A Summer visit to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

We are regular visitors to ZSL London Zoo and always see signs for their sister zoo, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo whilst we are there, but have never visited before now.

ZSL Whipsnade is the UK’s largest zoo and one of Europe’s largest wildlife conservation parks and home to a staggering 3,873 animals, many of which are endangered in the wild.

Although farther mileage wise from us in Bournemouth, it actually took the same amount of time to get there, thanks to easy motorway access and we arrived just in time for opening.

There are two options to consider when you enter ZSL Whipsnade Zoo:

  • Park in the free car park and walk
  • Pay extra to drive into the zoo and park in specified areas around the zoo

Although you can drive into the zoo for an additional charge, it is worth noting that it is not a safari park and you cannot drive through enclosures.

We opted for the free parking option and made the short five-minute walk from the carpark to the entrance to the zoo, which is easily accessible for those with buggies or prams and because we printed our tickets at home, were inside the zoo almost immediately.

Ostrich ZSL Whipsnade

Whipsnade is very different from London Zoo. It covers 600 acres of countryside, so be prepared to do some serious walking, or catch their snazzy bright green bus to take you to the next enclosure in comfort and style.

Giraffe Whipsnade

Of course, being bigger it means that they can house some much larger animals in massive enclosures which are as close to them being in the wild as possible.

Elephant Whipsnade

It also means there is plenty of room for the kids to run around, play and pretend to be their favourite creatures.

Dressing up

What strikes you as you walk through Whipsnade Zoo, is how invested they are in the conservation of the animals that they look after.

Cheetah Whipsnade

One of their long-standing success stories is the Cheetah’s and 130 cubs have been born and reared at the zoo in the last 40 years.

Cheetah in the grass

For those that love to see the younger members of the zoo, their Amur Tigeress, Naya, gave birth to four cute cubs back in June and they are starting to come out and enjoy their enclosure with Mum.

Amur Tiger Whipsnade

One thing that really surprised us is that they let wallabies and mara’s roam free and we couldn’t quite believe it when we first saw them just watching us from a few feet away.


I recommend that you take a ride on their Jumbo Express for a brilliant safari adventure where you can see elephants, rhinos, yaks, bears and camels and all with an informative commentary.

Jumbo Express

The Jumbo Express does cost extra (£4.50 per adult and £2.00 per child), so it is worth factoring in this cost when planning your day.


Behind Whipsnade Station, there is a huge children’s play area with play equipment to suit all ages called Hullabazoo. This area also contains an indoor play area designed around different animal habitats and a children’s interactive farm, where little ones will be able to meet and greet a whole host of farmyard friends.

Play Area

This summer, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are hosting a Superhero Takeover, with a self-guided Superpowers Trail around the Zoo, discovering real life animals with heroic superskills.

Superpowers Trail

Captain Z is also recruiting all superheroes into the Superhero Academy to teach them the powers of the animals, in a specialised Super Hero HQ at the heart of the zoo.

Superhero HQ

Firstly we had to come up with our very own superhero names and make our masks.


We then collected our mission packs and learned about amazing animal super powers by completing exciting animal activities.

Challenge Pack

  • Learn all-important night vision skills from the nocturnal owl – using special goggles to spot potential food in its woodland home.
  • Unlock the power of super speed, racing against the world’s fastest land animal, the cheetah.
  • Master the leafcutter ant’s super strength in time to lift a three tonne taxi safely out-of-the-way.
  • Climb like the incredible gecko, mastering the toughest skill yet – defying gravity to crawl across the bedroom ceiling.


After graduating from Superhero Academy the kids then had to use all their new super skills to help Captain Z tackle The Maze – a tricky series of obstacles and challenges made by his arch nemesis Plastico.

Plastic Run

It was a real eye-opener learning all about plastic pollution and the kids all came away inspired to reduce their use of plastics in day-to-day life.

Plastic Maze

Whipsnade Zoo is a fun-filled day out for all the family, with keeper talks and shows throughout the day where you can learn lots of fun facts about the zoo’s residents.

Elephant Poo

We were there from opening time, until close as there is so much to do and I am still not sure we saw it all.

Elephant Statue

We took a picnic to save money, but there are five cafe / restaurants to choose from, serving a range of hot and cold foods. My only grumble of the day was that you could not buy drinks at the Base Camp restaurant as they were only offering table service, however we were able to buy a coffee at Hullabazoo a short 5 minute walk away.

Butterfly House

Entry costs from £22.70 for adults and £16.60 for children with a family ticket costing £70.50 (2 Adults + 2 Children) online only.

Disclaimer: We were invited to Whipsnade Zoo for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.



28 thoughts on “A Summer visit to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

  1. Stephanie says:

    I really want to visit this zoo as the animals they have there are brilliant! Look how close you got up to them and the kids look like they had a amazing time. One to add to the list!

  2. Jen says:

    I love a good zoo! Such a great day out for the kids. I love that shot of the tigers!

  3. Laura says:

    Looks like you all had a blast and really nice to hear it’s on such a large area of land and it looks like it’s really spacious. I know ZSL do so much for conservation and this place looks great for a fun and educational day out

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted…The Ultimate Autumn Family Camping Bucket list – 7 places to goMy Profile

  4. Linda Hobbis says:

    I’ve never been but it looks closer to a safari park than a zoo. Zoos have to be about conservation don’t they – more important than ever these days.

  5. Kerry Norris says:

    Amazing that you got to see the cub. I’ve never been to this zoo but I’ve heard such wonderful things about it. Love how close you got to the giraffes too

  6. Alex Gladwin says:

    Whipsnade zoo is one of our favourite places to go. It’s such a good zoo isn’t it. Love that you got to see the tiger cub, we didn’t spot him when we were there. x
    Alex Gladwin recently posted…A Roar-Some Day At ZSL Whipsnade ZooMy Profile

  7. Becca Talbot says:

    I never knew that Whipsnade was the largest zoo in the UK – I thought it was Chester Zoo, so I learnt something new LOL. The last zoo I went to was Berlin Zoo, and after seeing the animals cooped up in tiny enclosures, and some of the guests behaving barbarically towards the animals, I have vowed to never go to a zoo again 🙁 x

  8. Sarah Bailey says:

    It sounds like there is some amazing things things to do a ZSL Whipsnade Zoo! Some amazing animals to see and some great attractions to do as well.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…8 Tips To Improve Your Money MindsetMy Profile

  9. Madeeha says:

    People can call me boring but I love to go to zoo. Your kids tails are so cute.

  10. I will always love going to a zoo. There’s always that kid in me. I still get amazed seeing different animals.

  11. Looks like there’s so much to see and do for the children, zoo’s are always popular with little ones.

  12. Melanie says:

    Oh wow looks like you had a fab time out with all the animals. I love the fact that there was a free parking option x

  13. I can’t believe we haven’t visited the largest zoo in the UK yet! Whipsnade Zoo looks amazing and we love the plastic waste installation x

  14. Laura Dove says:

    Ah this looks like fun! We were going to go this week but Megs was too poorly – waaaah!

  15. Olivia Jade says:

    Looks like a great day out! Great post and great read:) x

  16. Colette says:

    We do love a good zoo visit but haven’t managed to fit one in this year. Whipsnade is a bit of a distance from us but it looks fab.

  17. Looks like you all had a fun day out! How beautiful is that elephant too?

  18. What a lovely looking zoo. The animals look great. I can imagine it was a great day out.

  19. Jem says:

    We love this zoo. Such a great day out for the kids.

  20. We love a trip to the zoo! We haven’t been to Whipsnade Zoo and I had no idea it was the largest zoo in the UK. It looks a lovely day out x

  21. Lucy says:

    Looks really cool! Haven’t been here for years! Maybe time for a visit! Xx

  22. I would love to visit Whipsnade Zoo, I’m wondering why it hasn’t been on my radar before, it looks like a fun day out.

  23. Emma says:

    We loved the Superhero Academy! Whipsnade is fantastic isn’t it?

  24. I have heard Whipsnade is really good. I love the fact they are promoting plastics pollution as this is a brilliant place to get young people (and their parents) aware of the problems. (My comment love linked post might therefore be useful for you!)
    Rosie (@greenrosielife) recently posted…12 ways to wean yourself off supermarket plasticMy Profile

  25. Aww beautiful photos! This is one zoo we’ve not visited, but it is certainly on the list of places we’d like to go 🙂

  26. We havn’t been to Whipsnade since we moved from Herts 5 years ago but we always loved it and it looks like its getting better and better. Mich x

  27. Whipsnade zoo is just around the corner from me but I haven’t been in years although i am keen to go back x

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