ZSL London Zoo | Kidadl
A gorilla at the London Zoo.

ZSL London Zoo

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  • Take a trip to ZSL London Zoo, where you can see 673 different species of incredible animals at the oldest scientific zoo in the world.
  • Discover more about the amazing creatures that call this place home through the “Meet the Animals” London Zoo experience.
  • Enjoy one of the coolest jobs on the planet with the “Junior Keeper for a Day” experience at London Zoo.
  • Travel through one (or more) of the different routes that are available at the zoo for a varied and exciting view of the different animals that can be found here.

Nestled in the heart of Regent’s Park, ZSL London Zoo is a brilliant family day out where you can experience some of the most interesting animal encounters on the planet. It's the oldest scientific zoo in the entire world; the first London Zoo animals arrived almost 200 years ago in 1828, back when it was known as the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Nowadays, the zoo is home to nearly 20,000 individual animals that make up 673 different species.

Although there are tons of zoos across the country, London Zoo stands out as one of the biggest and most convenient, stretching over 36 acres and being easily accessible from anywhere in the capital. The range of animals on show is guaranteed to garner lots of interest from animal lovers.

A lone tiger prowling through the grass at London Zoo.

The colour-coded pathways through the zoo are a great way to help you make a decision on what to see, especially when there’s so much choice on offer. Each one will give you great views of plenty of animals, large and small. The Zoo also has some open enclosures, where you can see creatures such as butterflies, monkeys, and lemurs right before your eyes.

You can take part in some of the Zoo's awesome experiences, which let you interact with the animals like never before. These experiences include meeting some of the animal species, holding them or even shadowing a zookeeper for a day. Most experiences cost extra and are not included in the zoo ticket price.

You'll also find a fantastic children’s play area. The Hullabazoo Adventure Play has been designed to mimic the ways some of the Zoo’s inhabitants move around the place, allowing kids to climb and crawl their way around it. There are sections for older kids to jump around and play, but also special areas for the Zoo's youngest visitors to enjoy themselves. There are both indoor and outdoor sections of the play area.

Feeling brave? Maybe you’d like to experience the “In With The Spiders” exhibit. This is the only walk-through spider exhibit in the UK, where you can walk right next to some of the most incredible spiders in the world; with no glass between you! This exhibit will show you why spiders are rather unfairly looked upon and how they are really friends, not foes.

If you’d prefer an interactive experience with fewer creepy-crawlies, the butterfly exhibit at London Zoo could be a great choice. Butterfly Paradise is a large, closed walk-through enclosure at the Zoo where you can admire hundreds of magnificent butterflies. The building is heated to mimic the tropical climate that many of these butterflies come from, and is full of the plants of the rainforest. If you stand very still, perhaps a butterfly will mistake you for one of the trees and land on your arm; an incredible way to see these beautiful creatures up close.

The Zoo is also home to some absolutely majestic larger animals, including the beautiful giraffes, who you can get very close to. Other awe-inspiring animals include the incredible Asiatic lions and breathtaking Sumatran tigers. The enclosures of the big cats have been specially designed to resemble their natural habitats in the wild. For the tigers, this means tall trees for them to climb and rest in; an incredible sight that'll wow the whole family.

Not only can admire these amazing animals at the Zoo, but you can also learn more about the conservation projects being created to protect them. Keeper talks are brilliant ways to discover more about the beautiful creatures you’ll see during your visit. The talks are family-friendly and child-oriented, and both kids and adults will come away knowing lots more about the awesome animals you’ve seen.

For kids who want to learn even more about the Zoo, check out ZSL’s Zoo Academy. This fun programme takes place during the summer holidays and other school breaks. There are different academies for different age groups, with the youngest on offer being for 8 to 10-year-olds, and the oldest being for 15 to 17-year-olds. The Zoo Academy programmes take place over 2-5 days and let you engage with the Zoo in amazing new ways, by helping the trainers complete their daily work and learning what it takes to become a zookeeper.

What to know before you go

  • London Zoo opening times are typically 10am - 6pm but hours may change depending on the time of year.
  • The Zoo is split into three routes, each of varying length. The routes are colour-coded and follow a one-way system. They take you round a varied mix of different animals from all across the world. Each route ends in the same place, and you can take them all one after another or just do one, depending on how long you want to spend at the zoo.
  • Feeling peckish The Terrace Restaurant is a restaurant near the Zoo's exit. For lighter bites, the Aquarium Kiosk near the London Zoo entrance serves sandwiches, pastries, and drinks.
  • There are many toilet facilities in the zoo. All toilets have baby-changing facilities inside, and there are also four wheelchair-accessible toilets at the Zoo.
  • London Zoo is accessible for buggies and wheelchairs; there are paved paths throughout the site, and it’s easy to go at whatever pace suits you. There are also lifts available for the higher viewing platforms in the Land of the Lions and the Tiger Territory areas.

Getting there

  • London Zoo is a 20-minute drive from central London and is located at the north end of Regent's Park.
  • London Zoo car park has plenty of spaces and costs £14.50 to park for a day. There is also parking available in the streets surrounding the zoo or around nearby Regent’s Park.
  • If you’re looking for the nearest Tube station to London Zoo, there are a few options. To get the train to London Zoo, Camden Town station (Northern line) is a 15-minute walk, while Regent’s Park station (Bakerloo line) is a 20-minute walk away.
  • Buses to London Zoo include the 274, which drops you just outside the Zoo.

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