I always find it ironic how much I like going to the zoo. Seeing as I pretty much live in one most days. But love it we do, especially on a cold, winter day, which is when we found ourselves at London Zoo in that glorious break between Christmas and New Year.
Whether you agree with animals in captivity or not, once you have children, it’s somewhere you’ll find yourself going. A lot. Because most kids are fascinated by these wonderful, mystical creatures. I know I was. I still am. I’m sure my animal print fetish now comes from an early love affair with the Tiger, a love affair that’s never dwindled.
London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and one of our favourites, especially being so local and accessible by train. Godivy was supposed to do their amazing nativity walk on the school trip in December but was sick that day so I had promised her a replay. Which meant two other excited kids got to cash in on the trip too.
The Boy with No Name, in particular, has a real passion for animals. It’s his go to toy no matter what’s on offer. Father Christmas brought him two plastic giraffes for Christmas so his mind was a bit blown when he saw the real thing.
Land of the Lions is London Zoo’s new exhibit. Based on the actual Gir National Park in India, it’s home to the asiatic lion, of which there are only 520 left in the wild. It’s been sympathetically designed to mimic a real village, including the amazing luxury lodges, which you can stay in overnight. More information and booking can be found here. I can’t wait to try them.
The Tiger Territory is where you’ll find London Zoo’s tigers. They’ve recently bred two Sumatran tiger cubs who can be seen snuggling up to their mum. The destruction of the Sumatran Tiger’s habitat by oil-palm plantations means there are only 300 left in the wild. The thought that one day future generations will talk about tigers the way we talk about dinosaurs is just too sad.
London Zoo has plenty to do so you probably want around four hours there to do it all comfortably (having said that, we whizzed around in three!). It has a real educational focus and your kids (and you) will be sure to learn a lot that you didn’t know. If you go on a cold winter day like we did, wrap up warm and when you’ve chilled out with the penguins (literally), head to the Butterfly tent to warm up! The Terrace cafe serves excellent pizza, made whilst you wait and you can take packed lunches in there for the kids. They also have a very environmentally friendly fresh water tap for refilling your bottles. A family ticket (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) is just £67.50 when booked online. Children under three are free.