The nearest is a holiday in situated in Luton only 5 and half miles away from the park (Junction 9 off of the M1) These are not too bad in prices. Others include Express holiday inns, hotels and Premier inns, all a little further away and again varying in prices.

            * How can I contact Whipsnade?

            ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
            Dunstable
            Bedfordshire
            LU6 2LF

            General enquiries 01582 872171.

            Adoptions and Membership : Email: wzmembership@zsl.org or call 01582 871 311

            Gift Shop : Email: retail@zsl.org or tel 020 7722 3333

            For Keeper for a Day bookings and sales, please call 020 7449 6274 or email keeperforaday@zsl.org

            School bookings : education.administrator@zsl.org


            ****** Disabled Access******

            This is a very wheelchair friendly place though the bird walk may cause problems to those in a wheelchair. There are ramps to most enclosures and wheelchairs are also available for hire. There are also plenty of wheelchair accessible toilets around the park

            Assistant dogs are not unfortunately allowed into the park, though there is a kennels at the park for assistant dogs only

            ******Overall******

            I don't know what else I can add as an overall statement as I think I covered all of what I could above. Would I recommend Whipsnade to others? Most certainly! And more than once! There is always something new to see or do here.

            This is not only for children, as I hope I have outlined, and myself and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, as I have many times before, and even our seven month old baby loved the animals. My younger brother and sister who are 7 and 4 thoroughly enjoy it and go there a lot. It is not only an enjoyable park, but very educational too.
            It is difficult to describe everything to the degree I think it should be, so I would recommend going and seeing for yourself.

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              03.07.2009 20:33
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              Make a day of it

              I am not a great fan of zoos generally, but Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire has won me over and has become an important part of family life over the past few years.

              Whipsnade is one of two Zoological Society of London zoos, the other one being London Zoo. ZSL is committed to conservation and research, and not only has the welfare of the animals genuinely at heart, but has contributed enormously to the world of scientific research through its' zoos.

              ~~The Animals~~
              There are obviously far too many animals for me to talk about in this review, but I will mention some of the sights that we have loved over the years. All the animals look very well cared for, and are in very, very large enclosures. I have always been wary of zoos because fo welfare issues, but I have been convinced that Whipsnade really does have the welfare of its' animals at the centre of its policies. The knowledge that they have, and their dedication to conservation and research, makes it obvious that they would not abuse or harm the animals.

              Sea Lions
              One of the animal events that children and adults love is the Sea lion Show. There are usually three sea lions in this show, although occasionally one of the female sea lions will have her cub with her. Salt, Barclay and Liz provide a fun show three times a day, jumping though hoops, having races, and balancing things. Children learn where to stand so that they get the maximum splashes as Barclay jumps! We often use this show to sit down and eat our packed lunch - get there early to get a good seat, and you can sit in the sunshine while you wait, listening to soothing aquatic type music before shouting "Come on Barclay" in the race. (Hot tip - always shout for Barclay).

              The Discovery Centre
              On a cold day the Discovery Centre is a must! Kids usually love the weird, fusty smell, the huge spiders and scorpions, walking through the crocodile enclosure, filled with butterflies, looking at the leaf cutter ants marching along ropes, and the enormous python sleeping in the corner. There is too many exhibits to describe, and it is definitely one not to miss.

              Elephants
              The elephants are a lovely presence all around the zoo, often walking around with their keepers in a line, each one holding onto the tail of the elephant in front. There are often elephant calves to see, as well as the elephant talk, which demonstrates elephants moving logs and balancing.

              Red Panda
              A personal favourite here! All of the family love staring into a small enclosure with a very large tree in the middle. The very shy and very pretty red Panda lives in this enclosure - often hiding away in the tree. There have been many times that we have been watching the red panda, while other people come up, have a quick look and go away saying "empty enclosure". We feel that it is a special secret.

              ~~Education~~
              The zoo keepers are all very knowledgeable, and as well as the displays, there are also information talks throughout the day. These talks are funny and interesting, and I have really learnt a lot over the years. Keepers are also more than willing to answer any questions as you pass through, and the signs around the zoo are really informative. There is a childrens' activity room in the Discovery Centre which has skulls, information, colouring activities and helpers.

              ~~The Park in General~~
              Whipsnade is huge! Covering 600 acres, it contains 6,405 animals, many of which are endangered in the wild. You really have to spend the whole day there to see most of it, and it will be a day well spent. As you walk in, the first thing that you notice is the free-roaming animals - Muntjac Deer, Wallabies, Mara, and Indian Peafowl walk around amongst the visitors.

              You can take the car in, but I recommend a visit on foot, finding your way down small tracks and main paths from the map make it more like an adventure. When you get tired, you can jump on the vintage bus that drives round and round the park. The kids love to sit on the top deck to get a good view of the animals, and the drivers usually provide an amusing and informative commentary as they drive. In the summer this bus is open topped.

              The zoo is set in beautiful countryside, and you can see the beautiful Dunstable Downs stretching out on every side. There are plenty of picnic tables, but I always like to take a picnic rug in the summer and settle down somewhere with a great view, away from the crowds.

              Facilities are excellent, with very clean toilets, two nice cafés, and many kiosks around the site.

              ~~Other attractions~~

              Train
              Apart from the thrill of riding the vintage bus, there is also a steam train that runs though an area called Passage through Asia, containing deer and other gentler Asian animals. The Great Whipsnade railway is good fun, but does cost extra. If you do not ride on the train, children still get a lot of fun by standing on the bridge as the train passes underneath them, and getting swallowed in the smoke!

              Play Area
              The childrens' play area is a huge hit with the kids, if a bit tedious for the adults. At least there are lots of benches so that parents can rest their aching feet for a while!

              There are three covered tubular slides that seem to generate endless excitement, there are also various climbing frames, and rope climbing networks. I usually have to drag my children away, back to the main point of coming to the zoo - the animals!

              There is an old fashioned merry-go-round that works in the summer. Again, you have to pay extra for this.

              Farm
              The Childrens' Farm aims to teach the children about domestic farm animals, but also has ostriches, camels and llamas. We have never spent much time here, but have found more exciting things to do with the day.

              ~~Cost~~
              There are often discount voucher available, so it is a good idea to do a quick Google search before you to see if you can print one off.

              I live very close to Whipsnade, and for several years I invested in an annual season ticket. This allowed me to take the car in for free during the winter months, and gave me free car parking outside the zoo during the summer. It was incredibly good value and we more than got our money back.

              Entrance prices are: Adult £16.30, Child (3-15) £12.80, Under 3s free. Saver ticket (2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children £52.50

              The car park is £4, or you can pay an extra £15 to take your car into the zoo.

              I have some lovely memories of Whipsnade - it is like a day out in the countryside, with a bit of education and a lot of fun. Everything I have listed above is free, except for the train and the merry-go-round, so it is fairly good value. Make sure that you get there as early as possible so that you can get the most out of your day.

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              • More +
                14.10.2008 09:16
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                Good if you like walking, or maybe try doing the car safari?

                My fiance had a week off work and we thought we'd begin our holiday by going to Whipsnade. The weather wasn't very nice but we still went as we had already got our tickets through our Tesco clubcard points. I'm now glad we didn't have to pay for it as I found the Zoo very big and drawn out, you had to walk for ages to get to certain areas like the penguins. I also felt as if some of the animals weren't happy, there was a hippo rocking back and forth and the chimps were just starring and looked sad. However the shows were really good and everything was very informative. I did go back a second time as my Nan wanted to take my two girls when it was sunny and the animals seemed to be happier, maybe they're like us and get miserable when the weather is rainy!

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                  04.09.2007 17:43
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                  Take your own food and you'll love it!

                  We went to Whipsnade last week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

                  It's a massive place, you need a whole day to get around and enjoy it fully.

                  The staff were friendly and helpful, although I did notice those around the park (rather than in cafe's etc) were volunteers - there didnt seem to be any actual keepers or 'proper' staff around - having said that they were helpful, friendly and informative and genuinely warm and approachable and seemed pleased to be there, even saying hello as you pass them around the park.

                  Variety of animals is excellent, although most of the enclosures seem adequate I am concerned (and thinking of asking RSPCA to review) the Cheeta enclosure and Sealions. Baring in mind the Cheeta can run so fast the enclosure seems tiny, it would take 60 seconds to walk across it. The 3 sealions plus a pup have very little room to move around and swim in repetitive motions, which is worrying. My last moan of this sort is the bird garden, some of the birds are not flown in the displays and again have very small cages which I find very unsettling.

                  As for the rest of it - its fantastic. So much space for the kids to run around, a huge playground and they go free on the train (adults 3.25), they can get quite near the animals without being in danger.

                  They loved the lemurs, you walk through the enclosure and the lemurs are running everywhere or sunbathing - they run up and down ropes overhead and jump from one side of the walk way to the other - although you are not allowed to touch them, which is soooooo difficult as they are cuddly and cute - but I guess its respect for them and their environment not to touch or feed them.

                  Elephants were AMAZING, they have a display (which finishes for the season in Sept) and then walk them around the Zoo, its breathtaking to be so close. They have a new baby who's around 9 months and adorable.

                  Pay a visit to the discovery centre, when you reach the end there is somewhere for the kids to make badges, colour in, little wooden puzzles, touch antlers and see a real elephant skull, rhino horn and real stuffed lion - some of this may seem gruesome but it comes with good explanations, they learn a lot about poaching etc but in a way that doesnt scare them - again done by volunteers - education seems key here. I'm not sure the place would be the same without the volunteers and think those people warrant a wage!

                  The toilets are not good, very old and some dirty. The catering outlets are clean but stupidly expensive and if it rains there isn't anywhere suitable for a group to eat who havent purchase the expensive food.

                  Entry to the park is also ridiculously expensive £16 adults and an additional £13 to bring in the car - depending on how many times you go a year it looks quite a good deal to become a member.

                  I guess what we must remember is that both Whipsnade and its sister London Zoo are charities, they have no government funding and depend on us to visit to keep going - so although I moan about the price I would rather it be there.

                  All in all it was such a pleasure to be in that environment, the kids loved it, we loved it and I'll probably sign us all up for the membership.

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                  • More +
                    03.04.2007 17:08
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                    Safari-like zoo. Great for the whole family.

                    I was very impressed with the zoo. It's laid out like a safari park. You can even drive your own vehicle on paved roads within the park.

                    The selection of animals is impressive. Great to view Rhinos and elephants also the big cats are awesome and you can get right up close behinfd the Glass.

                    Of course the usual alotment of canteens are available if you like paying for expensive cafeteria food. But if you can carry a lunch in, the greenspace is extensive and on a nice day it's lovely to lounge out.

                    As a fun and educational day out.

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                      09.09.2006 18:07
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                      One of the best Zoo i have been to, loved seeing animals roaming free.

                      I have been on the net and researched about what people thought about Whipsnade zoo and i came across good and not so good reviews. Reviews are what you personally feel and not everyone is going to like the same as you but heres my review and some facts about the Zoo itself.

                      Date of Visit: Saturday 26th August 2006

                      Weather: Showers off and on until and afternoon was fine.
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                      Where is Whipsnade Zoo?

                      Whipsnade Wild Animal Park
                      Dunstable
                      Bedfordshire LU6 2LF

                      Whipsnade is set in the Chiltern Hills North of London in dunstable, Bedfordshire
                      Only 20 minutes from the M25 (junction 21), Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is signposted from the M1 (junction 9 and junction 12) and all major roads - just follow the elephant on the above map.


                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      How much does it cost?

                      Adult £15
                      Child 3-15 £11.50
                      Under 3 FREE
                      Concession (Student, Disabled, Senior over 60) £13.00
                      Family Ticket £ 48

                      We got a whipsnade Package which included Hotel, breakfast and entrance to the park this cost £84.95 (The hotel we stayed in was the holiday inn Express at Hemel Hempstead, see my other reviews).

                      I feel that the price of this Zoo is Expensive even though we did have a great day out but i don't think its anymore expensive than any other big zoo in the country.

                      Car parking or Take your Car in?

                      If you Take your Car in you pay an extra £12 on admission, or you can put the car in a car park at £3.50 and use the free buses in the park which seemed quit busy.
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                      Opening Hours?

                      2006
                      10am - 5pm Feb 11 - Mar 4
                      10am - 6pm Mar 5 - Sep 30
                      10am - 5pm Oct 1 - Oct 28
                      10am - 4pm Oct 29 - onwards

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                      Our Day at the Zoo and What we Saw:

                      We arrived at the Zoo at 10.30 and Approahed the Gate of Whipsnade and gave the lady our ticket and Paid £12 to take our Car in with us. We also Brought the £3.50 Book which included information about the park and Animals, A free poster and Car Sticker. Then it was where do we go now? It takes you a little while to see that the park works in a one-way system in an Anti Clock Wise Direction. So we drove up a little way and parked on the side of the road in a Bay, thoughout the park are parking areas or Parking bays on the road (Normally on the Right hand side). This gave us time to look at the Map which seemed simple enough to follow. The First Area you come to is On the Left cheetahs then Brown Bears, and on the Right Gorillas and lemas. My daughter then decided she wanted the toilet, nearest ones were back near the entrance or further into the Park. So we got out of the car and Found a toilet sign and followed it through past the lemas across to near the entrance and here we was. The Toilets were okay, could be better but have seen worse, my daughter did like the childrens sized toilet they had here.

                      The we took our time and walked back though the Lemas area where they were being very noisy which attached the children as they though the sound they made was very funny. Once we dragged them away we headed over to the Gorilla encloser which was huge, we could have spent ages here watching them play, the baby one kept jumping on the older ones and trying to get them to play. The Gorillas also have a large inside play area, this is the best encloser I have seen for Gorillas with so much for them to do. We then crossed the road and went to see the cheetahs, they must have been hidding as we could not find any. Then we walked back towards out car which was near the Brown Bears area, a big crowd had gathered and we realised it was feeding time, the children could go down and get some fruit from the keepers and throw them into the area but not at the animals which was explained clearly to the children. I have never seen brown bears before so I was really fastinated by them and watched them for ages, watching them peel oranges and eat them was for some stange reason interesting. The Bears then went off to another quieter area where they were given more food away from the crowds. Then Came the rain so we got in the car for a bit, luckly we took the car as there didn't seem much sheather for people who did not take there car in.

                      We sat in the car for a little bit and studied the map again, and decided to drive up to the next parking area we came to. On Driving up we missed a road which went to the Left and you can't go back unless you go right round the park, so we parked up at the side of the road. What a view from here you get, you could see for miles and walk road the hills only problem is even though its nice to see animals like wallbys etc roaming free you do get a lot of poo on your shoes which isn't nice when getting back into the car. We then took a walk upto the Penguins, what a lovely pool they had to roam around in, they also had many hand on things for the children to do and learn about penguins. After this we headed back towards the car and went to the Rino Encloser which was just huge, they were not doing much just sitting around so the children got a little bit fidgety and wanted dinner. At this moment a wasp decided to sing my son aged 11, he was a brave thing and went to the toilets and put some water on and I kept a close eye on him being his first sting (He was fine). I took a trip to these toilets and wasn't empressed with these ones, they are near the look out café. The floors had paper all over and was wet and my daughter just wanted to get out as quick as possible, tip the disabled one didn't look too bad try this one.

                      We then sat in our car and had our packed lunch, daughter kicked up a fuss that she didn't like the crisps I had brought with us, so I popped to the café which was very crowded and noisy and pricey. I only brought 2 packets of crisps, 1 pack of small biscuits and it cost me £3.25, told my daughter she better eat them or else.

                      After dinner we drove along the road, not really knowing where we was going to stop next, I think this added to the excitement, it was like an adventure. We saw a sign to the Hippos and Parked up, again on the right side of the road. On the other side of the road were the lions encloser. We went to see the Hippos which was a huge area but for some reason could only find two hippos, one was outside in the water and the other inside, the insdie area has lots of info about hippos and the keepers come and shat here every so often, we just missed one of these talks oh well. My son wanted to go to the lions so we all went to see them, guess what they were hidding behind a hill, you had to climb on some unsafe boxes if you wanted to see any, I didn't bother. My son and daughter managed to see a cub while standing on a box, with my husband as support. It then decided to Rain again (Luckly the last rain of the day) so we headed back to our car.

                      By the time we arrived at the Car the rain had stopped, we drove along the road and came to a sign which pointed to the right and said cars only, so we followed and entered an area where the animals ran free in the first area it was covered in different types of deers etc. we drove slow and some of them came really close until they figured out we were there and ran off, we could take our time as there we not any cars for a while behind us but if there was I think it may put you off if your pushed around (If you know what I mean). After this area you came to another field with these huge things like buffos, they had big horns, one was right next to the road and we had to drive past it, it was a bit of a scarey moment for me. We then came out of this area and stopped in a little carpark to look at some short horned rinos, one must have been naughty has he was locked in his pen and kept sharping his horns on the bars, ready for the keepers J We watched some rinos play in the mud they seemed to be having a wonderful time.

                      Back in the car we got and drove up to what looked like 2 big carparks, this is where the car stayed for a long while as most things circled this area. We saw the sign for the Elephants which I just love so we headed that way and saw several including some baby one., they have a huge indoor area which also gives you some info on the elephants there. We saw the Elephants go on their daily walk around the Park, this was about 3pm but was told there is no fixed time for this. It was really sweet with the baby ones inbetween the keepers keep people at bay and remind them not to touch them. As the Elephants left we headed across the road to the tiggers encloser, they had just been given dinner which the children found interesting, especially with two arguing over a piece. We headed round the encloser and had a toilet stop, mmmmmm they need to make improvements on their toilets.

                      We saw the Jumbo Express train which cost £3 an adult children free, that's okay but on top of everything else you have paid that day you don't need another expense so we avoided this and headed to the Splash Zone where a sealion show was about to start. I was disappointed on this as have seen better ones at other zoo's, the sealions didn't seem as though they were enjoying it, maybe I am wrong? The only good part was that the children liked getting splash by the sealion, warning they get soaked, we had spare clothes , luckly. As this finished on the hill we heard someone talking and went over and found a bird show which was really fun. One of the bird came into the crowd looking for food and he was just wondering around. My children thought the little chickens were really funny and kept talking about them when we got home. We then stopped off for an ice cream 2 cost £3 which is normally for any zoo / park these days, they could move the bins away from the ice cream booth as they were covered in wasps and flies which freaked myself and the children out.

                      We took a walk back to the car past a huge playground for the children, think my two were too tired to ask to go on this as it was getting to around 4.30pm. Once we got to the car we drove onto a Bird area on the Right and petting zoo on the left. My children and myself went into the bird garden, husband stayed in car listening to football results. We saw some baby Penguins, oh they were cute. In this area you can see incubation tanks etc. at certain times of year, these were closed as they had no eggs or tiny chicks. My children didn't find this area interesting and just wanted to wizz through, I liked the parrotts as I find them interesting. After the bird garden I dragged my husband out of the car to the petting Zoo, at this time of day the animals were in the filed probably fed up after all the children petting them etc. We found a camel in his pen and gave stroked him, he seemed to like it. The area had a nice place for the children to wash themselves after touching the animals. The petting area had Horses, Donkeys, Camels, Goats, Pigs and Rabbits.

                      Our final part of the Journey was to drive back to near the Exit and walk over to the Discovery centre with all the creepy crawly things. My children loved it, me I just wanted to get out. The problem I found here was that the walkthrough was very narrow and and if you got stuck behind some slow people and you just want to get out, its not a nice thing. Also found a stange looking bug or two which I think should have been inside a tank or cage inside of wondering about but there was no one around to ask if this was normal so when I saw this I ran outside and waited for the others who couldn't care less.

                      Now that's the end of our trip around Whipsnade, we believe we did miss some areas in the park as we never saw the Giraffes which were surpose to be somewhere? We reached the Exit about 5.45pm the park closed at 6pm so not bad really. Normally when we visit zoos 3 hours is enough but here we had a really good full day. Would we go back? Yes if we are that way as we do live along way from the zoo but if in the area we would not miss it. I would rate this Zoo 8/10 the only let downs were the Price, Toilets and Cafes. I would also take a picnic with you, much cheaper for you.

                      I ALSO HAVE REVIEW ON CIAO

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                        17.09.2002 22:33
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                        Lots of animals

                        Whipsnade is almost big enough to be a small town in its own right. It's quite a lot besides a wild animal park.

                        For most animals the enclosures are very spacious. In the wild certain animals may roam over several miles or even several hundred miles. No English park could reproduce that, but I didn't see any creature that looked cramped. There are plenty of open, grassy spaces, and room to expand if needed.

                        As for the residents, you name it and it's probably there : tarantulas, penguins, brown bears, rhinos... Seeing them drives home just what variety of life we share this planet with. My first "ahhhh" moment was when I saw the squirrel monkeys carrying tiny babies on their backs. There were plenty of moments such as these throughout the day.

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                          29.05.2001 18:41
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                          Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is a great day out for everyone. Whipsnade is one of Europes largest animal parks, set in over 600 acres on the Chiltern Downs. Whipsnade is a non-profit organisation and therfore every penny you spend goes back into caring for the animals and keeping the park open. Whipsnade has many endangered animals, which some of them they breed to release back into the wild You can get around the park three ways: By foot - probably a bad idea if you don't like walking as there is a huge area to cover. You can use the free bus which stops off at various locations so you can get off and look at the animals. The buses are open ytopped so it makes a nice little trip. And for £8.50 extra you can drive your own car around the park, although at the moment cars aren't allowed in due to the foot and mouth eperdemic. Admission to the park costs £10.70 for adults and £8.00 for children, O.A.P's and students. Under 3's are free. Car parking is also an extra £2. There is so much to see and here, you will definately need a whole day. The park is open from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm. There are hundreds of animals, some of them roaming free around the park. They are not in cages and provide excelllent opportunites to take photos and look at them close up. Some of these animals include deer, wallabies and peacocks. Due to the foot and mouth there are no longer any elephants at Whipsnade but when they are there they do displays and there are talks about them. There are also a number of giraffes, cheetas, tigers, bears, chimpanzees, wolves, penguins, birds of prey, calafornian sealions and many more. There are bird displays every couple of hours and are excellent to watch. They are done with different birds at each display. The one I saw included a bald eagle, macaws and a kookaburra. They also do displays with vultures, falcons and owls. The Calafo
                          rnian Sealions also put on an excellent display. They can perform tricks and you get to learn all about them. There is also penguin feeding which is great to watch, as well as various talks about different animals throughout the day. At the moment there are a number of sections closed off due to foot and mouth such as the childrens zoo, but not many and you can still have a wonderful day out. Whipsnade has a number of cafes and restaurants, but these can be quite overpriced, so I would recommend taking a picnic with you. Again due to foot and mouth, you cannot take your own food into the park. There is a large gift shop, but again a little overpriced, but sells some nice souvineers of your day. There is also a steam train taking you round the park which costs and extra £2 for adults and £1.75 for children. This is a brilliant day out and I would recommend it to anyone with families and anyone who loves animals. For any more information, check out the website, which includes information on the animals and any events taking place also any news to do with the park. There is also an animal blind date which is fun where you are matched with your perfect animal. The sits is colourful, interesting and easy to navigate.

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                            14.10.2000 18:28
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                            Whipsnade Zoo is one of the largest wild animal parks in Europe, set in 600 acres of parkland. All of the animals seem extremely well looked after, with large, well laid out enclosures. This is more than can be said for the care of the visitors. The impression you get as a visitor is that you are only wanted for your money and visitors are a necessary evil that the zoo has to put up with. The day starts with a £2 car parking fee. A car parking fee is almost unheard of at any other major theme park or attraction nowadays. The entry to the park was nearly £40 for our family of four, which I did feel was a bit expensive. We were given one very poor leaflet between the four of us, which again was asking for money, either to adopt an animal or to help with their Lion appeal. The leaflet contained a map of the park, but this contained so little detail that it was almost useless. The animal enclosures are great, with various displays held throughout the day. One really nice feature is that a number of the animals roam free within the park and we were amazed when a family of Wallabies hopped straight past us. There is a full sized train that takes you around some of the park, of course there is an extra charge for this (£2 each), but it is well worth taking this trip. If you do decide to go to the park I would really recommend that you take your own food and drinks. The food outlets are very sad and not very clean, with a poor selection of food, which as you would expect is not cheap. There is a lot to see at the park, although some of the animal enclosures do take some finding. You can really enjoy a day at the park if you concentrate on the animals and try to shrug off the feeling of being an intruder. Our highlight of the day was at the Penguin enclosure. The King Penguins were magnificent, leading a procession of Penguins all around their pond. This enclosure is right out of the way at one corner of the park, but the walk is well worth while. I know a lot of this review sounds very negative, but overall I would recommend a visit to the zoo, especially if you have children. The excitement and wonder that you see in the faces of children as they watch the animals makes everything worthwhile.

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                            04.09.2000 21:00
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                            I went to Whipsnade when I was a bit younger with my school. It was our first day out of our Activities Week and we were all looking forward to it. Our teachers had promised a fantastic trip out and most certainly, these promises didn't fade away!!! Apart from on the way there when my friend spilt Coke all over her shirt and the fact that it was boiling hot outside, this trip was excellent and I really do want to return to Whipsnade one day soon. There are many animals in the park, all with a lot of space to move about. The animals are not stuck in a small cage, but a large open area with a fence to stop the animals escaping. There are lots of animal shows going on to entertain the entire family - including a bird and elephant show. The elephant show was not on when I went, but my teacher told us that an elephant sits on a man in the show!!! The bird show, however, was on and it was most entertaining. There were two bird shows and in the first one, we met 4 parrots - Harry, George, Inka and one that I can't remember. Whipsnade is the right place for families with young kids as they will be delighted by the great atmosphere and the amazing animals!!!

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                            06.08.2000 00:26
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                            We took our Daughter to Whipsnade Wild Animal Park today, she is 1 year old, and thourghly enjoyed herself!, and so did we for that matter! To get there, it only took us 30 minutes, but we live in Hemel Hempstead. But to give you a rough idea, it takes about 20 minutes from the M25 motorway. There is lots to do and see, we got there at 11.00am, and we left at 4.00pm, but we missed seeing the sealions display as our Daughter fell asleep!! We went for her really! But all the other animals we saw were great, Elephants x3 holding each other tails walking along!! seals being fed, tigers, zebras, penguins, giraffe's, and lots lots more including a childrens farm, and a bird garden. The weather was great but we decided to buy our lunch there as a treat, well I really wish I had taken our own. You were not allowed to take prams in any shops or restraunts, which either ment, leaving your pram outside and lugging ALL your bags around (hard with a baby), or you didn't go in at all. The food there was also not up to standard, the tables were not wiped down, and worse still, the baby high chairs were REALLY dirty. The food was luke warm, and did not really taste all that great, so my advise is to take your own, with a blanket! Also the food was quite expencive, as are the drinks, 70p for a can of drink!! The other thing is that there is a train, but you have to pay £2.00 per adult, and £1.00 per child over 3 years of age. The only things you really get to see on it are the elephants and camals, which you can see elce where around the park off of the train. There was also a guide talking, but because of the noise of the train, you could not hear her. The other thing about the train, is yet again, you are not allowed to take push chairs on them! there are signs stateing that they regret this, and to leave your push chair here, and right next to it was another sign, saying that the park would not accept resposability for loss or damage to things
                            left there!? well if you had the choise to take your pram thats fine, but what other choise have you got? You can take your car in for £8.00, or you can park opposite the main gate for £2.00. We walked round! needed the exercise!! Admissinon for the Zoo is £9.90 per adult, £7.50 per child aged between 3 and 15, and under 3's go free. I would go again, but I would take all my own food and drink, and I would not pay out extra money for the train ride, it was very disapionting. You can find out more about up coming events on their web site at www.londonzoo.co.uk/whipsnade

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