A Roar-Some Day At ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

As a family we have a few favourite places that whenever we visit we've always come away having had a thoroughly good day out and one of those places for us is ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Whipsnade Zoo isn't very far from us and it's somewhere we've been a number of times over the years. As Whipsnade is the UK's biggest zoo, the animals all seem to have really large enclosures which is lovely to see and they all seem to be really well looked after. And as a family of animal lovers we are always impressed by the conservation work that ZSL continuously do to help save endangered animals and their habitats.

This is what makes Whipsnade Zoo probably one of our favourite zoo's to visit, as well as the fact that the views up by the penguins, looking over Dunstable Downs are incredible and they also have a pretty epic indoor and outdoor playground for the kids. I don't think I've ever dedicated a whole post to Whipsnade before, so I want to share some of our favourite parts with you below.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is set in 600 acres of parkland and is home to more than 2500 animals many of which are endangered in the wild. It's located just north of London in Dunstable, Bedfordshire and is really easy to get to, with plenty of parking available free of charge. (Or you can pay a fee, I think it's about £25 to take your car in with you if you want to, but we don't usually as we prefer to walk around).

There are so many animals to see at Whipsnade Zoo, so it's worth picking up a free zoo map and a 'What's on' programme when you come into the zoo. There are several different 'talks' on for different animals during the day so if you want to see these then I recommend setting a timer or a reminder on your phone so that you don't forget. One of my favourite animals to see are the bears - they are just such amazing animals. We were so lucky last week to catch them just as the keepers had hidden food for them to find and eat.

From the gift shop which is located just by where you come into the zoo, you can buy things like masks, ears, tails and wings so that your little one/s can dress up as their favourite animals. We decided to get some for the boys last week. The masks were reduced to about 50p or so, so weren't expensive at all. And then we got them some ears and a tail each so that they could dress up as a lion and a tiger, which they loved!

Up by the penguins, the views of the downs are incredible. It's such a lovely spot to stop and just take in the views. There are a few benches scattered about or you could bring a picnic blanket. The boys had so much fun hiding in the long grass pretending to be lions and tigers. They got really into their roles and chased me about for ages and then finally took down their Daddy (aka the giraffe). ;)

After an ice cream, we then headed over to see the lions in real life. They're such magnificent animals, aren't they?

Our little lion.

Ethan loved visiting the cheetahs. He's a huge cat-lover like me and he loved learning all about how fast they can run.

For a while, we even walked around as big cats together. :) 

We got so lucky to see this magnificent tiger walk past us at just the right moment. We were so excited to see him. It's always a 'wow' moment when you get to see an animal an incredible as a tiger up so close.

Another animal we always enjoy going to see is the meerkats. There's always usually one on the lookout and the boys love spotting him or her. They're such cute animals.

We managed to spot a couple of otters at feeding time too. They were lovely. One of them was really bold and cheeky and the other liked hiding from the keeper.

Whenever we go to Whipsnade Zoo we always make time to go and visit the giant outdoor playground for the boys as they have so much fun there. There's so much for them to do outside and the inside there's also a large soft play area which our boys love spending time in. It's great for when we fancy a rest as we can get a drink and the boys will happily go off and play for a while. It's right next to the Hullabazoo farm where you can also meet lots of farmyard animals up close. 

Another thing we really enjoy doing at Whipsnade Zoo is catching the steam train around the park. It costs a few pound each to do, but we always enjoy it and we love seeing some of the animals that we might have missed whilst walking around the zoo.

Whilst at the zoo....  A quick animal family selfie waiting for the train to go! ;) 

Spotting the elephants from the train!

And the rhinos.

And the camels. 

Lastly, after a day of animal-spotting, lots of soft play, park fun and dressing up we headed over to the Butterfly House. The butterfly house at Whipsnade Zoo is one of the largest butterfly biomes in any UK zoo and is home to more than 30 different species from around the world. There was a time I would never have walked through the butterfly house, as I have a bit of a fear of butterflies flying at me, but over the years I've got braver and I really enjoy going in there now and I really like seeing the boys around the butterflies. There's also a crocodile tank in there and lots of creepy crawlies, though thankfully they are in glass tanks too.

We had such a great time again visiting ZSL Whipsnade Zoo last week, we always come away from there having had such a lovely family day. If you've never been before I highly recommend a visit. There are so many animals to see, so many things to learn and so much to be had.

*We were invited to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo but as always all opinions and words expressed are entirely our own. #zoolife

Thank you for reading. 
Alex xo 


  1. It looks like you had a wonderful day out. Hippos are my favourite so that alone would be enough to draw me to Whipsnade as not many zoos have them.

  2. The butterfly exhibit looks cool! I love butterfly houses. This looks like a really nice day out! :) x

  3. Ice cream, lions looks like you and your family had an amazing day out at the zoo x

  4. We didn't get time to do the play area when we were there, there was just so much to see and do outside. We will defintely be back

  5. Oh my goodness what an amazing looking place to go and explore! I have to say I don't think I've ever been to Whipsnade Zoo but I might have to try and take a trip now.

  6. It's too far from us for a day trip, but we'd love to visit Whipsnade. There's so much open space to explore by the look of it.

  7. We love visiting Whipsnade Zoo as a family - it's something we've done since I was little and it never gets old! I particularly love seeing the elephants and the meerkats and love the fact that there is so much space there for the animals to run around in. The views are amazing too, especially on a good day - we used to love stopping right at the top of the hills for a picnic. It looks like you had a fab day there - I love the ears, tails and masks!

    Jenny xx


  8. How beautiful are your photos of the animals?! I've not heard of Whipsnade before but it sounds like you had a lovely day out!

  9. Your boys are cute. It is always thrilling to get this close to wild animal. Such a nice post.

  10. I've never been to Whipsnade before, but it looks and sounds like you had a great day out! And I'm sure all that running around wore the kids out hehe x