Lions of the Serengeti

African lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The Lions of the Serengeti exhibit provides unique and intriguing views of our pride of African lions – a truly unforgettable experience.

African lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Intrepid visitors can experience the sights and sounds of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park in the heart of Bedfordshire, where they will follow a village trail visiting a traditional Maasai dwelling and goat enclosure (boma) on the way to the lion viewing area. They will also be able to learn how herders share the environment with this awe inspiring king of the beasts.

Our innovative viewing area offers uninterrupted views of our pride roaming the plains of Whipsnade, through three metre high floor to ceiling viewing windows. We have even constructed a 'kopje' or sculpted mound in front of the windows, which has proved to be a favourite haunt of the lions, allowing a real close encounter with the pride of Whipsnade!

We have also included special feeding and demonstration areas where keepers will undertake their daily routines to ensure that as well as watching the lions up close, visitors will be able to hear them roar and even smell them! All in all, a truly sensory experience which introduces visitors to some of the complexities of practical conservation in this East African region.

    Lions were brought back to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in 2005 for the first time since 1998. 

    Meet Saturn, Max, Toto, Kia, and Neo face-to-face at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

    African lions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


    Book your tickets now for a really great day out that makes a real difference!

    Gifts for lion lovers

    Meet the Lions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

    Meet the Lions 

    Be one of the privileged few to get up close and feed our pride of African lions with our special Meet the Lions experience.

    Book now 

    African lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

    Adopt the lions 

    With an adoption pack, you can help to care for our lions at ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoo, and support our conservation work to protect lions in the wild. 

    Adopt the lions

    Lioness soft toy

    Lion gifts 

    Find the perfect present for lion lovers in our online shop. 

    Browse the collection

    Interesting facts about the king of the beasts, the majestic African Lion.

    African lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

    Common Name:

    African Lion

    Scientific Name:

    Panthera leo


    Extinct in North Africa. Now found in Africa, south of the Sahara


    Length: Male: 2.6 - 3.3m excluding tail
    Female: 2.4 - 2.7m excluding tail
    Tail: 60 - 100cm

    Weight: Male: 150 - 250kg
    Female: 110 - 180kg


    In the wild the lifespan of lions is approximately 15 years, however in captivity it can be as long as 30 years.


    Lions reach sexual maturity at 2 years old and mate at all times of the year. The gestation period is 102-112 days which usually results in 2 to 5 cubs.


    Lions are social and territorial animals who live in family groups called prides


    Carnivorous, mainly mammals from giraffes to buffalo, deer and carrion


    Varied, from grasslands of East Africa to sands of the Kalahari Desert

    Status in the Wild:

    Range constantly being reduced but not endangered yet.

    Special Features:

    Lions are unique among cats in that the male can be easily distinguished from the female (lioness) because he possesses a mane of hair. As in most cats, the eyes are adapted for seeing at night when they do a lot of hunting. The claws can be retracted in sheaths to prevent them getting blunted when walking across the savannah, which they can do almost noiselessly on soft pads.

    Book Tickets

    Book your tickets now for a wild day out!

    African lions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


    Meet the Lions

    Be one of the privileged few to get up close and feed our pride of African lions with our special Meet the Lions experience.



    £84 per person

    Go behind the scenes with one of our expert zoo keepers and spend time getting to know the lions in our pride, learn more about lions and feed them a tasty snack.

    This is a truly once in a life time experience!

    Please note: Children MUST be over the age of 12 years old to participate and must be accompanied by a participating adult (maximum of 2 children per adult)

    Important information about your experiences:

    Due to current Covid 19 Health and Safety guidance it is mandatory for you to wear a facemask to take part in this experience. We recommend that you bring one with you for your visit. Unfortunately if you are unable to wear a facemask due to being on the list of current government exemptions we are unable to allow you to take part in our Meet the Lions experience at this time. This is to ensure both your safety and that of our animals.

    Meet the Lions experience includes:

    • Meet and feed an African lion
    • Meet an expert zoo keeper and discover more about our lions
    • Kept to a maximum of four participants so you get quality time with the lion and zoo keeper



    What to expect on the day

    This 20 minute VIP experience begins with a health and safety briefing from our expert zoo keeper who will then take you behind the scenes at the African lions exhibit. You will then help our zoo keeper feed a lion whilst learning more about these amazing animals.

    Tip: Meet the Lions takes place behind the scenes and due to the small group size, spectators are not permitted access to this area.

    Important information to know before you book

    • Admission to the zoo is not included and must be purchased separately
    • Participants must be 12 years of age or older 
    • Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult – each adult must also have a valid Meet the Lions ticket. No more than 2 children per adult
    • Pregnant or nursing mothers cannot participate
    • Participants with learning or visual impairment must be accompanied by a carer. Accompanying carers can enter the behind the scenes area free of charge but will not participate in the experience. 
    • Wheelchair access is not available for this experience.
    • Please see our full terms and conditions for more information


    • Meet the Lions takes place at 11am, on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the year.


    • £84 per person

    Please note: ZSL Gold members, Fellows and Patrons receive a 10% discount on this experience. If you are part of the ZSL family, use discount code MTAMem10 at checkout and your 10% discount will automatically be applied when logging in with the email address registered to your membership. Having trouble booking? Please call us to book on 0344 225 1826 or email

    How to book

    • Book online here
    • Call us on 0344 225 1826

    We also offer Meet the Lions as a gift voucher for someone.


      2021 Dates and Prices


      Meet the Lions takes place at 11am, Thursdays and Sundays throughout the year.

      Book now >


      £84 per person

      Call for reservations 0344 225 1826 or book online here

      African lions

      You can also meet: