Our trip to London Zoo coincided with the hottest day of the year. While I loved finally getting some Vitamin D, the kids found walking miles around the zoo in the heat tiring! Despite that there were lots of refreshment options which didn’t involve a lot of retracing of steps and lots of toilets with NO QUEUES. 10/10 for loos.
The famous zoo was opened in 1928 as a centre for scientific study and was only opened to the public 20 years later.
The zoo were world firsts in opening a reptile house, an insect house and a public aquarium. While lots has changed since Victorian times – some features remain, including the now listed, beautiful original penguin pool – no longer used for penguins.
The new Penguin Beach is the first stop when you enter the zoo – and an impressive one too. You can see the penguins swimming under the water and watch them being fed.
The insect house was a fave with us, apart from me having flashbacks to living in a house with a cockroach problem…
The aquarium was a high point, where we had to quite literally push two teenagers out of the way to get this picture of Nemo and Marlin:
And thank goodness my husband wasn’t with us (he could weep at the mere thought of a tiger, he loves them so much!) when this tiger came right up to the glass and stood still for 5 seconds, letting us admire him.
Good news for ZSL’s tigers: there’s a new “Tiger Territory” opening next year – 5 times bigger than the enclosure they currently have. The Conservation HQ will not only be a centre for the European conservation breeding programme for Sumatran tigers, but provide another platform to gain more vital knowledge about these animals, which can be directly applied to saving them in the wild.
It’s a great day out for the whole family (which Jerry Seinfeld once said is something that simply doesn’t exist!) but don’t forget that your entrance fee contributes to the crucial conservation work ZSL do across the world, including in the tigers’ last real strongholds – Bangladesh, Indonesia and Russia. They work to lobby policy makers, create wildlife corridors, carry out regular patrols and work with communities to reduce human-tiger conflict. Tigers are endangered, the Sumatran tiger is down to just 300 individuals in the wild, and what you spend at the zoo will go directly to helping this beautiful animal survive.
The only downside was that for the second year running we started at the entrance and worked the same way round, so for the second year running were all too tired to see the giraffes.
Ah well, there’s always next time – can’t wait!