It was my birthday earlier this week and our family had decided to have a night staying up in London, along with a theatre show. We were pondering what we might do on our second day when BuyAGift offered me the chance for us all to visit London Zoo, on one of their experience day vouchers.
I was very happy to take them up on this and I was thrilled to see that if we had bought one of their family London Zoo entry vouchers for £76 (based on 2 adults and 2 kids), we would have been making a great saving against the advance ticket price for the same, direct with the zoo. A saving of just over £14 on an off-peak day and nearly £20 for a peak weekend date. No worrying about peak and off-peak with the BuyAGift voucher though, that can be used any time for 10 months from purchase.
I've worked with and bought BuyAGift vouchers before, as you can often find really good deals. I've made sure I am signed up for their newsletters and then I get to know when there are deals like 10 or 15% off. One of my favourite deals to buy when there are special discounts on, is the Prezzo 3 course meal and a glass of wine for 2 people.
I was pleased to find that using our BuyAGift voucher was super easy too. Sometimes you have to convert your voucher online and book in advance, but not so with the London Zoo one, we literally had to turn up to the gate and exchange it for entry. It was really easy.
Sadly the moment we walked through the zoo gates the rain started to come, but we decided we weren't going to let it spoil our time there. Of course the rain does mean that some animals will go indoors, but you could still view most of them, like the gorillas. Sadly the glass doesn't make for good photos though as you get glare and reflection from people wearing light colours.
There was a really good programme of animals talks and feeding times throughout the day and this meant that animals which can be hard to spot, like the tiger, came out for a bit and we got to see them. Be warned, you need to get there early to secure a space as it was super busy and can be hard to see.
My girls really liked the animal adventure area, where you could get close to the animals and stroke them. They particularly liked getting in the enclosure with the small goats. I was pleased to see there were toilets and hand washing facilities located close by too. There is also a new play area and water splash zone here, but my kids are all a bit old for it now, but its perfect for toddlers and primary school aged kids.
Probably my favourite area was Land of the Lions. It is a big enclosure where you can see the lions from above and eye level. It is brilliantly themed as India Sasan Gir area, and there are lots of interactive areas for the kids to explore, including these stationary bikes that Miss M is enjoying riding!
Just before the rain really started to pelt down the girls spotted an inflatable slide and obviously wanted a go. It was £2 for 4 slides each, but because it was so wet (the lady warned us so we could make a choice), she let them have quite a few goes each, as they were keeping it dry for her! lol There was also a traditional bouncy castle too and that had a roof cover, so stayed dry.
We headed in to the Terrace restaurant whilst the weather was terrible. It was £1.90 for a can of Pepsi, £3.50 for a plate of chips and my Flat white coffee was £2.70 (if I remember rightly) and a packet of crisps £1.50. I think my son said he saw fish and chips for £13. Needless to say we didn't eat there but just had drinks and a snack. It is a very pleasant place to sit and I'd imagine the outdoor balcony would be lovely when the sun is shining.
We headed out to see the penguins once the weather cheered up a bit and we had missed the Penguin Beach Live feature but there were still keepers about and the penguins seemed very friendly and willing to interact with us. A couple were quite happy to follow Miss M's fingers against the glass as they swam.
We enjoyed going through the Butterfly tunnel and saw so many gorgeous butterflies, but I found it super hard to get a decent picture with my phone.
I really liked the fact there there are loads of different exhibits and enclosures at the zoo, all within close proximity of each other. Making it a very easy zoo to do with anyone who has limited mobility or for pushchairs and little legs to get around.
Even with the on/off rain we were able to stay dry mainly, as we could shade under trees or be in the inside/ walk through exhibits.
In all, we had a great fun at London Zoo, we spent about four hours there and didn't get to see everything as the rain was making things a bit miserable and we were conscious of getting home in a Friday rush hour crowd.
Address: Outer Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY
Telephone: 0344 225 1826 Email: email@example.com
Opening Days/Hours: During the main summer season the zoo is open 10am - 6pm but it does close earlier in the Autumn/ Winter. Check the website before you travel
Parking: There is limited zoo parking, the cost is £14.50 per day currently. There is also on street parking at £2.40 per hour Monday - Saturday.
Accessibility: is generally good across the site. There are accessible toilets, including a changing places toilet. A mobility scooter can be hired on the day too.
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Disclosure: We were gifted a family entry to London Zoo by BuyAGift. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.