On our last day during our weekend break to Bristol we visited Bristol Zoo which is set in the beautiful Clifton area of the city.
Bristol Zoo is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and although the weather wasn’t great it didn’t affect our enjoyment during our visit. With nine under cover animal houses, it’s an excellent all weather family attraction. Set in 12 acres of beautiful award-winning gardens there are over 400 species of animals from across the globe.
We arrived early, and we were given a map which the girls used to plan our route. We headed straight to see the Drills and Asiatic Lions located right after the entrance of the zoo. It was fantastic to see how the Drills were interacting with each other.
If you are lucky you may be able to spot the Asiatic Lions having a nap or see giant tortoises being fed and patted by the zoo keepers.
During our visit the bird enclosures were shut due to the risk of avian flu, which meant we couldn’t get up close to the likes of the Flamingo’s but we could still catch a glimpse of them from outside of their enclosure.
The Tropical Zone was excellent and offered plenty to see with snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and leaf cutter ants. We particularly enjoyed the ‘Twilight World ‘ section, seeing how the animals would be in their natural habitat.
The sea lions were really entertaining and we had lots of fun watching them as they darted back and forth under the bridge we were standing on.
Seeing the penguins was one of the highlights of our visit. The girls loved the interaction as they were darting around chasing each other, and following them through the glass.
The girls had so much fun and were constantly asking questions about the different animals they were viewing which showed that they were really enjoying their day out.
Alongside all of the great opportunities to see the animals there were lots of other attractions to keep families entertained. You could try to run as fast as a cheetah or jump as high as a wallaby and lots of photo opportunities on our journey around the zoo.
One of my personal favourite moments was seeing my youngest daughter chat to the Goeldis monkeys in Zona Brazil and calling the seals at the seal and penguin coast.
There were lots of other animals to see including meerkats, snakes, wallaby’s, sloths, howler monkeys etc.
Situated just right behind the Monkey Jungle, after the Pygmy hippo house, is Gorilla Island. This is undoubtedly one of the star attractions of the zoo and in particular Jock the big silverback. Their feeding time was at 12:30pm and the children loved watching the gorillas being fed and interacting with one another.
The butterfly forest was home to dozens of gorgeous butterflies that will chase each other around your head as you walk amongst them.
Another must see during the spring and summer season is the walk through the lemur enclosure. This was closed during our visit but when open I would highly recommend it as you get up close and personal with lemurs in their habitat. On our previous visit we had the mummy, daddy and baby lemur running around beside us which the children loved!
The gardens play a big part in the Bristol Zoo experience, they are just beautiful with lots of open space for picnics and for children to explore.
There are a number of animal feeding sessions throughout the day from gorillas (which we watched) to crocodiles and seals.
The existing Coral cafe is being redeveloped and when completed in spring 2017 it will be twice as big as the previous facility. There was a temporary cafe in a marquee area which we found a little disappointing and expensive. As there are plenty of great picnic spots I would advise packing a picnic for your visit to Bristol Zoo.
We found a number of play parks areas that the girls loved and we had to coax them away. There was a lovely splash area behind the main zoo house that looked like it would be great fun especially if you were visiting in the warmer summer months. The more adventurous can take the new ZooRopia challenge which is a primate inspired aerial ropes course.
As you exit through the gift shop there is a selection of gifts and souvenirs including cuddly toys, stationary and books.
There are two car parks at Bristol Zoo (£3 daily charge) but I would recommend that you arrive early as both car parks can be full by mid-morning especially on weekends and school holiday periods.
If you are visiting Bristol with kids, a visit to the zoo should definitely be on your list. Although not as big as some of the larger zoos in the UK such as Edinburgh and Chester it is one of our favourites.
Admission fees, opening times, feeding times, what’s on and list of animals can be found on website, www.bristolzoo.org.uk