ZSL London Zoo review

Hunting for lions at the Land of the Lions – a beautiful attraction inspired by India

I don’t think you’re ever too old to be left awestruck at the sight of wildlife.

Seeing beautiful and powerful creatures like lions, hippos and tigers up close is such an incredible experience – it’s definitely not just one for the kids.

We’ve been wanting to take our toddler for her first trip to a zoo for quite some time, so when we were invited by AttractionTix to visit ZSL London Zoo for their Boo at the Zoo half term week of Halloween fun we were thrilled.

The visit not only meant we could tick a visit to the zoo off of our list of things we wanted to do with her in 2017, but we were also able to carve a pumpkin. Double tick!

With my two being very young – 10 months and two years – I always have a bit of a worry going into days like this about how it’s going to pan out.

Kids of their age are unpredictable and if they’re overtired, teething or just in a bad mood, it can make the day a bit trying.

Thankfully they were both on top form all day. Although my baby spent most of the day strapped into her buggy, her little head whipped all round constantly as she took it all in.

Feeding time for the giraffes

A picture from my instastories on the day of my baby checking out the giraffes – they were incredible

I’ll never forget her face when she saw a giraffe for the first time. It was a mixture of amazement and total joy,

My toddler giggled and squealed the entire day. I’m not sure which animal was her favourite, as she spent most of the day insisting the last animal she saw was definitely the best, but she was so excited to see these incredible animals up close.

What I love about ZSL London Zoo the most is that you get a sense of real passion for animals and conservation everywhere you turn.

Check out how close I managed to get to this beautiful tiger

The wildlife have beautiful enclosures that have clearly been very carefully thought out to be comfortable and engaging for them. It also adds to the experience as a visitor to see these animals playing, eating and sleeping in somewhere close to their natural environment.

There are informative boards everywhere, featuring fun facts and details about animals and highlights of the many, many conservation projects ZSL is involved with.

There are also lots of little games and challenges for children to enjoy as you move through the zoo. It’s so interactive that between the animals and the fun activities to try, we didn’t stop all day.

When we had to ask for directions a few times, the staff were always really friendly. There were also staff giving you extra bits of information at various points. In the butterfly house a lady had a box of baby caterpillars that had just hatched the day before.

They were munching frenetically on a green leaf. My toddler was really amazed to see this, as she is such a big fan of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

My #spiderselfie in the spider walk

In the spider walk, where you get very close to some very large spiders, there was a member of staff answering questions and giving loads of information about the creepy crawlies we could see.

I’m not a fan of spiders, I confess, but seeing such huge varieties up close was pretty special.

One of my favourite areas of the zoo was the Land of the Lions – which is a pretty new attraction. The design has been inspired by India’s vibrant Sasan Gir – a beautiful destination to go on safari.

The Land of the Lions is full of the colours of India and is a really engaging way to get kids even more excited about seeing these beauties up close

There are three walkways giving you fantastic views of the lions and monkeys (in separate enclosures of course). The vibrant artwork is mixed with installations such as vans, a tuk-tuk and railway station to make you feel like you’re going on a real journey as you search for the zoo’s lions.

There are lots of photo opportunities like this tuk-tuk dotted around the zoo

Another memorable moment for me was when we discovered a tiger lounging right by the viewing glass of his enclosure. We were able to get some brilliant pictures and my toddler was excited to pretend to stroke the big cat.

We also got close to some penguins – which are one of my favourite animals – at Penguin Beach. They were swimming and diving energetically all over their pool. The glass viewing wall meant we could see them gliding underwater.

Watching penguins swimming underwater

I think my toddler could have watched them for hours.

Another animal that stood out for me was the Galapagos tortoises. My toddler’s mouth opened she was so gobsmacked by how huge they are. It felt like such a privilege to see these amazing animals up close.

Our only problem as we wandered around the zoo was we often found ourselves a bit lost. We didn’t have a map and I didn’t find the “you are here” maps dotted around particularly easy to read.

There are signposts, but I think there could be more of these. It’s a compact site but we found we lost our bearings quite a few times.

All in all though we had such a memorable day and I would definitely hurry back.

Exploring the aquarium

Here’s a rundown of everything else you need to know about visiting the zoo:

Getting there

We drove and parked at the zoo’s car park which cost £14.50 for the day. There were loads of spaces at 9.45am when we arrived. There’s also parking on the street outside the zoo with pay and display. The nearest tubes are Camden Town and Regent’s Park, which are just a short walk, so it’s definitely easy to reach by public transport.

Boo at the Zoo

This half term event runs until October 31. There’s a huge programme of Halloween themed activities and crafts for families to enjoy.

Carving a pumpkin as part of Boo in the Zoo – the half term Halloween themed event

We carved a pumpkin, which cost an additional £3 for the pumpkin and the carving tools. We took ours home with us so it was worth the extra cost.

There are crafts in the bat cave, where kids can decorate bat masks or create their own spiders. For children who love to dance, there’s a Pumpkin Party featuring spooky tracks, and the zoo has opened a Ghoul School where children can learn how to cast a spell.

The layout

The zoo is divided into multiple exhibits, with some indoors and some outdoors.

All of it is really immersive, encourages interaction and inspires kids to want to find out more about these animals.

Facilities and access

Getting around with a buggy is easy. It’s one of the best buggy-friendly venues I’ve ever visited. This is impressive, particularly as there are loads of walkways and viewing platforms dotted around.

There are slopes everywhere to make parents’ lives easier.

There were also plenty of toilet facilities with baby changing. We never seemed to be far from a loo no matter where in the zoo we were, which is handy when you have two young children in nappies with you.

Many doors are double and automatic. The butterfly house is tricky to get into due to the plastic sheets hanging in front of doors to stop the butterflies getting out, but they only cause a bit of a faff with the buggy. It didn’t stop us getting in.

Food and drink

We brought a packed lunch with us but there’s a restaurant, cafe and various kiosks selling refreshments all over the zoo.

I snapped these gorgeous Halloween goodies in the restaurant.

Prices

Tickets at the gate cost £29.75 per adult and £22 for children aged three to 15. Children under three go free. There are deals and discounts available for booking online in advance.

For more information about ZSL London Zoo visit the website here.

If you liked what you’ve seen and read here, you can save an extra 10% off tickets when you book through attractiontix.co.uk – just use the code BLOGGER10 at the checkout. The code expires on 31st October 2017 and is valid for half-term dates and beyond. Visit AttractionTix to book.

 

 

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Disclaimer: We were given free entry to the zoo. All opinions are honest and my own. 

36 Comments

  1. October 24, 2017 / 7:57 am

    Ahhh ive always wantedc to go to London zoo!! this looks great! I’ll be heading up there with Ettie soon. Thanks for sharing #DreamTeam

  2. October 24, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    We were there yesterday too! It such a great day out, and the halloween activities were great. Although we didn’t carve a pumpkin as we travelled by tube and train so it would have been difficult to get home. We got a map from the restaurant which was really handy as we found getting around a little difficult at times. I think if you enter via the normal entrance you are giving one. #dreamteam

    • October 24, 2017 / 11:03 pm

      Ah yes we should have grabbed one. Glad you enjoyed it too! X

  3. October 25, 2017 / 8:44 am

    We love trips to the zoo. We’re yet to visit London Zoo but it’s on our list of places to visit soon! #fortheloveofblog

  4. October 25, 2017 / 9:42 am

    Oh wow you got so close to that tiger!! We love London Zoo. I would love to go again – even more now I’ve read this post! x #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. October 25, 2017 / 10:15 am

    I love the Zoo. You get to sing ‘we’re all going to the zoo tomorrow’ all the day before. I agree with the little one too. The penguins rock!!

  6. October 25, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Looks like a fabulous day out. My daughter would love it there. #FortheLoveofBlog

  7. October 25, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    I can’t wait to take my daughter to the zoo, though being in Scotland we’ll probably head for the one in Edinburgh. #fortheloveofBLOG

  8. October 25, 2017 / 5:03 pm

    The London Zoo looks so fun and has such a variety of things to do and see! It looks like the kids and you enjoyed your time there! Giraffes are my favorite. They are so amazing and so different all together. #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. October 25, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Wow you got so close to that tiger! I love ZSL but usually go to their Whipsnade site. The animals always look so well looked after and the enclosures clean. #fortheloveofBLOG

  10. October 25, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    We live in London and we’ve never been to the zoo! Maybe around Christmas. Lovely photos and very informative post. #fortheloveofblog

  11. mummyswhineclub
    October 25, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Ah sound like such a lovely day! The picture of you with the tiger is AMAZING!

  12. October 25, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Back again with #fortheloveofBLOG and now I need a cookie 😉 x

  13. October 25, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Looks like a lovely day!

  14. October 25, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    She is precious and you caught those precious firsts on camera. What a beautiful family day out xx

  15. October 26, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    Looks like you had a fun day out – love the pic with the tiger.#fortheloveofBLOG

  16. talkingmums1
    October 26, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    I wish London Zoo was closer, It’ll have to go on my list of things to do whilst in London! I keep saying to my OH we need to have a long weekend in London x
    #DreamTeam

  17. October 26, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    What a lovely day. I’ve never been to London zoo but I’d love to, especially now my little girl is getting older and can appreciate it a bit more. Great pictures by the way. x #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. October 26, 2017 / 9:36 pm

    The zoo looks lovely and it sounds like you had an amazing day! The Halloween treats also look great. I am however, horrified at the cost of parking! I think £6 at LegoLand is too much when you are paying for entrance too. Plus £22 for children over 3 is crazy.

    • October 30, 2017 / 8:45 am

      I agree that the cost of these places is insane! Not sure how we’ll afford things when my baby is no longer free. We will certainly have to cut back on the frequency x

  19. October 26, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    I can’t wait to take both mine!! We see animals a lot where we live, but oh my word *that* giraffe!! My boy especially would love it! #fortheloveofBLOG

  20. October 27, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    I haven’t been to London Zoo since i was a kid. it looks so good and sounds like you had a great day! #fortheloveofBLOG

  21. October 27, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    It looks like you were having as much fun as the kids, maybe more!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. aliduke79hotmailcom
    October 29, 2017 / 8:49 am

    They were still building the land of the lions when we visited there. Definitely want to g back again one day
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  23. October 29, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Sounds like you really enjoyed it. We went to the Whipsnade zoo which is part of the ZSL group. They really seem to care about their animals #fortheloveofBLOG

    • October 30, 2017 / 8:47 am

      I’ll have to try whipsnade next time we have a spare day x

  24. October 29, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    We go back and forth between loving trips to the zoo, and feeling really bad for the animals. I can spend hours in front of the primates! Love them! What fun! #fortheloveofBLOG xoxo

    • October 30, 2017 / 8:47 am

      My husband is the same, he’s not a big fan of zoos for this reason but London zoo really looks after their animals x

  25. October 30, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    It certainly seems like a great day out. I think seeing the children react to the animals is the best #fortheloveofBLOG

  26. October 30, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    The past summer I think we went to about five different zoos and not even this one! Next summer eh?! #fortheloveofBLOG

  27. October 31, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    This looks such a great day. Small girl loves a zoo and penguins are her absolute favourite thing in the world but we’ve never been to this one!! One for the to do list!! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • November 2, 2017 / 8:37 pm

      It was a brilliant day, would thoroughly recommend it x

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