Marwell Zoo | Kidadl

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  • Explore the awesome Marwel Zoo and see hundreds of exotic and endangered animals in 140 acres of beautiful parkland.
  • Learn all about the animal kingdom and check out the daily animal talks and feeds.
  • Meet all your favourite species, from cheeky meerkats, colourful birds, to beautiful snow leopards.
  • Little explorers can climb, swing, run and slide in the four fantastic adventure playgrounds.  
  • Immerse yourself into the wonders of the natural world and take a look around the Tropical House, where you will discover two levels of wildlife.

Get closer to nature and enjoy a wildlife-rich experience with your children at the brilliant Marwell Zoo, which is situated on the fringe of the South Downs National Park in Colden Common near Winchester in the beautiful county of Hampshire. Home to over 140 endangered and exotic species, Marwell Zoo is a owned by the charity Marwell Wildlife, who are dedicated to conservation with an aim to preserve global biodiversity and go after a sustainable  future.

The 140-acre wildlife park has a great variety of star animals at the zoo, from endangered white rhinos, snow leopards and Amur tigers to Humboldt penguins, gibbons, giraffes, meerkats, cheetahs, plus much more. Marwell Zoo is set in 140 acres of stunning parkland and is home to over 140 exotic and endangered species from around the globe.

A giraffe rubbing its nose on a giraffe statue at Marwell Zoo.

Venture to Penguin Cove and discover the noisy Humboldt penguins dipping and diving in the water. In the underground cave, watch them fly through the water at lightening speed. There is a play area in the back where you can take a selfie with the carved shark and sea lion sculpture.

There may not be any elephants at Marwell Zoo, but there are a whole host of other interesting species to discover! Make sure you visit the extraordinary gentle giants of the zoo, the giraffes, who share their home with the ring-tailed lemurs of Lemur Loop, Nearby, you will discover the mountain bongos, who will most probably be grazing on a variety of grasses, leaves and shoots. If your children. Children will love learning all about the exciting world of monkeys at Marwell. There are several species of new-world monkeys, including white faced saki, silvery marmoset monkeys and cotton top tamarins. There are also some Siamangs, a black-furred gibbon, who enjoy swimming in trees like orangutang.

Take a walk around the two-level Tropical House, where you will find even more Marwell Zoo animals in a tropical climate.  Experience face-to-face encounters with a a whole variety of Marwell wildlife, including Linne's two-toed sloth, free-flying birds, a group of pygmy marmosets and the crocodile monitor lizard. Can you hear the yellow-throated frogs below the cascading waterfall? There is even a magnificent 70000-litre aquarium, where you can discover 2,500 fish living!  

Head into the wild and discover the beautiful and ferocious Amur tigers, which can be located in the centre of the zoo.  Immerse yourself in the African wilderness at Marwell's biggest exhibit, Wild Explorers. See Grevy’s zebra, white rhinos and scimitar-horned oryx in this exhibit, whom Marwell is actively involved in. conserving. You may even be able to spot some ostrich here as well. There is a brilliant raised observation boardwalk where you can get fantastic close-up views of the iconic species. Afterwards, little explorers can enter the discovery zone and the themed play area. Practise your ranger skills on the Explores Trail, and aim to collect all eight Stamos around the wildlife park.

Don't miss the Fur, Feathers and Scales exhibit, which houses some of Marwell's birds, reptiles and mammals. Stroll through the colourful walkthrough aviary and marvel at the beautiful exotic birds. Further along, see two red panda's, Mei Mei ad Peter, who are surrounded by low-lying bushes and planted bamboo, and the Bennett's wallabies in the bush walk. If your kids love snakes, they are in for a treat in the Cold-Blooded Corner where they can discover the Madagascan area boa and the venomous reticulate Gila monster.

Kids can also take part in the daily feeding sessions, talks, and events that the zoo hosts all year round. As well as having endless open spaces to enjoy, there are also four adventure playgrounds for kids aged 0-12-years of age. Discover the beautiful grounds and gardens at the attraction, who are located behind Marwel Hall. The formal gardens includes three stunning garden styles of the 16th and 17th century.

There is also a brilliant free road train to take you around the zoo. The stops around Marwell Zoo includes the giraffes, the tigers and Fur, Feathers and Scales and the gift shop. There is also a 64-passenger rail train that takes you for a 15-minute round trip past the pygamy hippos, capybaras, Grevy's zebras, flamingos, white rhinos, ostrich and the scimitar-horned oryx.

Kidadler Rachel had a fantastic day out at the zoo. She says, "Visited Marwell Zoo which is very sweet and you get very close to the animals who are mostly in enormous enclosures (so free to roam etc). Thoroughly recommend." Her top tip is to arrive early and to bring a picnic.

If you are looking for things to do in Winchester after your zoo visit, there are a variety of brilliant Hampshire attractions nearby. Marwell Outdoor Activity Centre is just down the road from Marwell Zoo. Situated in the South Downs National Park, Buster Ancient Farm has archaeological reconstructions of ancient buildings fromRoman Britain, the Stone Age and the Anglo-Saxon period.  The world-famous National Motor Museum in the New Forest is also a must-visit for children and adults alike.

What to know before you go

  • Marwell Zoo opening times are 10am each day and the last entry is 90 minutes prior to closing. Marwell Zoo is open all year round, except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
  • Expect your visit to Marwell Zoo to last at least four to five hours.
  • Pick up your Explorers Trail from the information cabin.
  • Please supervise children at all times whilst they play in the adventure playgrounds.
  • Check out the schedule for the daily talks, feeds and activities at the information cabin, which is just inside the entrance.  
  • There is a fact packed guide book available to purchase from admissions. It has a park map and has lots of fascinating facts as well about the zoo in Hampshire.
  • Get something to eat at Cafe Graze, which is a self-service restaurant and serves locally sourced foods . It is situated next to the meerkast and has a lovely view of the Valley field. It serves hot foods, savoury and sweet snacks and kids' picnic boxes.  There is a microwave viable to heat baby food.
  • Or enjoy a picnic in the beautiful surroundings. There are also dedicated picnic spots at Wild Explorers and close to the Pygmy hippos.
  • The road train can take one standard sized wheelchair. There is a free pushchair park at each stop if you have a buggy with you or you can fold it and place it under the seat if it's small enough.
  • Tickets for the rail train can be bought at the Penguin Station or the gift shop. The train service operates from spring until October at weekend and school holidays. It is possible to leave your buggy on the train platform opposite Penguin Cove.
  • Marwell Zoo is wheelchair accessible. There are a limited amount of manual wheelchairs available to to borrow. All the toilets have disabled cubicles. There is also a Changing Places toilet available near the snow leopards.
  • Baby-changing facilities are available in all the toilet blocks. There is also one in Cafe Graze.
  • There are hearing loops in the reception, admissions area and gift shop.
  • The on-site gift shop close to the zoo exit sells a range of temping treats and wonderful goodies.
  • Scooters and roller skates are not permitted in Marwell Zoo.  
  • There are a variety of Marwell Zoo events throughout the year, including Photographic Experience Days and Family Fun Days.
  • The Marwell Zoo Christmas events are hugely popular and you can expect various delights during the festive season.
  • If you would like to stay overnight, Marwell Zoo hotel is located directly opposite marvel Wildlife.

Getting there

  • The nearest railway station is Eastleigh, which is five miles away. Southhampton Airport Parkway station is seven miles away and Winchester station is eight miles away. From each of these stations, it's worth taking a taxi to the zoo.
  • The Stagecoach route 69 service runs from Winchester to Marwell Zoo on Sundays.
  • If you are coming to Marwell by car, the zoo is located just three miles from the M3. There is free on-site parking with accessible parking spaces.

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