Wednesday 9 November 2022

Marwell Zoo - A Fantastic Day Out for the Whole Family

**Collaborative Post**

When it comes to days out you can't really beat a day at the zoo as fun for the whole family, young and old. With a wide range of animals to see and usually plenty of other activities too, the zoo is always a winner and is a day out that can be fun all year round. One zoo we particularly love is 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.

Marwell Zoo is about 1 hour 45 minutes' drive from Bristol (which is home to us) but with ample free onsite car parking and a ticket that gives you entry all day you don't need to rush to get on site. The car park is well signposted too making it easy to find your way into the zoo from anywhere in the car park, you just have to remember where you parked on the way out! 

Marwell Zoo really has thought of it all though when it comes to keeping the little ones happy and amused with little touches like the little and big entrance ways with a "little monkeys" entrance for children visiting. 

The queues always seem well managed at Marwell Zoo with plenty of tils and different sections for those who have purchased online, who want to purchase on the day and for those with an annual pass. We did notice that buying a family ticket for the zoo online seemed to be the quickest and easiest option and I would highly recommend doing so as you can sometimes save money doing it online beforehand too! 

It is worth noting that you don't get a "traditional" paper style 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. Once you get used to the idea of an app it is actually so much easier and there is no arguing between the kids on who gets to hold the map, or trying to read from a crumpled, ripped and torn map by the end of the day. 

Not only does the app provide you with an interactive map which shows you the whole park and even where you are located in the park, meaning you can work out what you are nearest to in order to plan where to stop for lunch etc. But it has lots of other fun features too that make a day out at the zoo so much easier when you have little ones in tow. One of the kid's 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. The app made the trip both easier and a little more educational as the plaques don't usually interest the kids but having the information on the app made it much more fun apparently. 

Using the app, you can also see where and when any feeds or talks are happening and even set them as notifications on your phone to get a reminder of when these were about to take place, so you didn't miss them! I love this as we always spot the times for these sorts of talks as you walk in but then get a bit side-tracked and always miss them!  

One thing you will notice about Marwell Zoo is that the animals have plenty of roaming space and great living conditions yet are still easy to view and spot. Some of the animals feel so close it feels like you could almost reach out and touch them (this of course is not advised!). But it was great seeing the animals so close, yet so happy in their living environment. 

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 without compromising on the animals' habitats and living conditions.

Another highlight of Marwell Zoo is the absolutely beautiful "tropical house". The heat and humidity hit 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 butterflies 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 our 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 we could have sat at the fish tanks and stared at the fish all day long, they were so mesmerising. 

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.

Combine together the animals, the beautiful park and all that Marwell Zoo has to offer, it 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 of 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 it's worth noting you will need to bring this with you as you won't be able to get any out on site.


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