When you’re looking for a day out with the family, there’s no better place to go than a zoo.
The best part is that there are Zoos all over the UK and Ireland – wherever you live, we’ve got an animal adventure waiting for you!
From gorillas and lions to elephants and penguins, we’ve created this guide so that any child (or adult) can find their perfect day out at any of these amazing UK Zoos.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a walk-through wildlife park in South Yorkshire that is unlike any other. YWP exposes families to some of the world’s most stunning and endangered species, including polar bears, black rhinos, lions, tigers, and giraffes.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a fantastic location to go on an incredible wildlife tour!
They have several indoor and outdoor adventure play areas are available for kids, while adults can relax in our themed dining places.
They host a variety of programs throughout the year, including Summer Safari Nights, Easter Adventures, and their famous Christmas Fair!
Are you looking for a unique experience?
Why not take part in an exclusive VIP behind-the-scenes tour to get even closer to the animals?
Address: Warning Tongue Ln, Old Cantley, Doncaster, DN4 6TB
Near: Doncaster, Sheffield, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Barnsley
With over 21,000 animals and 500 distinct species, the zoo is the UK’s largest charity zoo, claiming to be the country’s best. With 1.9 million yearly visitors, the zoo is a year-round full-day visitor attraction for all ages.
They are open every day except Christmas and Boxing Day. There is free parking on site. They also provide accessible facilities, including self-drive electric scooters and wheelchairs for people who are disabled.
Address: Chester, CH2 1EU
Near: Chester, Liverpool, Warrington, Southport, Manchester, Northwich
The Blackpool Zoo is a fun and educational spot for all ages. The park, which is only 2 miles from the coast, is easily accessible via the M55 motorway.
Over 1,000 animals, birds, and reptiles call the 32-acre park home in a picturesque environment with mature trees, lakes, and spacious lawns where children can burn off their excess energy.
Big cats, elephants, giraffes, sea lions, gorillas, orangutans, camels, zebras, and many more of your favorite animals can be found at this park.
The new Orangutan Outlook was opened in 2014 and allows guests to get up close and personal with these fascinating apes.
The park’s closing times differ depending on the season.
Address: E Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8PP
Near: Preston, Blackburn
In July 1971, the 18th Earl of Derby opened Knowles Safari Park to the public. The idea of visitors in cages (cars) and animals roaming free based on the drive-through game reserves of East Africa was previously unique. Edward Stanley, the 19th Earl, inherited the title in 1994.
The estate, which is only 8 miles (13 km) from Liverpool city centre, was the first safari park to be established near a large metropolis.
Despite some understandable trepidation about the prospect of big-scale animal sightings (including lions) in such close proximity to town, the county and district authorities approved plans.
The first two years of operation included a 3½-mile (5.6 km) drive through Knowsley Safari Park, with lions, cheetahs, monkeys, giraffes, zebra, elephants, and other antelopes as the main attractions.
The park was very popular, so an additional 1½ miles (2.4 kilometers) were added.
The addition of more animals to the collection on exhibit along the 5-mile-long road was made possible via this development. Herds of camels, buffalo, and white rhino were among those displayed, as well as a group of tigers.
Several modifications have had to be made for safety and display reasons, but the fundamental structure has remained largely unchanged.
The tigers and lions are now kept in cages within the game reserves’ visitor centers, whereas the elephants have their own paddock at the end of the safari drive’s walkaround section.
Alongside the jungle, there is a car-friendly loop around the outside of the monkey habitat for visitors who don’t want to get too close to our baboons.
Knowsley Safari Park has established itself as one of Merseyside’s most popular leisure sites, receiving several accolades in the tourism and animal care categories.
Address: Prescot, L34 4AN
Near: Liverpool, Warrington, Southport, Manchester, Northwich, Chester
Peak Wildlife Park
Peak Wildlife Park is located in the Staffordshire Peak District, and it provides a genuinely distinctive and immersive animal encounter.
Their large walkthroughs allow guests to come face-to-face with exotic and endangered species from across three continents.
Whether you adore lemurs, are a penguin enthusiast, or want to accompany the wallabies (and feed them with your hand!) their park has something for everyone.
The irregular keeper speaks and the on-site facilities offer everything you’ll need for an entertaining, thrilling, and educational day out.
You and the kids will enjoy our play area with space hoppers, trikes, and a huge bouncy castle while you may relax with a warm drink and delicious snack.
After you’ve done all of that… Make sure you meet their Meerkats, keep an eye out for otters, listen for the Rheas, and DON’.
Address: Winkhill, Leek, ST13 7QR
Near: Peak District National Park, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Macclesfield, Nottingham
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
You’ll have a fantastic experience at Paignton Zoo, which has 2,500 animals on 80 acres.
Paignton Zoo is one of the South West’s most popular tourist attractions and is located in Devon. It’s a great opportunity to get out there, explore, and become more animalistic.
They’re a registered charity that works in collaboration with zoos around the world to preserve and breed unique species.
You are supporting them in their important work for animals by visiting the zoo.
Come rain or shine, Paignton Zoo is a fun-packed day out for the family, and you’ll need at least a full day to experience everything!
Address: Totnes Rd, Paignton, TQ4 7EU
Near: Plymouth, Dartmoor, Exmouth, Taunton, Yeovil
The Bristol Zoological Society is a conservation and education charity that runs and maintains Bristol Zoo Gardens as well as the Wild Place Project.
They collaborate to safeguard species and habitats across the world, promote sustainable behaviors and attitudes, educate tomorrow’s wildlife defenders, and provide great family fun.
We’ve worked on a variety of projects across the world, from aiding in the re-introduction of white-clawed crayfish to working with villages in the Philippines to preserve the Critically Endangered Negros bleeding-heart dove.
The Bristol Zoo Gardens – one of our attractions – is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and first opened its doors
Since then, it has launched a number of conservation initiatives in the United Kingdom and abroad, educated generations of school-aged children about the importance of nature for human society, and provided more than 90 million tourists with a fantastic day out.
Address: College Rd, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3HA
Near: Bristol, Bath, Weston-Super-mare, Newport
The Colchester Zoo is always changing and has won a number of accolades for its efforts. With more than 270 species to encounter, 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes, the Colchester Zoo is well worth a visit.
There are plenty of play areas to explore at the zoo, including the indoor soft playground Jungle Tumble for toddlers with a section for under three-year-olds and all new fun equipment where children can let their imaginations run wild!
A walk-through enclosure full of butterflies has been added, as well as an enclosure with Rainbow Lorikeets, in which visitors may give them nectar.
‘Bears of the Rising Sun,’ a cutting-edge cage that houses two gorgeous sun bears named Jo-Jo and Srey Ya is also on site.
You may also come face to face with Komodo dragons, view white rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, and kudus in the Kingdom of the Wild, and walk underwater through the 24m tunnel at Playa Patagonia’s sea lion pool.
Watch one of the 50 daily shows to learn more about the animals and get up close with them.
Guests will be able to learn about the ecology and conservation efforts of Madagascar at this park.
Before you leave, check out the KTM nursery where eight-week-old baby elephants are being cared for!
You’ll even get the chance to feed the elephants and giraffes yourself and take a ride on the “Lost Madagascar Express” road train!
Don’t forget to stop by the discovery center and try your hand at some unusual insects or have your face painted and turn into your favorite animal!
Address: Maldon Rd, Heckfordbridge, Colchester, CO3 0SL
Near: Colchester, Chelmsford, Clacton-on-Sea, Ipswich
Shepreth Wildlife Park
Willersmill Wild Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1979 as a private refuge. Willersmill Wild Animal Sanctuary, or “Watchers” as it was called, housed rescued foxes, hedgehogs, and badgers alongside many other species of unlicensed exotics.
Many were released back into the wild once they had recovered, although where this was not feasible, they spent the rest of their lives at the sanctuary.
Today, Shepreth Wildlife Park remains a busy “Hedgehog Hospital,” but it also participates in national and international breeding projects for threatened species.
The park’s commitment to its animals and conservation, as well as education, has not wavered.
There are so many different creatures to meet that you’ll have a hard time deciding where to begin!
Marvel at the tigers’ tremendous ‘roar’ power in the Big Cat House or study the mischievous monkeys on Monkey Island.
The Park’s primary goal is to get up close and personal with the park’s residents. Shepreth Wildlife Park, in its natural surroundings, has grown to be one of East Anglia’s major attractions since it opened its doors to the public in 1984 and houses tigers, otters, monkeys, reptiles, and even invertebrates that are creepy crawlies!
There’s so much to do at the Nocturnal House, from daring to enter it to playing “pirates,” and even stroking a cockroach!
The park also has a variety of activities available for hire, including hand-feeding the ring-tailed lemurs in Meerkat Manor and interacting with meerkats. It’s a fantastic day out for the whole family!
Address: Station Rd, Shepreth, Royston, SG8 6PZ
Near: Cambridge, Bedford, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Northampton, Kettering, Luton
Woburn Safari Park
Visit Woburn for a day full of animal encounters and breathtaking wildlife.
With over 80 species of exotic and wild animals, including lions, tigers, and bears, it is one of the greatest places to see them all in one place.
It is now an award-winning attraction that helps preserve the environment.
It’s also a location where families can spend time together and see animals in a picturesque setting.
Your day out includes multiple repeat trips through animal reserves on the Road Safari, after which you may go on excursions in the Foot Safari with an exciting daily program of keeper lectures and demonstrations.
Woburn Safari Park’s most popular attractions are all included in your affordable admission price.
Address: Station Rd, Shepreth, Royston, SG8 6PZ
Near: Bedford, Northampton, Oxford, Cambridge, Chelmsford
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
The Royal Zoological Society of London (RZSL) Whipsnade Zoo is the UK’s largest zoo, with 3,800 distinct animals and 600 acres of beautiful countryside.
Spend a day learning about new breeds you’ve never heard of before!
What should you see first? Travel by steam train across the animal territory on the Jumbo Express, marvel at the cheetahs as they go by, and say hello to the rhinos in their paddock.
Then get an up-close look at the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe, on a specially constructed viewing deck.
Also don’t miss out on ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s unique aquarium featuring some of the deadliest and most fascinating freshwater fish – including species that are already extinct in the wild!
Bring your children to see what goes on in the forest each day. Your kids can learn all about the locals and their habitats at these daily animal shows and lectures.
They may even sit at the table during a Lemur Breakfast! What do these ring-tailed beauties eat first thing in the morning?
Address: Whipsnade, Dunstable, LU6 2LF
Near: Dunstable, Luton, Aylesbury, Hempstead
ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is full of mystery and amazement, with over 650 species of animals to meet and thousands more amazing facts waiting to be discovered.
Asiatic lions and our amiable giraffes dine while you interact with them. While they have lunch, get up close and personal with our Asiatic lions and peaceful giraffes.
Visit them in Madagascar’s shrub forest to see how many of their ring-tailed lemurs you can spot before heading down to B.U.G.S to quiz the insect experts on the importance of arthropods in our ecosystem.
Then, if you’re daring, climb up close and personal and take a Spider Selfie with their resident arachnids at Europe’s only walk-through spider exhibit.
Not to mention fan favorites Gorilla Kingdom, Penguin Beach, and Tiger Territory. This is where enjoyable days help us raise money.
Your visit will help support our conservation efforts in over 50 countries across the world. Wherever you may go, there are always new and exciting things to discover.
Address: Outer Circle, London, NW1 4RY
Near: Regents Park, Camden Town, Farringdon, Mayfair
Paradise Wildlife Park
The Zoological Society of Hertfordshire (ZSH) is their designated charity, with a dedicated and knowledgeable staff who look after our animals and generate funds to support wildlife conservation initiatives both in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
Although the projects they support change from year to year, one of ZSH’s primary goals is the conservation in their natural habitat of a number of threatened and endangered species that you will encounter in the Park.
All profits from the ZSH gift stall at the animal park are donated to charity, and regular special fundraising activities continue to be popular.
Their Big Cat Night, Pamper Night, and Native Species Weekend are a few of their events, and they’d like you to join them. They are also thankful for all of the lovely donations they get.
Address: White Stubbs Ln, Broxbourne, EN10 7QA
Near: Luton, Watford, Chelmsford, London
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
Closer to Animals! Stroll through the Park, discovering over 260 distinct animal species in 160 acres of picturesque parkland and magnificent gardens.
Get up close with a Giraffe, interact with Lemurs at our Madagascar exhibit, and observe Rhinos grazing in front of the Gothic listed Manor House, which is only a ha-ha apart.
Take a ride on Bella the Train throughout the Park, or let the youngsters explore their adventure playground. Have lunch in the restaurant or have a picnic on our beautiful grounds.
Visit the farmyard with your kids to feed the goats or watch as penguins are fed (daily at 11 am and 3 pm).
Take a peek inside our Reptile House, which includes crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and lizards, or watch the bats fly around in the Bat House or observe the crawly things in the Insect House if you’re brave.
Stroll through their Walled Garden with Meerkats, Otters, Prairie Dogs, Penguins, and a Tropical Endeavor with free-roaming sloths, bats, and birds.
The beautiful garden provides a lovely frame for the animals.
Address: Bradwell Grove, Burford, OX18 4JP
Near: Oxford, Swindon
Longleat Safari Park
Travel by road, railway, canal, and foot to discover a range of wildlife from across the world such as lions, tigers, wolves, kangaroos, porcupines, and sea lions. This is Longleat. Jump in!
A family-friendly day out with a drive-through safari and major town attractions to discover. There’s a lot to cram into one day, but animals are frequently the highlight for kids.
Address: Warminster, BA12 7NW
Near: Bath, Salisbury
The world-famous, action-oriented charity Marwell Wildlife owns Marwell Zoo.
Their team of Conservation Biologists, who are based in the United Kingdom and Africa, is working to protect global biodiversity and achieve a sustainable future through initiatives such as these.
Their skilled scientists create adaptive projects to find some of the most important animal habitats and help restore destroyed ecosystems in an effort to live in balance with nature.
If you’re looking for things to do in Hampshire, visit Marwell Zoo and learn more about Marwell Wildlife’s conservation mission or discover more about their conservation efforts.
Address: Thompson’s Ln, Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH
Near: Eastleigh, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Winchester, Salisbury
New Forest Wildlife Park
The couple that runs the New Forest Wildlife Park are big animal lovers, and they want to encourage people from all over the world to learn more about conservation.
Many of their species, such as the enormous otter, are on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Animals and
They were the first park in the UK to send a captive-bred giant otter to an international breeding program overseas.
In 2013, young giant otter Katuma was sent to Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain, Trinidad, where he met his specially chosen spouse, Suzie.
At New Forest Wildlife Park, they collaborate with all relevant authorities to ensure that our animals receive the greatest care possible.
In the future, some of their species, such as their European bison, may be included in worldwide captive breeding programs.
These programs are strictly regulated to guarantee healthy breeding populations are available for species at risk.
Address: Deerleap Ln, Southampton, SO40 4UH
Near: Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Winchester, Salisbury
British Wildlife Centre
David Mills started the British Wildlife Centre in 1997. David was a dairy farmer for 30 years on the site of what is now the wildlife centre, where he won numerous awards with his Venn herd of pedigree Jersey cows, which was one of the finest Jersey herds in the country at that time.
David sold his beloved herd in 1994 to pursue his second ambition – to establish his own zoo.
He felt there was a need to educate the public about native species and the difficulties they confront living in the wild in today’s Britain, so he specialised in British fauna.
The Centre finally opened to the public for pre-booked visits in 1998, with David handling everything himself, including caring for the animals and giving guided tours while a friend helped out with administration.
In 2000, the Centre became fully accessible to the general public, and it has expanded gradually but steadily since then, with over 20 workers currently on staff.
Address: Eastbourne Rd, Newchapel, Lingfield, RH7 6LF
Near: Crawley, Tonbridge
Howletts Wild Animal Park
Visit Howletts, Kent’s original wildlife park, for a unique experience like no other!
Your visit directly helps them to preserve animals in the UK by allowing them to return animals to the wild in collaboration with The Aspinall Foundation, a dedicated animal conservation charity.
Through captive breeding, education, and reintroduction into the wild, we may obtain a deeper knowledge of some of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems and endangered species.
Address: Bekesbourne Ln, Bekesbourne, Littlebourne, Canterbury, CT4 5EL
Near: Canterbury, Ramsgate, Maidstone, Dover
Twycross Zoo – located on the border between Leicestershire and Warwickshire in England. Twycross Zoo is a conservation organization that has an outstanding schools program and something for everyone 365 days a year.
They have around 500 animals of almost 100 species to discover, including many endangered creatures and indigenous species in the Zoo’s Nature Reserve, which is spread over more than 80 acres.
The Zoo was founded in 1963 by Molly Badham and Natalie Evans, owners of a pet shop, who were expanding their zoological collection.
Bonobo Mother & BabyTwycross Zoo is now recognized as a World Primate Centre, with bonobos and other monkeys and apes available.
Address: Burton Road, Atherstone, CV9 3PX
Near: Leicester, Wolverhampton, Burton on Trent, Nottingham, Coventry
West Midland Safari Park
Take advantage of their company for a wonderful family day out… On the four-mile Safari Drive-through, you’ll encounter world’s most spectacular and beautiful creatures such as the docile giraffe, magnificent rhino, inquisitive African wild dog, amazing African elephants, and magnificent lions and tigers.
Have a look around the Discovery Trail and discover our Reptile House, Twilight Cave, Creepy Crawlies, Aquarium, Lorikeet Landing, Sea Lion Theatre, and Penguin Cove. In Lemur Woods you may view cheeky meerkats and vivacious lemurs.
At no extra charge, there are daily hands-on animal encounters, Sea Lion Shows, lemur talks, and hippo feeds!
Journey back in time as you explore Land of the Living Dinosaurs and Ice Age, featuring extinct animals that once inhabited the planet! Boj’s Giggly Park is a multi-sensory experience for youngsters.
Purchase Adventure Theme Park wristbands to go on rides.
Address: Spring Grove Rd, Bewdley, Kidderminster, DY12 1LF
Near: Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Shropshire, Shrewsbury
The zoo, which opened in May 1937, has an area of about 40 acres. There are two scheduled monuments at this unique location: an 11th-century castle and limestone caverns (both Grade 2*), as well as 12 Tecton buildings (four Grade 2*) that are Grade 2 listed.
The third Earl of Dudley, who purchased the estate in 1871, decided on a team of Modernist architects to build the zoo after seeing photographs of London Zoo. They developed a revolutionary new design for constructing: Tectons.
The buildings have stood the test of time and Dudley Zoo has the world’s largest collection of Tectons, which was granted World Monument Status in 2009.
Today, a variety of animal housing, paddocks, and enclosures house our diverse species count of 200.
Address: Castle Hill, Dudley, DY1 4QF
Near: Birmingham, Kidderminster, Wolverhampton, Walsall
Hamerton Zoo Park
The Huntingdonshire Wolds is home to an uncommon and threatened variety of animals in a natural country setting, covering more than 20 acres of the Hamerton wolds and including several species that are unique to Hamerton and not seen anywhere else in the United Kingdom.
The typical favourites such as meerkats, zebras, camels, monkeys, and many birds can all be found in the enclosure.
The fantastic Cheetahs and Bengal and White Tigers, including their brand new tiger house
A free car and coach park is provided. The entrance shop, as well as a coffee shop that serves light meals and beverages, snacks, and ice cream, is available.
Covered walkways, picnic sites, and new children’s Railway-Express Train operation on dry days in the school holidays.
Address: 2 Hamerton Rd, Steeple Gidding, Huntingdon, PE28 5RE
Near: Peterborough, Cambridge, Bedford, Northampton
Manor Wildlife Park
Manor Wildlife Park’s goal is to safeguard and defend threatened species’ habitats. Ex-situ species have been introduced to a natural Pembrokeshire environment.
Single and multi-species enclosures with as few apparent boundaries as possible are used to give visitors the feeling of free range while at the same time assuring the safety of both human and non-human animals.
In the Spring of 2008, Anna Ryder Richardson and her husband Colin MacDougall bought the park. Manor Park has experienced significant conservation-based modifications since then.
The park is in the midst of a major restoration initiative that will see it rise from a severely run-down outdated animal park to a world-class animal facility.
Address: St Florence, Tenby, SA70 8RJ
Near: South Wales, Tenby, Pembroke, Penally, Kilgetty
Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
They’ve always been farmers, but they are so much more than that. At Folly Farm, you may encounter over 750 animals and get up close to furry and feathery farmyard companions in the barn.
Choose from 17 different rides on our old fairground, or try their eight fun adventure play areas. They have 120 acres of entertainment, so there’s something for everyone!
Address: Begelly, Kilgetty, SA68 0XA
Near: South Wales, Kilgetty, Templeton
Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary
The facilities are located in the lovely Brecon Beacons National Park region of South Wales.
The sanctuary saves and houses a variety of misfortunate creatures, particularly primates, such as chimpanzees, baboons, mandrills, spider monkeys, vervets, capuchins, mangabeys, and marmosets.
Although they specialize in the care and protection of primates, they are unwilling to watch other animals in need.
Their sanctuary will thus house wolf dogs, horses, donkeys, cattle, pigs, and others.
All are valued members of their extended family who deserve the same amount of attention as any other animal.
Visitors are welcome to observe the animals and the work they do.
They rescue a variety of creatures from zoos and laboratories where they have been mistreated or neglected, or are no longer wanted.
As a result, they can only try to make the rest of their lives as pleasurable and stressful-free as possible.
Address: Caehopkin, Abercrave, SA9 1UD
Near: Brecon Beacons National Park, Swansea, Aberdare, Neath,
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) runs Edinburgh Zoo. The zoo was established in July 1913, and the society was founded in March 1909.
The Zoo is located three miles to the west of Edinburgh city center on an 82-acre slope parkland.
The Visitor Centre offers visitors the chance to interact with over 1,000 unique and endangered species in a variety of ways.
You may participate in a packed schedule of educational events and activities, ranging from keeper talks to hands-on animal interactions, as well as a broad range of eating options, several play areas, and an exceptional gift shop.
Address: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Rd, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS
Near: Edinburgh, Livingston
Main Photo by Clare Smith on Unsplash