Looking for the perfect day out in London with a pre-schooler? Then look no further than London Zoo.
Set amidst the beautiful leafy setting of Regent’s Park, the 36-acre nature haven has everything you need for a day out with your little one.
Whether your pre-schooler is an Attenborough in the making, has oodles of energy to burn or simply enjoys taking in the sights of the great outdoors, they’re sure to love a day at London Zoo. And, from 20 September - 31 October, Bing and Flop will be at the Zoo! Bingsters will love to follow our free, self-guided trail, storytime sessions, and the chance for a meet and greet.
With 20,000 animals calling the Zoo home, exciting exhibits to explore and multiple routes to take, it might seem overwhelming knowing where to start. We’ve spoken to some of the Zoo’s very own mums and dads to compile a list of ‘insider tips’ for visiting with small children.
Visit on a weekday
Alastair Wilkinson, Marketing Manager
If you can, book your visit for mid-week when the zoo is much quieter. You won’t need to wait to get in, you can explore at a leisurely pace and your little one will have more opportunity to stay longer at the exhibits they love the most. Our brand new Tiny Giants enclosure is an absolute dream for children with its bright colours, sensory light displays and mesmerising coral reef.
P-p-p-peek at a penguin
Eve Noone Taylor, Visitor Activities Manager
Penguin Beach is the UK’s largest penguin pool and is home to a huge colony of Humboldt penguins. Children love that they can see into the exhibit for themselves - there are so many vantage points from the raised decking to the pool-side windows that go all the way to the floor, but my childrens' favourite spot to watch the penguins is inside the underwater viewing bubble.
Daniel Simmonds, Primate Keeper
Take them to see London Zoo’s most lively youngsters at Gorilla Kingdom. Alika and Gernot are so playful and enjoy clambering on their climbing frame just like our smallest visitors would at the park, they’re always so much fun to see. My 22-month old daughter loves watching the Gorilla youngsters play outside and she tries to copy their roly-poly’s when we get home!
Have an animal adventure
Rebecca Blanchard, Media Manager
Our children’s zoo is the perfect spot for everyone to take a pause for a moment. The café in the playground area serves a great selection of sandwiches and snacks, as well as coffees for a caffeine top up! There are lots of brightly coloured picnic benches around this area too, so you can sit down while your little one plays on HMS Beagle (the climbing frame!) or cools off on a hot day in the splash zone (and there are really handy changing rooms nearby).
Take some time out
Angela Ryan, Animal Manager
London Zoo’s tropical bird house, The Blackburn Pavilion, is a brilliant exhibit where you can walk among beautifully coloured birds from around the world. But right outside the exhibit is a mechanical clock, which is so entrancing to watch. Plus nearby there’s a sheltered seating area, as well as a bench near our ornithopter – both of which are perfect picnic or breastfeeding areas.
Have wild conversations
Teague Stubbington, Curator of Mammals
The zoo is a fun, safe place that the whole family can enjoy together, and somewhere you can have great conversations with your children. I love to talk to my daughter about the animals and how they are all different – after talking about animals that climb, she really enjoyed looking in the high treetops of our Rainforest Life exhibit to spot the sloths and tamandua.
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