My daughter, Olivia aged four, and I arrived just before London Zoo opened (10am) and found ourselves amongst a few others awaiting entrance. Once inside, the first thing of great importance is to acquire a zoo map, this enables one to plan the day systematically, as the zoo is widespread. Maps are easy to come by, as there are various information points throughout the area, along with signposts, which proved to be extremely useful, especially if you have my navigation skills.
Alongside the regular zoo inhabitants, lions, zebras, giraffes, otters, and gorillas, there were also some interesting additions: squirrel monkeys, malayan tapir, bearded pigs and giant anteaters to name but a few.
There were also a number of exhibits which are well worth the wait as queues can quite easily build up as the day progresses. Our particular favourites included the walk through butterfly paradise and the aquarium. However, section of the zoo we liked best was the gorilla kingdom – such a vast array of primates, it was easy to be enchanted with these fun-loving, mischevious animals.
Child-friendly, the zoo certainly is. There are raised standing points to ensure that nobody misses out, there are also bubbles built in to the some of the enclosures, giving children the illusion of being in the animals' habitat. It is wheelchair/stroller accessible throughout, babychanging facilities, refreshment kiosks are dotted around with a variety of offerings, play parks, picnic areas, and the icing on the cake, face painting.
If visiting with young children, it would be advisable to bring strollers/buggies, as you can quite easily spend the majority of your time on the go. Give yourself a minimum of three hours to ensure value for money. It is not a cheap day out, with adult tickets around the £18 mark, and children around £14. Group or family tickets which are sold at a discounted rate may be well worth investigating prior to arrival.
One of the few negative points however, was the quality of food available in the main café area. You would be well advised to pack a picnic and truly embrace the "day out" mentality.
On the whole, the day was incredibly fulfilling. A much-lauded attraction, you can understand the appeal, especially during the summer months. One last piece of advice, remember to bring your camera...
For up to date opening hours and prices visit: http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/visit/