Entertain the Kids sent Ali Hedley and her children, Sam and Heather, to visit London Zoo. They had an amazing day and can’t wait to go back. Difficult to put their experience into words but here is an insight into their visit, including some “official information” direct from London Zoo.
ZSL London Zoo’s biggest and most breath-taking experience ever, was unveiled to the public as the doors opened to Land of the Lions on Friday 25 March 2016, with the official opening by HRH Queen Elizabeth & Prince Phillip.
Home to a pride of endangered Asiatic lions, the £5.2m Land of the Lions features an awe-inspiring ‘windowless-view’ of the big cat’s enclosure. As visitors enter the crumbling ruin of an amphitheatre-style 360° Temple Clearing, the majestic big cats will roam just metres away, separated only by fine wires.
ZSL London Zoo’s designers visited the lions’ wild home in the Gujarat state in India for inspiration and ideas, and worked with members of London’s Gujarati community to ensure the exhibit lives up to the land it emulates. Rickshaws, bicycles, sacks of spices, maps, rangers’ huts, and even a life-size truck – researched, sourced and shipped from India – are dotted around Land of the Lions, both inside and out of the lions’ domain, highlighting the uniquely-close proximity in which Asiatic lions live with people in their native Indian habitat.
Entertain the Kids were lucky enough to pay a visit to the exhibit on August 19th – here’s what we have to say about our day at the ZSL London Zoo:
The day we visited was not the best weather-wise shall we say, with quite heavy intermittent rain all day! With this in mind, the zoo was far less busy than it usually is and there was no queuing at the entrance at all, which is unusual:– so be prepared to queue on a “better-weather-day!”
The new Land of the Lions exhibit is quite spectacular and you really are a lot closer to the animals than the previous enclosure permitted. There are several more “viewing points” dotted around the exhibit and for the most, you are not looking at the lions “through glass” – but through wire perimeters, which makes a huge difference to observe the animals in their natural habitat.
There is a massive amount of information posted all around the exhibit, detailing all aspects of the plight of the lions in the wild and the on-going attempts of conservation for these beautiful animals.
Be mindful that ZSL London Zoo is HUGE! It will certainly take up a full day and a “quick visit” isn’t possible if you want to see everything on offer.
It also involves plenty of walking, so if you do have mobility issues – bear that in mind. There are plenty of seating areas dotted all around the attraction for a quick rest, but very few of these are “under cover”, so if you do happen to visit on a rainy day: take something suitably waterproof to sit on! (The gift shop does sell plastic ponchos if you get “caught short”) The majority of the exhibits are wheelchair-friendly, but the two slopes to the tunnels are quite steep.
There are regular talks and feeding displays throughout the day, so do take note of “what’s going on where” and allow enough time to get to the exhibit you want to attend!
All the staff are superb and we found every single member to be very helpful and informative, from the keepers themselves through to the shop and entrance staff.
Pricing varies, depending on whether bought in advance on-line, or on the day and you can purchase “fast-track” tickets to by-pass the main entrance queues, although in the past, from personal experience, sometimes the “fast-track” queue is equally as long as the main one! Family and concession tickets are available, although as with most attractions, a “family ticket” consists of “2 adults, 2 children” or “1 adult, 3 children” without taking into consideration any other family unit numbers!
ZSL London Zoo itself is situated within the Regents Park area, accessible via Camden Park, Baker Street or Regents Park underground, although either does involve a fairly long walk from the stations themselves to reach the entrance. (Regents Park is a much nicer walk – through the park!) It is possible to pick up a bus from any of these stations to the zoo entrance. The zoo does not have a car park within its grounds, but there are several “pay and display” car parks along the Outer Circle Road where the main entrance is situated.
We would definitely say that it is exceedingly good value for money, especially compared with some of the other London attractions that charge similar pricing for a far less lengthy or informative visit.
We look forward to visiting again soon!