ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is a beautiful animal kingdom where we visit quite often. Our last visit was in April for our daughter’s birthday. There is so much to do at Whipsnade Zoo we find it hard to fit it all in, in one day.
It is situated about 20 minutes off the M1 at Junction 21. You have two options for car parking, you can either park outside the zoo for free or pay £20.00 to take the car into the zoo and to be able to drive around. I would only advise taking the car in if you are going with someone who cannot walk far or on a rainy day. We found that taking the car in makes you re trace your steps a lot throughout the day, making it actually quite hard work having to go back to the car to move to the next parking point. If, however, you go in on foot, you can complete a full circle throughout the day and spend more time looking at the animals and save you £20.00.
There is a bus which is constantly driving around the zoo so you can always hop on that if your legs get tired. We aim to see the Bears as soon as we get there as by lunchtime and in the afternoon they are normally rather sleepy and hide away to have their afternoon nap, this is normally the same for the Lions and Tigers too.
There are different daily animal shows, we enjoy the Lemur Breakfast, you can get very close to these unique Madagascan animals whilst they are munching on their breakfast. Then just around the corner you can see our closest living relatives, The Chimps at The Chimp Chat, where they feed them so that you can see them close up which both of our children enjoy.
The only other show (but there are many more) we have seen is The Sealion Splash which is a great place for your little ones to eat lunch whilst watching these entertaining elegant sea mammals. We normally go to the viewing area underneath the water to see them after the show as they are still very active and both of our children like to stand and watch them, mesmerised.
Last time we visited we paid an additional fee to go on the Jumbo Express Steam Train. You must check out the times and get there early as there are only 125 seats and it is very popular. Aboard this impression Steam engine you can see a lot of animals including Elephants, Yaks, Camels and many more. Our children thought it was fantastic to hear the whistle and see the smoke, a great sight which you do not see very often.
Just around the corner from the Railway Station is a good café if you decided not to take a picnic. We have eaten there and it is a canteen style café but the food is good and quite reasonably priced.
If seeing all these beautiful animals is not enough you may want to take the children to the huge play park which has recently been built. There are climbing frames, rope climbers, swings and slides so your little ones can let off some steam before seeing the Flamingos, Hippo, Leopards, Zebra or visiting the farm.
If it is raining, Whipsnade Zoo have The Hullabazoo Indoor Play Area where your little ones can become their own animals in different habitats. So unless you want to race around with them, you can enjoy some food and drink whilst you watch them.
We have always found the toilets to be very clean although sometimes there is quite a distance between them, so just bare that in mind if you are potty training like I was at the time of our last visit.
Upon exiting the zoo you walk have to walk through the shop, which has some amazing gifts for your little ones or as presents for others.
For more information visit https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo