If your family loves animals, these London zoo attractions should be on your family vacation bucket list.
You’re headed to the London Zoo and know that you’ll see animals. What more could you expect? Perhaps more London zoo attractions than you realize right now.
What makes this zoo different from many others around the world is size. With more than 19,000 animals spread between more than 670 species, it’s common for families to spend at least a few hours exploring the zoo. If your children want to see every exhibit and have the physical and mental energy to absorb it all, then you could spend a bit longer.
If you don’t want to spend half a day at the zoo or don’t think your children will have the energy for the full experience, use this guide to the best London Zoo attractions. We don’t want you to miss out on the most exciting exhibitions at the zoo.
The Giraffe Experience
If you want to give your child hands-on experience with real zoo animals, sign them up for the Giraffe Experience. They’ll spend two hours inside the giraffe house, caring for two adorable giraffes. That includes some hard work mucking out the dens, but it also comes with a visit to the herb garden to collect fresh treats for the giraffes plus tons of educational information about giraffes and their caretakers.
Participants receive free entry into the zoo for the day, so try to book an early ticket and then spend the afternoon exploring as a family. The earliest Giraffe Experience reservations are at 9:30 a.m.
Meet the Animals Experiences
Most days, there is a “meet the animals” experience at the zoo. The animal featured changes, so check online to see what’s happening when you visit London. The idea is to give kids and adults a chance to interact with a select animal in a more intimate manner.
The Meet the Penguins experience has been quite popular. It’s suitable for kids at least 8 years old and takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Junior Keeper for a Day
Are you looking for longer experiences and London zoo attractions that will educate and inspire your children while still feeling like pure fun? Signing them up to serve as the zookeeper for 3.5 hours may do the trick. They’ll feel like part of the team while getting up close and personal with some of the animals in a safe manner.
This London Zoo attraction is only suitable for kids aged 11-15. It’s a group experience, so your child will go through with up to four other little zookeepers. Each kid receives a free entrance ticket for the day, and they may need to arrive at the zoo before the gates open. Family members are not allowed to enter the zoo until the gates officially open at 10 a.m.
The London Zoo is split into color-coded routes, making it easy for visitors to find the animals they want to see. The routes are great for kids because they can focus on their slice of the zoo rather than feeling overwhelmed by all of the options.
If you don’t have the time to explore the full zoo, you may pick one or two of the routes to see the exhibits that will resonate most with your kids. Here is a quick cheat sheet to the routes and the animals presented on each:
You can download a PDF map of the London Zoo to see where each of these routes will take you. The map is also great for planning stops at the bathroom, gift shop, and concessions. You can plan out which routes you take before and after lunch if you think your kids may need a break in the middle of the experience.
Standard tickets to the London Zoo will cost you around £30.00 for adults or £19.50 for children. Kids under 5 always enter free. Those prices are for off-peak hours, so you will have limitations on when you can enter the zoo. You can pay a bit more for peak hour entrance or save a few extra bucks on saver and super-saver tickets with even more restrictions.
We highly recommend Flexi tickets because they allow you to pay now and enter the park anytime within the next 12 months. The price is £24.20 for kids under 16 and £34.54 for adults and teens over 15. A concessions ticket will run you about £31.59. If you aren’t set in stone on your travel dates or don’t know which day of your trip is best for the zoo, these tickets are a great option.