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Chester Zoo is Britain's most visited zoo with some 2 million visitors every year (pre-pandemic figures). It has impressive conservation credentials, covers 128 acres, holds in excess of 20,000 animals and employs more than 1,000 people. The zoo was founded in 1931 by George Mottershead (1894-1978). George had a childhood dream of creating a zoo without bars.
Like many other zoo, Chester Zoo is a relatively expensive place to visit.
One of probably hundreds of open farms in the UK, primarily aimed at children. Greenlands has all the farm animals you would expect, plus some you wouldn't, such as deer, a chameleon, an owl, a snake and alpacas. There are a couple of great slides, plus a good indoor play area, as well as various shops and a cafe - and picnic tables.
The Highland Wildlife Park is a zoo situated in the beauty of the Cairngorm National Park. Originally, the park used to only contain species that were native to, or which had once been native to, the Highlands. This scope has widened, presumably in an effort to increase visitor numbers. So as well as wolves, wildcats and arctic foxes, you can now see tigers and red pandas. There is a large drive-through reserve area, plus a woodland walk and events take place throughout the year. Try to get there for feeding time.
Managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Irritating website!
Regent’s Park Zoo, or ZSL (Zoological Society of London) London Zoo, is still generally known as London Zoo. It was the brainchild of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, opened on 27 April 1828 by the Zoological Society of London. Its collections were augmented by the additions of the menageries from Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. At that time, it was only accessible to fellows of the Society for the purposes of scientific study, but the zoo was opened to the public in 1847 to help funding.
London Zoo packs a great deal into a limited space. Animals you are generally able to see include: African hunting dogs, camels, donkeys, flamingos, giraffes, goats, gorillas, insects, lemurs, lions, llamas, macaws, meerkats, mongoose, monkeys, okapi, otters, pelicans, penguins, porcupines, pygmy hippos, reptiles, tiger, vultures, warthogs and zebras. Many larger animals are kept at ZSL Whipsnade in Hertfordshire.
Two of the zoo’s most famous residents include Guy the Gorilla, who was at the zoo from 1947-1978, and Winnie the bear. Winnie arrived with a Canadian regiment on its way to the front in 1914; she died in 1934, but inspired AA Milne to rename his most iconic character Winnie-the-Pooh.
Longleat House was built for Sir John Thynn in the 16th century on the site of a former Augustinian Priory. It is currently the seat of the Marquesses of Bath and still the private residence of the Thynn family. The house is set within 900 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens and is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain, as well as one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public.
Visitors can see the Great Hall, scene of lavish banquets with 35 feet high walls adorned by giant paintings, libraries filled with over 40,000 books, some of them rare, a dining room laid out ready to host the next VIP guests and the 90 feet long Saloon with its exquisite Flemish tapestries. It is also possible to see Lord Bath’s ‘famous & fabulous’ Murals.
In 1966, Longleat Safari Park opened as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa. It is now home to over 500 animals, including giraffes, monkeys, rhino, lions, tigers (no bears?), cheetahs and wolves.
There are different ticket types. Historic House members will need to pay to access the Safari Park and other outdoor attractions.
Image credit: Historic Houses
What used to be South Lakes Wildlife Park opened to the public on a fairly wind-swept location in 1994 and has more than 1,000 animals in its care, including large cats and mammals, primates, reptiles and birds. Some animals roam wild - so you can walk among kangaroos and emus. There are aerial walkways over some enclosures, giving astonishing views. The zoo boasts a proud track record in conservation. Unfortunately, it has a chequered safety history, including several animal escapes, a fire in which 30 lemurs died and the death of a keeper, mauled by a Sumatran tiger, in 2013.
NOTICE - As of 6 March 2017, the future of this attraction looks uncertain. Check the zoo's website for up to date information.
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