Sunday, 25 August 2019

A Family Day Out at Marwell Zoo

**AD - Review**

With the sun promising to shine over the bank holiday weekend, a definite rarity, we wanted to make the most of it and so we headed over to Marwell Zoo for  a fun family day out. Located in Hampshire, UK the zoo boasts 100s of animals set over a 140 acre park with so much to see and do for the whole family, it sounded like a perfect family day out.

It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive from Bristol but the drive wasn't too bad and despite us arriving an hour after opening time we were still able to park easily on the onsite free car park and there was ample parking even after we had arrived just after 11 too.

From the car park the zoo is just a short sign posted walk, the kids loved the little and big entrance ways and insisted of course on using the "little monkeys" entrance.

From here you head through to the entrance where there are several options to enter the park with tils dedicated to annual pass holders, prepaid tickets and for those who wanted to pay on the day. All of which made getting into the park super quick and easy. Whilst we did arrive an hour after opening there wasn't any queues and so we walked straight through in just a few minutes.

It is worth noting that you don't get a "traditional" map when entering the park, however there is a fantastic Marwell Zoo app. The app is free to download and I would really recommend downloading it ahead of your visit as it has so many great features.

Not only does the app provide you with an interactive map which shows you the whole park and even where you are in the park but it has lots of other fun features too. One of the kids favourite features was the "who's nearby" feature which tracked where you were in the park and then gave a whole host of clickable information and pictures of the animals that were nearby. This was especially really handy for when we visited enclosures that were really busy and we couldn't always access or see the plaques telling us about the animal inside. 

Using the app you can also see where and when any feeds or talks were happening and even set them as notifications on your phone to get a reminder of when these were happening. 

There were a few things that really drew us to Marwell Zoo one was the huge collection of animals they have including large animals such as giraffes and rhinos along with the smaller animals such as penguins, wallaby's and even a sloth!

The second thing was just how close up you can get to so many amazing and beautiful animals. The penguins felt like they were swimming so close we could have reached out and touched them, the giraffes stood eating a mere 6 feet or so from where we stood and the rhinos grazed just the other side of the fence from us. 

There were so many great opportunities for everyone to get a glimpse of all of the animals throughout the park, young and old. From large green enclosures and raised viewing platforms to low fences and plexiglass viewing windows, Marwell Zoo make it easy for all visitors to get a good glimpse of the animals inside. 

Of course during our visit it was really hot and some of the animals just didn't want to play ball, instead opting to hide under a shady tree and sleep (I don't blame them I could have definitely done the same!). However this didn't take away from our day and for every animal we couldn't see there was another round the corner ready to be cooed over. 

Another highlight of the zoo for us was the absolutely beautiful "tropical house". The heat and humidity hits you as soon as you walk through the doors but at the same time you are also transported to a tropical paradise. Birds are free flying above your head as butterfly's gracefully glide past you. There are huge tanks full of tropical fish and even a sloth swinging amongst the trees (although it chose to stay hidden during out visit unfortunately).

As you walk through the huge impending trees and bright flowers you spot something new everywhere you look. I spotted a few funky looking birds, a tortoise and some absolutely stunning butterflies whilst even could have sat at the fish tanks and stared at the fish all day long. Whilst it was a scorching day on our visit this would also make a great place to head to if trying to avoid a rain shower or two.

There is also a fun railway train that runs all day at the zoo which you can pay a small extra charge for (£2.50 per person) and the train will take you on a trip around the south side of the park. The round trip takes around 15 minutes and takes you right up next to some of the animal enclosures that are a bit more set back from the zoo pathways. It means you get a great look at lots of the animals including the flamingos and rhinos plus the kids had a great time aboard the train chugging along and waving at passers by.

But thats not all, not only does Marwell Zoo have all of those animals to see but this summer there are some extra special visitors appearing at the zoo... the BRICKOSAURS!

Between the 5th April and 1st September 50 prehistoric dinosaurs will be dotted around the zoo, made completely from LEGO, using over two million bricks and taking over 10,000 hours to build these interactive dinosaur sculptures are a must see.

When you enter the zoo every child is given a free trail map which shows you where around the zoo the dinosaurs are as well as having a check list on the back so kids can tick off each dinosaur as they discover it.

During our visit we were really lucky to bump into Brucy Brick who is the BRICKOSAUR'S keeper. He was carrying around one of the small Velociraptor Brickosaurs and was more than happy to stop, chat and interact with the kids. Telling them all about the Brickosaur's and letting them get a close up look at the little dinosaur he was carrying.

He is regularly round the park Friday-Sunday during the summer holidays so its worth keeping an eye out for him during your visit.

There are 50 dinosaurs to find from huge impending dinosaurs to smaller dino's hiding amongst the bushes and rocks. Every dinosaur structure also has a plaque next to it which tells you the name of the dinosaur, how many bricks were used and how many hours it took to made. Some of the facts were truly staggering! 

Combine together the animals, the beautiful park and the added surprise of the dinosaurs Marwell Zoo really is a must visit for any family. It is so much more than just a zoo, the centres within the zoo and all of the interactive features at the enclosures (including screens with fun quizzes to test your knowledge) were so educational. The play parks dotted around the park were a great way for kids to let off some steam and run wild and there were so many places to stop under a shady tree for a cold drink, grab an ice cream or sit at a table for a spot of lunch. And of course not forgetting the amazing array on animals, I mean where else can you go to see a snow leopard, lemur and giraffe all in one day!?

The only tiny problem we had was that the park doesn't have a cash point anywhere on site! We were able to use card for most things though but you may want cash for ice creams etc and its worth noting you will need to bring this with you as you won't be able to get any out on site.

We had the most fantastic day and when I say day out you really are getting a full day out at Marwell Zoo. We were there for over 6 hours and whilst we managed to squeeze lots in we could have spent even longer in the park without any problems. There are so many animals to see, parks to play in and so much fascinating information about the animals and park dotted around everywhere it'd so hard to fit it all into one day. 

If you are looking for a fun packed family day out then Marwell Zoo is definitely worth a visit. Don't forget if you want to see the BRICKSAUR'S to get yourself down to the zoo before the 1st September. 


** We were provided with a family ticket to Marwell Zoo for the purpose of this review. However all words, opinions and images are my own. I retain full control of this post.**


  1. Marwell Zoo looks like a fab place to visit for all the family. We love visiting zoos.

  2. Looks like there is lots to see and do at Marwell Zoo and it seems like the animals are very well-looked after too. I'd definitely love to visit if I lived a little nearer.

  3. Marwell Zoo sounds like the most perfect place to head for a family day out. It seems like you got to see some amazing animals and have a great day!

  4. We love visiting Marwell Zoo, as it's just around the corner from us! The lego brickosaurs are amazing! And the zoo has some great play areas and animals there!

  5. I lived in Southampton for five years, which is super close to Marwell Zoo but never got the chance to visit! Sounds like you had a lovely day out.

  6. I love the look of Brickosaurs. The boys would have loved to see that

  7. What a super day out for the kids! Mine would absolutely love to see those animals, and those Lego dinosaurs look epic!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful day out. My children would love the little train, whilst my husband would have great fn finding the Brickosaurs