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The Best Zoos and Wildlife Parks in East Anglia

Planning a staycation in East Anglia? Days or a weekend in the East of England is a sure way to keep kids entertained. There are a lot of things for the whole family to do. Here are the top 10 zoos and Wildlife Parks to visit in East Anglia.

1. Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

  • Location: Filby Rd, Thrigby, Great Yarmouth NR29 3DR
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm, Daily
  • Ticket Cost: Adult – £15.50, Child (4-14) – £11.50, Senior Citizen – £14.50, Free entry for under 4s

Step inside the Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens and see endangered Sumatran Tigers and Red Pandas. Opened in 1979 by Ken Sims after returning from Malaya, his inspiration was the first David Attenborough TV show.

In Malaya, Ken was a crocodile keeper, rubber planter and poisonous snake farmer. He gained valuable experience, which he put to good use in the design and running of Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.

Today, the zoo is home to endangered Sumatran Tigers, Kubu and Dua. It’s also home to a red panda, snow leopard, Amur leopard, clouded leopard, meerkats, Golden cat, otters, gibbons, birds and reptiles. You can get a fantastic view of the animals and explore the garden using the network of walkways, bridges, and tunnels.

To relax and refuel, head to the Cockatoo Café. They serve hot and cold food, including hot dogs, cakes, sausages, snacks, sandwiches and various fillings. The café has food suitable for all ranges and many gluten-free and vegetarian options.

The gardens have a play area with a 3D Adventure Maze, large slides, climbing frames, and more. They also have a separate Tree Ropes play area and another maze on the front lawn. Children can run around and play. It’s also a great spot for a picnic.

2. Linton Zoo & Gardens

  • Location: Hadstock Rd, Linton, Cambridge CB21 4NT
  • Opening Hours: 10:15am –5pm, daily
  • Ticket Cost: Adults – £12, Children (age 2-13 years) – £9.50, Seniors (65+) – £11, Under 2 years – Free

Take a walk to the wild side at the Linton Zoo & Gardens. The zoo is home to:

  • African Lions
  • Amur Tiger
  • Snow Leopard
  • Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra
  • Brazilian Tapir
  • Binturong
  • Red Kangaroo
  • Parma Wallaby

You will also find the African Porcupine, Cotton Top Tamarin, Red Ruffed Lemur, Six banded Armadillo and more.

The zoo also has birds, invertebrates, reptiles and even dinosaur statues. Linton Zoo evolved from the Simmons Family’s love for wildlife. In 1972, they relocated from Bishops Stortford in Herts to Linton where they established a centre for breeding wildlife. The garden and zoo cover more than 18 acres with over 10,000 bedding plants which catch the eye of botanically and non botanically minded visitors.

The gardens create a more natural environment and provide a home for different species. During summer, thousands of butterflies visit the gardens and breed on the wild plants. Admission fees are usually collected at the gatehouse just inside the zoo’s gates. Accepted payments include debit cards, credit cards and cash.

3. Africa Alive

  • Location: Whites Ln, Kessingland, Lowestoft NR33 7TF
  • Opening Hours: 9:30am – 6pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adults – £22, Children (3 to 15 years) – £16.50, Under 3s – £1.10

Discover over 80 species of animals at Africa Alive. Situated in Kessingland, the centre is home to mammals, birds, reptiles, and even domestic livestock. You can discover and learn more about meerkats, giraffes, lions, hunting dogs and more from the African continent.

At the park’s entrance, you’ve the Aardvark House. Here, you can join one of the trained animal staff for a guided tour. The park has a limited number of 15-minute placements daily.

This provides a great opportunity to enter the enclosure and interact with the aardvarks. From there, proceed to the Porcupines and Farmyard corner followed by the Primates enclosure and Yellow Mongoose.

Other displays include the Discovery Centre, Hog Snorts, Kingdom of the Lion, Plains of Africa, Lemur Encounters and more. For a great experience, download the Africa Alive map. For a selection of meals, drinks, snacks and desserts, visit Bongo Bites, the Jungle Juice Bar, Giraffe Hut and Limpopo.

Members and non-members need to pre-book for zoo tickets online before visiting.

4. Whipsnade Zoo

  • Location: Whipsnade, Dunstable LU6 2LF
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adult – £30, Child – £19.50, Senior – £27

Visit the Whipsnade Zoo and discover animals such as the Wolverine, Lynx, Amur Tigers, Zebras and more. At the Whipsnade Zoo, you can also travel back in time and walk with the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The Whipsnade Zoo’s Zoorassic Park gives you a glimpse of dinosaur species such as the:

  • Baryonyx
  • Gastonia
  • Parasaurolophus
  • Stigymoloch
  • Maiasaura
  • Tenontosaurus

The immersive exhibition of life-size animatronic dinosaurs is an experience you’ll never forget. You can experience first-hand how these giant creatures behaved and moved. You’ll also learn why the dinosaurs are extinct. The park also includes a fossil dig pit and safari car track. If seeing the dinosaurs is not enough, book a Snorassic Sleepover.

Whipsnade Zoo has a new outdoor play area covering 7,800 square feet. The themed play area has swings, sit-on crocodiles, climbing frames, tunnels, mini safari jeeps, bridges and more. Admission to the play area is usually included with your Zoo entry.

5. Banham Zoo

  • Location: Kenninghall Rd, Banham, Norwich NR16 2HE
  • Opening Hours: 9:30am – 6pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adults – £22, Children (3 to 15 years) – £16.50, Under 3s – £1.10

Banham Zoo is a 50-acre zoo with more than 2,000 animals. Opened in 1968, the Banham Zoo became a charity in 2013. Today, you can enjoy a fun-filled day out at the Banham Zoo with your family. At the Banham Zoo, discover beautiful birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and reptiles.

The Birds of the World display situated at the Bird of Prey Centre has beautiful macaws and owls. During a 30 minute display, the zoo’s skilled animal trainers and falconers will demonstrate the birds’ amazing skills.

As you visit the animal enclosures, you’ll get closer than ever before to the cheetahs, giraffes, tigers and leopards. In fact, with the help of the trained zookeepers, you can feed the animals. This is an unforgettable experience and a perfect gift for animal lovers.

Before visiting, pre-book your tickets.

6. Colchester Zoo

  • Location: Maldon Rd, Heckfordbridge, Colchester CO3 0SL
  • Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5.00pm
  • Ticket Costs: Adult (16 – 59yrs) – £69, Child (3 – 15yrs) – £49, Senior (60yrs+) – £59

To see the beautiful and rare species of the animal kingdom, head to the Colchester Zoo. Set on 60 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s home to more than 200 species. Situated near Colchester, it opened in 1963. Two of the most popular attractions at the zoo are hand feeding the elephants and giraffes.

The public feeding encounters are an interactive and educational experience for visitors. For just a £20 donation to the Zoo’s operating fund, up to 5 people can feed the elephants and giraffes. The £20 donation is per group not per person. A zookeeper usually meets you and guides you where you can feed the animals.

Due to the size of the zoo and the number of enclosures, it’s impossible to visit all animal encounters. To get directions to your favourite animal encounters, download the Colchester Zoo app.

You can also take advantage of the Zoo’s picnic pre-order service, and it will be ready for you to collect at the Zoo’s Penguini’s Restaurant. Offers include an adult picnic for £8 and a kids picnic for £5.25.

7. Amazona Zoo

  • Location: Hall Rd, Cromer NR27 9JG
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adult – £11.50, Children(4 – 16 years old) – £8.50, Senior – £10

Explore the Amazona Zoo and meet over 200 animals. Bring along the whole family to meet pumas, otters, owls, parrots, spiders, flamingos, guinea pigs and more. The zoo has over 20 attractions and enclosures. Set in the secluded grounds on the North Norfolk coast, the zoo has a Spider House and Guinea Pig Village.

The Amazona Zoo has four feed-the-animal events per day. At the Feline Forest, you can watch and feed pumas, jaguars, ocelots and jaguarundi. As you enter the Capuchin walkway, you’ll encounter the Tropical House. Here, you’ll find the Piping Guan and Curassow. If you follow the path after the bridge, you’ll find Boa constrictors, anaconda and iguanas.

It also has an outdoor play area and picnic area with Jumping Pillows. Open all year round, the play area is a fun and safe place for kids to play and interact. For homemade lunches, head to the Jungle Café. The zoo also has a gift shop.

8. Woburn Safari Park

  • Location: Crawley Rd, Woburn, Ridgmont, Bedford MK43 0TU
  • Opening Hours: 9.30am to 4.45pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adults – £23.99, Children – £16.99

Nestled in over 300 acres of parkland in Bedfordshire, Woburn Safari Park is a drive-thru park where you can see wonderful wild animals. The animals can be a windscreen width away or a little more distant. Despite the distance, you can make repeat circuits in the park and enjoy the park.

A single Road Safari is 60 to 90 minutes long, and with each circuit, you experience something new. Entry to the Woburn Safari Park takes you through beautiful parkland and woodland. The route winds through the wide-open paddocks containing animals. You can also spot the “Lion of the Empire”, two statues guarding the entrance to the Safari Park reserves.

Drive through the Savannah grasslands and see the Southern white rhinos, antelope and buffalo. Then drive to the Kingdom of Carnivores. In this eight-acre enclosure, you’ll see African Lions, Amur Tigers and the North American Black bear. Next is the Giraffe Junction, where you can see a large herd of Rothschild’s giraffes. The route ends at the Foot Safari where you can walk around and see smaller mammals.

At the Leisure Area, kids can experience fun activities such as Swan Boats, and Mammoth Play Ark.

9. Paradise Wildlife Park

  • Location: White Stubbs Ln, Broxbourne EN10 7QA
  • Opening Hours: 9.30am to 6pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adults – £22, Children – £20, Under 2s: Free

The Paradise Wildlife Park is a family run park. Situated in Hertfordshire, it was previously known as Broxbourne Zoo. After it came under Peter and Grace Sampson’s family, they renamed it Paradise Wildlife Park.

The park is home to the Big Cat Territory, Angkor Reptile Temple, Birds at Paradise, farmyard animals and more. You can feed the big cats, penguins and lemurs, tickle a tapir and meet meerkats, and red pandas

There are several animatronic dinosaurs such as the:

  • Velociraptor,
  • Iguanodon
  • Spinosaurus
  • Dilophosaurus and others

Set in acres of natural woodland, the world of dinosaurs features 30 life-size dinosaurs. The dinosaurs snap, roar, and move. Visitors can also experience the Red Express, a Dinosaur Train ride where every twist and turn reveals a surprise.

The park also has 5 adventure play areas, an outdoor paddling tool and a Safari Adventure Golf.

10. Hamerton Zoo Park

  • Location: 2 Hamerton Rd, Steeple Gidding, Huntingdon PE28 5RE
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm
  • Ticket Cost: Adult – £16.99, Children (3-12 years) – £9.99, Senior – £15.99, Under 3: Free

Situated in Huntingdonshire on twenty acres of rolling parkland is the Hamerton Zoo Park. At the zoo, you’ll find tigers, wombats, bears, cheetahs, marsupials, birds, reptiles and other mammals.

Besides the wonderful collection of animals, the zoo has two-player areas, one for toddlers and another for older children. The Express railroad train runs from the donkey stables down to the Tiger enclosures. When the weather is dry, the train runs during daily and even school holidays.

At the new picnic areas and gardens, you can relax and enjoy drinks and snacks from the coffee shop. The Stroll-a-Safari allows you to get close to domestic animals and even feed them.