In the world we live in today, it’s hard not to have mixed feeling about Zoo’s. Of course we all know that some animals would be much better off in the wild. However Zoo’s have huge capacity to teach children and adults about our natural world. The reality is, not everybody has the means and opportunity to see animals in the wild, and if zoo’s didn’t exist many children and adults would miss out and never get to see and connect with some wild animals.
Teaching and education programmes are more important than ever in order to spark that connection between our natural world and animals, so in the future our children will grow up understanding wild animals and most importantly are motivated to protect them.
I’m pleased to report that Marwell Zoo is not only a zoo; it’s owned by Marwell Wildlife, a global conservation charity leading programmes in the UK, Africa and across the world.
The charity engages with over 40,000 schoolchildren through curriculum-based education programmes. Marwell is doing a fantastic job of teaching and educating the next generation with their outreach programs.
We were delighted to be invited by Marwell Wildlife to review the zoo, we detail what type of experience you can have at Marwell, and most importantly a few tips on how to get the best out of your day.
Entering the park and Tickets
We visited in the school holidays therefore the park was busy, so if like us, you’re visiting in the holidays ensure that you get there early by 9.45 am for the park opening at 10am.
If you have pre-booked tickets you can head to the fast track line. The park is big, so ensure you take anything you need from your car for your day out, so there is no need to return to your car.
As you enter the park, you immediately notice a special collaboration with BRICKOSAURS a collection of 50 life-like LEGO® brick dinosaurs on display around park. As you enter a member staff will hand you a map where the children can follow the trail to find all 50 Brickosaurs dinosaurs through out the park.
Of course our kids were so excited to see the animals, but were also on the hunt to spot our first Brickosaurs dinosaurs, which was easy to spot.
Quickly after entering the park, we headed to the Giraffes who are my favourite animal, the enclosure provides great viewing opportunities, both in the barn and on the raised platforms, these elegant creatures seemed quite at ease with the amount of people looking at them.
The tigers put on quite a display which was fascinating to see up close, one was swimming and playing with ball in the water, which was incredible to see from the viewing window. I had never seen a tiger so close and active, it was a real privilege.
Lemur and kangaroos
The lemur and kangaroos enclosures allow you to get up close with the animals, as you are able to walk through the enclosures. This was an exhilarating experience for the children to have lemurs wondering between their legs. The staff in these enclosures were very informative and happy to answer any questions.
My friend Diane’s son Sam was so excited to see a Red Panda, he was absolutely desperate to see one, and kept asking us to take him to the enclosure.
This is great example of how children can become passionate about certain animals, as he had seen a red panda at Edinburgh zoo and really wanted to see one here too.
It wasn’t until the end of the day, but Sam’s wish came true and we had a great sighting of the red panda sitting at the top of a tree and he was so thrilled to see it, and I’m sure it made his day.
Rhino’s and Zebra
Bella and Maya loved seeing the Rhino’s and Zebra, who were in a huge enclosure , but we were able to see them up close and fascinating to see the power of the Rhino and the intricate markings of the zebra.
Dotted between the animal exhibits were a lots of play areas, for the kids. The park is big and obviously little legs get tired but there is tractor ride which takes you from one end of the park to the other, which is huge help for parents and great fun for the kids, also for an additional 2.50 per person you can also ride the train.
One thing not to be missed was the relatively new Tropical House which transports you to a tropical jungle atmosphere. Having spent a lot of time in Asia over the last couple of years, we love this hot and humid environment, and Marwell have done a fantastic job of re-creating it, with tropical butterflys, birds, plants and even a sloth, which was in hiding when we visited.
Thinking Nomads Verdict
Overall we had a great day, the weather was perfect not too hot, we saw all of the main animals that kids wanted to see.
The girls loved the added bonus of searching for the Brickosaurs Dinosaurs with their trail map. The collaboration with Brickosaurs is perfect our girls love dinosaurs too, it’s great to combine viewing the animals and learning the names of the dinosaurs too.
Also having visited Lego Land in Denmark last year the team have done fantastic job of creating the models and any lego enthusiast knows, it can’t have been easy job constructing these huge models.
Thinking Nomads Top Tips
- Pre-book tickets online on the website and keep a look at for special offer and unique events held at the park
- If you want to check out the Brickosaurs Dinosaurs make sure you visit Marwell before the 1st September
- Arrive early 9.45 to get in line for the gates opening at 10am
- Like the Marwell Zoo Facebook Page to check for traffic updates and whats on
- Download the Marwell zoo app with feeding times and interactive maps
- Bring a refillable water bottle and fill up and watering stations spread out across the park
- Bring your own picnic like we did to have a leisurely lunch, as the cafe can get busy
- Don’t miss feeding times with Giraffes at 11.30am
- Don’t miss getting up and close to Lemurs in the open enclosure