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"A unique and exciting experience.…"
Mumsnet were invited by ZSL to review their new ‘Meet the Animals’ experience.
Meet the Animals is designed to give visitors the ultimate behind the scenes encounter with their favourite animals at the zoo. There is a choice of six animals to meet, which include: meerkats, lions, outback (kangaroos, emus and wallabies), aardvarks, Rainforest (monkeys, sloths and armadillos) and owls. I was lucky enough to meet the aardvarks, the Rainforest animals and the owls.
First up were the aardvarks. We were escorted to the aardvark enclosure where a welcoming zoo keeper met us and took us inside the enclosure to meet their two female aardvarks. He explained that aardvarks were friendly creatures, and likely to come up and sniff us enthusiastically. However, since they are nocturnal animals, once they had checked us out, they’d just go back to sleep, which is exactly what they did. Meeting the aardvarks was very similar to meeting an excited Labrador – they were bumbly, snuffly and then happy to snooze while you stroked their ears. In between answering our questions, the zoo keeper encouraged us to stroke their snouts which were as soft as velvet (and only a tiny bit snotty). It really was a fantastic experience to be in the enclosure with them whilst other visitors to the zoo looked on from outside.
We then moved onto the experience I had been most looking forward to, the Rainforest. Even without the ‘Meet the Animals’ experience, the Rainforest enclosure is fantastic to watch, as it is an open space where tiny monkeys scamper freely about, whilst you watch sloths ponderously moving among the trees. Again we were met by a friendly zookeeper who gave us all a handful of meal worms and opened the staff entrance onto the forest floor. Having a family of Emperor Monkeys flock to you and take food from your hand is even more fun than you could possibly imagine. They have no fear, and would have stuck around as long as the meal worms kept coming. We were lucky enough to also see Tammy the tamandua who came and wandered among our group, eating meal worms right from the bowl. In was truly amazing to be in and amongst the wildlife in that way, and a fantastic way to observe the animals.
Our final encounter was with the owls. The two keepers helped us don a heavy leather glove and let us carry a Spectacled Owl sat on our hand, and even give him a little scratch on the head. We then had a wonderful demonstration with Yoda the burrowing owl, who flew to us when called and ate a mouse leg from our hands. Finally we were shown a magnificent Eagle Owl whilst the keepers answered our questions.
With experiences starting at £35 on top of your normal zoo admission ‘Meet the Animals’ is a trip perhaps best saved for special occasions, or it would make a great birthday surprise. There are age restrictions on the experiences, so double check these before booking to avoid disappointment. Throughout the experience it was wonderful to talk to the keepers, who were able to answer every question we asked whilst showing genuine enthusiasm for their job and love for the animals they were looking after. To be able to go behind the scenes at a zoo and interact with animals that normally you’d only be able to watch is a tremendous privilege, and one I would recommend to anyone who has a passion for animals.Read moreLess
"We took my 4 year old son to London Zoo…"
We took my 4 year old son to London Zoo and we had a great day out. I exchange my Tesco clubcard vouchers so it was good value for money. It would have been a very expensive day out otherwise. The bug house was brilliant and he enjoyed this the most. Avoid the restaurant. - it's overpriced and the food wasn't great. My advice is take a picnic!Read moreLess
"I'd never been as a child so decided to take…"
I'd never been as a child so decided to take my little girl and husband for fathers day. the butterfly house, penguins, giraffes and the rainforest were excellent but overall it was a huge disappointment. the monkeys, gorillas and lions seemed very unhappy. made me realise that these animals shouldn't be in a zoo!Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"We have membership as a Christmas present from the ILs…"
We have membership as a Christmas present from the ILs every year, so we go a lot. The new (ish) children's zoo is excellent imo and there's lots to see and do there. The cafe in this area is by far the best and is the least crowded with lots of shady outdoor seating if you go on a hot day. The coffee is also very good, but expensive at 2.10 a cup. I'd always take your own food as it's dear and not up to much at the price.
Get there early so you can be one of the first in at 10 - go straight to the tigers and lions (at the opposite end of the park) and you'll be on your own or just one of a few when they're at their most active for the day and pacing around within feet of your nose. Or go straight to the gorillas in Gorilla Kingdom as this gets really really crowded later in the day.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.