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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.
"I found the place rambling and rundown, lots of concrete,…"
I found the place rambling and rundown, lots of concrete, bloody expensive and totally uninspiring. There are some parts that have been modernised but overall a let down.Read moreLess
"We love going to London Zoo so much that we…"
We love going to London Zoo so much that we have become members, which costs the same as going 3 times in a year, so well worth it.
Favourite bits are: the amazing mechanical clock that strikes every half an hour, feeding the otters, watching the squirrel monkeys and trying to jump like them in the mini playground.
We always take some sandwiches and swim suits in the summer - the water jets in the childrens section are great.
We have been many many times, but there always seems to be something new to see each time.Read moreLess
"London zoo is a fun day out, there are lots…"
London zoo is a fun day out, there are lots of animals to see. Getting there is easy, if you are driving you can park right opposite the entrance.Read moreLess
"Fab day out with almost too much to do for…"
Fab day out with almost too much to do for toddlers. Great choice of food. However, it is pretty expensive and awkward to get to.Read moreLess
"Yes it is expensive, so try to arrive early as…"
Yes it is expensive, so try to arrive early as there is lots to see. There are currently good 2 for 1 entrance vouchers if you go by train, plus it is good value if you live in London and become a member. Take towels and swimmers if you have toddlers as the new children's zoo has fountains to play in. Only thing I would say is take your own food as the catering is rubbish but there is plenty of space for picnics.Read moreLess
"Overall a great day out - But make sure you…"
Overall a great day out - But make sure you buy tickets on-line before you set out - we got there around 9.30-10 am and the queues were already starting - seriously by the time we left at 2ish the queues were ridiculous - not many happy children there!! Once in there is lots for the kids to do and the animals are fantastic. We took our own packed lunch and a bottle of wine for the park after and had a lovely day.Read moreLess
"Such a lovely location in Regents park. We love the…"
Such a lovely location in Regents park. We love the children's adventure area with the water to splash in and the amazing ardvarks (go at 11 to see them wake up at and eat their porridge). It is expensive so take a picnic and avoid the shop.Read moreLess
"Although it seems a lot of money to get in,…"
Although it seems a lot of money to get in, London Zoo is actually great value for money. It is very easy to spend the whole day there and to have still not been to see all the animals. If you are local enough it is well worth getting an annual card as your children will want to go again and again. There are enough indoor houses to make your visit good even if it rains. The cafes are fine with children's boxes/meals, highchairs etc. The coffee is generally awful though. If on a limited budget a picnic can be eaten outside or in one of the animals houses. There are numerous toilets for those toddler multiple trips to the toilet and at least two places for nappy changing.Read moreLess
"We visited London Zoo expecting to spend a couple of…"
We visited London Zoo expecting to spend a couple of hours there, but ended up staying most of the day. Gorilla Kingdom was the dd's favourite part. The entrance prices are reasonable.Read moreLess
"If you are looking for things to do in London…"
If you are looking for things to do in London with the kids or days out in London London Zoo is a must.
London Zoo has recently spent a great deal of money on a wonderful new attraction "Animal Adventure" especially for children - a whole themed area which lets children climb, touch, tunnel and splash their way through the animal kingdom.
Its a great place too for anyone interested in animals, conservation and much much more.
Its not a cheap day out but is certainly value for money and if you a become a member then you can really benefit from great discounts and offers.
Open at 10.00 and closing between 17.00 and 18.00 in summer and 16.00 - 16.30 in winter it is a great day out.
Family tickets (2 adults and 2 children)Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.