ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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The zoo is suitable for all ages and everyone in our family group aged 8m-75 enjoyed the day equally.

MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS

We really enjoyed our day at Whipsnade. There were plenty of big and small animals to see and the animals have lots of space and seemed content and well cared for. The giraffe enclosure now has viewing platforms and you can see the sea lions swim underwater so you can come face to face with the animals.

We enjoyed the sea lions show and were impressed by the birds show. A lot of the shows and talks happen at similar times so it is worth checking the leaflet or online.

The new butterfly house was fabulous. Spotter cards were available so you identify the butterflies you see flying around. There is a hands on section in which you could look at crysalides, butterfly wings and the butterfly life cycle is illustrated.
We enjoyed a picnic overlooking Dunstable Downs near the Penguins.

The train ride was super and not to be missed. The playground looked tremendous but we had come to the zoo for the day to see animals.

Although expensive everyone in our group enjoyed the day out.

Address: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, LU6 2LF.

Website: www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/visitor-information

Playground: Hullabazoo Adventure Play – a massive brand new outdoor play area with climbing frames, slides, swings, wobbly bridges, zip wires etc. There are two big frames designed for different ages, one for smaller ones (under 5ish) and bigger one (over 5ish).

Hullabazoo indoor play – a big indoor soft play zone designed around different habitats enabling your children to have fun and mimic their favourite animals. You’ll be able to watch your little ones crawl through the garden, climb like an insect or journey through the Antarctic to become a penguin sliding down the ice.

Hulabazoo farm – a hands on farm area where you can touch and meet animals such as Pygmy goats, pigs, ferrets, ponies and chickens. You can follow me out about how to look after them and help out.

Cafe: There are many cafes dotted around ranging from small coffee shops, kiosks, to the larger Wild Bite which serves hot food as well as sandwiches etc, there’s also a Jacket Potato hut and BBQ stall. Tea and coffee were rather expensive but were necessary!

There are loads of picnic benches with good animal views.

Toilets: Many toilet buildings dotted around. There was one nearby whenever we needed one. All had baby change facilities and were clean.

Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: The Zoo is huge. You can pay to take your car in to get around but this is as expensive as an extra person. It’s also a one way system around the zoo! It’s very buggy friendly and slopes instead of steps in most places. There’s also a free bus which you can hop on and off to get around. The steam train is fantastic and you get to see a good section of the zoo. Buggies need to be left at the little station. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is considered reasonably wheelchair friendly.

Parking: There’s a massive free car park if you want to leave your car. If you want to take your car into the zoo then there are lots of smaller car parks around and on road parking too.

Nearest Station: Luton and Hemel Hempstead (both about 10 miles away from the Park).

Trains from London:

First Capital Connect train services run from St Pancras to Luton with an average journey time of 30 minutes. London Midland run services from London Euston to Hemel Hempstead & Tring also with an average journey time of 30 minutes.

Bus: The park is now served by Centrebus route X31, linking Luton Central Station, Luton Centre, Dunstable and Hemel Hempstead (Centre and Rail Station) with the zoo. It runs approximately every 2 hours, Monday to Saturday (with some extra peak time buses).

Phone: 08442251826.

Email: [email protected].

ABOUT:

There are a range of ‘shows’ each day with some special seasonal shows and feeding time talks. Leaflets can be picked up detailing the show times.

In the Discover Centre there are activities for children including colouring, mask making and making a butterfly feeder and there was also a CBBC linked adventure trail for older children.

Most excitingly there is a steam train (for additional cost £4.50 adults, £1.50 for children 3+). The 20min journey takes you around part of the zoo. The commentary is by a member of staff on board who points out the animals you can see and tells you information about then. It takes you through the safari part which is only accessible by car otherwise and you get to see a good range of animals such as elephants, antelopes and camels.

The zoo is suitable for all ages and everyone in our family group aged 8m-75 enjoyed the day equally.

Tickets are expensive: adult £22.75 (£25 with a donation), child 3-15 £16.35 (£18), under 3 free. Concessions for seniors, students or disabled adults £20.45 (£22.50) are only available at the gate.

Online family offers 2 adults + 2 children or 1 adult
+ 3 children £64.58 (£71.10).

To take a car into the park costs £22. We used Tesco Clubcard points vouchers to pay at the gate.

 

Review by Vanessa Legouix

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Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: www.mummysginfund.co.uk.

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