The Smartsave Team visited ZSL London Zoo. So, let us take you on an adventure to a fascinating, real-life animal kingdom …
Only a ten minutes’ walk from Camden Town station, centrally located in London’s Regent’s Park, you can find ZSL London Zoo. The world’s oldest scientific Zoo opened its doors to the public in 1847 and is now home to 19,035 animals. It is one of London’s most famous attractions and a must-do for tourists, as well as for locals. So, the Smartsave Team decided to pay the popular animal park a visit.
We started our journey by making our way into Africa. After unsuccessfully looking for the hippos in their paddock, we asked ourselves: where would we spend a cold November day? Right, in the Hot Tub! And that’s where the happy hippos were. Relaxing in the Pygmy Hippo Hot Tub, the animals can enjoy plenty of sleep and long soaks. Their neighbours, the giraffes, were much more delighted by the rare occurrence of sunshine. From the viewing platform, we had a great view on the two graceful animals – indeed a giraffe perspective.
Even though the Zebra’s stripes are supposed to dazzle others, they couldn’t confuse us with them. However, their predators right next doors, the African Hunting Dogs, seem to haven’t noticed them yet. We got to the dogs’ exhibit right on time to see the animal keepers letting them out. We were quite thankful for the fence, separating us from the, despite the beautifully patterned fur, dangerous looking canines.
To calm our nerves, we continued our journey to the Madagascan jungle. The walk-through lemur experience is a path leading through an exhibit, where the unique primates can enjoy leaping, climbing, and sunbathing on basking platforms – and feel just like home. Going to the basement of that very same building, we got the unique chance to encounter rainforest animals only active at night or during twilight, such as Malagasy Giant Jumping Rats, Aye-Ayes, Bush Babies, Slender Lorris, Bats, and many more. Some of them kept staring at us from their glowing yellow eyes, so be sure not to be scared in the dark if you decide to enter this world.
The trip to Madagascar ended with a true highlight. In the open lemur exhibit, there were different species of monkeys and even a sloth! All so close that we could’ve touched them (of course, we didn’t, though). We could identify with the sloth very well. Most of the time hanging around, sleeping 15 to 20 hours a day – what a wonderful life that must be.
Next up: some of the Zoo’s most adorable inhabitants, the meerkats. Frolicking with the ‘mob’ and enjoying the warmth of the sun, the cuteness of the small creatures coming from the desert put a smile to all our faces. Equally sweet, but not to underestimate are the otters.
Following the signs, we were taken on a short walk through a tunnel of zoological history. It showcased the major milestones of the Zoo’s history and giving interesting background information. The tunnel led us directly to the Terrace Restaurant, a perfect spot to take a break. At the London Zoo, not only the animals are from all over the world, but also the food. We could hardly decide what to choose, there truly is an option for every taste. And if you brought something to eat with you, there is a nice seating area outside to enjoy your picnic.
We didn’t stay at the restaurant for long, though. The Penguin Beach caught our attention, and we couldn’t wait to finally go there! Beautifully recreated, the exhibit resembles a South American beach for the Humboldt penguins, including a large pool for the animals to take a swim in. Be prepared for a big spectacle at England’s biggest penguin pool when it’s feeding time!
After staying at the pool for a while it was time to move on and experience more wildlife. We walked through the Butterfly Paradise, a massive caterpillar showcasing a huge variety of wonderful butterfly species, we saw pink flamingos standing on one leg, and we observed gorgeously coloured macaws. Truly beautiful sights!
Do you only know Simba, King Mustafa, and Scar from the movie The Lion King? Then it’s high time to step in the ‘Land of the Lions’! You can choose your path through the Indian-inspired exhibit. Of course, we walked through all of them and discovered the Indian town in the heart of London Zoo. Only separated by a glass pane, we came closer to a lion than ever before.
Almost even scarier for us than being up close to those wild animals was the B.U.G.S centre hosting insects, spiders, millipedes … However, we learned loads about why we actually do need bugs to keep up the biodiversity on the planet. Indeed, a very informative stop. Right next door to it we had a fun time observing the squirrel monkeys in their natural habitat, watching them jump from tree to tree and teasing the zookeepers.
The excitement of getting so close to lions, bugs, and monkeys made us ready for a break once again, so we stopped at another one of the many cafes in ZSL London Zoo, the Peckish Parrot Café. We spent it eating delicious treats, drinking coffee, and having a fun time at the new Animal Adventure and The Farmyard, suitable for young and old alike. In the petting area of the zoo we could enter the goat pen and pet lamas and alpacas, as well as meet mongooses and meerkats, since we loved them so much.
After walking past the calmly hay chewing camels, we were very curious to see Asim, the Sumatran tiger. Because if you thought the London Zoo only has to offer lions out of the huge variety of big cats, you’re wrong. We almost couldn’t get our eyes off the majestic cat, wandering back and forth, covered in a beautiful orange coat with black stripes. Even us as laypersons realised that the exhibit seemed to be perfectly designed to suit all the needs of a tiger.
The path further through the Tiger Territory led us to the world’s largest lizard, the very scary, sharp toothed Komodo Dragon and finally, to the Reptile House. The outsides of the historic building housing the reptiles are impressive. However, the animals inside are even more fascinating. And if you have the impression of having seen the place before, like we did, you probably really do know it. Here, Harry Potter talks to the python and releases it in the film Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. We really hoped there were no wizards or witches around to make the glass, separating us from the toads, snakes, lizards, and crocodiles, simply disappear.
At the Zoo Shop, we made sure to buy ourselves a lovely souvenir. Deciding was hard given the fact that there was so much to choose from. Unfortunately, that brought our trip to ZSL London Zoo to an end. The whole Smartsave team had an amazing time and we all cannot wait to be back sooner rather than later.
Wonder why we’re telling you all about ZSL London Zoo and what a fun trip we had? In order to make you jealous? No! Because with Smartsave you can now get a 20% discount on your tickets for the London Zoo!