AD – Tickets for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo were gifted to us in exchange for this post. All thoughts are my own. 

I’ve been visiting zoos for as long as I can remember. My parents used to take me as a child and I’ve continued to visit them with friends and partners as an adult. It doesn’t matter what zoo I’m in, I always have a thoroughly enjoyable day. I know zoos can get a bad rep sometimes but I’m always wary about which zoo I visit and luckily, the zoos within reachable distance of me and all superb.

I’ve visited ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – the sister of London Zoo – a few times in the past so I think this was around my 4th visit here. I was pleased to see a new addition in the aquarium, as well as some old favourites still going strong! It’s worth noting that this is a BIG zoo.

As in, it’s so big that they give you the option to drive around it. Which we did. If you’re looking for more Family Friendly days out, I’d highly recommend checking out Outdoorsy Days for activities, reviews, tips and hacks!

There’s a road around the zoo, as well as walking paths, a suitable distance away from the enclosures, with plenty of spaces to park is designated areas around the zoo. This certainly gives your feet a bit of respite as even if you do decide to drive around (for an additional cost of £25), you’ll still be on your feet quite a bit.

As with most zoos, this one is split into sections, based on countries from where the animals within that section are from. There are some beautiful areas of the zoo, both inside and out. It’s a lovely place to take some family photography as well.

So we hopped in the car and started with…


This is the first section you’ll see when driving, as I do believe it’s a one way system for cars. Within Europe, you’ll find the likes of brown bears, penguins, wild boar, wolverines and reindeer as well as the ZSL Whipsnade Lookout Lodges, which you can do an overnight stay in! I’d absolutely love to do that one day.

Sadly we didn’t see the brown bears that much as they were right at the back of the enclosure. We did see everything else in this section however. The caught the wolverines having a play at just the right time, with this funny guy doing roly-poly’s off the log. And there were plenty of penguins to see who looked almost as cold as we were!


Now round to Africa, the next section of the road. Here you’ll see giraffes, white rhinos, hunting dogs, lions, meerkats, zebras, cheetahs and hippos. We didn’t actually manage to see any of the big cats on our visit, which was disappointing but like I said, it was VERY cold, so perhaps they were inside.

We spent a while in the giraffe enclosure, watching the baby giraffe follow (what I assume was) his Mum everywhere. We also spent quite a long time in the hippo enclosure. Partially because it was warm and partially because Hodor, the young hippo was up to a lot of mischief, trying to play and splash around with Mum.


Round to Asia now where you’ll see tigers, camels, Asian rhinos, sloth bears Asian elephants, yaks and an array of deer. They have a neat little passage through Asia, which is like the “safari” section of the zoo, with an abundance of deer roaming freely. We didn’t actually see a lot during this section, apart from the elephants but sadly they were too far away to photograph. It was nice to see the updated elephant enclosure.

Base Camp

Base camp is the middle of the zoo and here you’ll see otters, red pandas, sea lions, chimpanzees and lemurs. Again, we didn’t see an awful lot here. In fact, we accidentally missed out the red pandas and otters altogether (told you it was big!). We did pop to see the sea lions briefly. We did notice that their enclosure was a little worse for wear – mostly on the outside. It could certainly do with a lick of paint.

In fact, in the spirit of being a good blogger and being totally honest, with how modernized most places are now, even zoos, with their state of the art enclosures, I do feel like Whipsnade is perhaps getting left in the past a little. Although their enclosures for most animals are absolutely HUGE, which is always a good thing, the buildings perhaps could do with a little TLC. Especially as they’ve got a beautiful visitor center and gift shop.

Aquarium and Butterfly House

The aquarium is a new addition to Whipsnade and I loved it! Although small (like, don’t expect London Aquarium here), it was fascinating to read about and see some species of fish which are actually extinct in the wild. I didn’t get any photos in here because it’s notoriously hard to take photos of things in a dark room, behind glass, without a flash!

Onto my favourite part of the whole day… the butterfly house. The butterfly house is home to free flying moths and butterflies. It has a small path and is mostly bushes and trees, to mimic their environment. It’s also VERY HOT in there. I had sweat dripping down my back type hot. You’ll see my photos are slightly blurred because the lens on my camera was steaming up!

But Carl and I spent ages in there because it was so peaceful. With the wind blowing outside, the condensation dripping on your head and the sweltering heat, you really do feel like you’re in a rain forest, with all these beautiful, bright and vibrant butterflies swooping around! You’ll also find an array of insects – including a bird eating spider!


And finally, another favourite part for me is the farm. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love goats. Love em. Don’t know why. I just do. So obviously I love the farm section, especially the walk through goat enclosure – which Carl felt very uncomfortable in and wanted to get out of ASAP!

There’s also rabbits, donkeys, sheep, chickens, cows – all the usual things you’d find on a farm in this section!

If you’re heading to Whipsnade Zoo, make sure you use your time wisely. Especially if there’s certain talks or displays you want to see because if you’re over one side of the zoo and what you want to listen to is over the other side, unless you’re The Flash, you’re not making it! Whipsnade is a fantastic zoo with so much to see and do. Expect a whole day out and wear comfy shoes!

Have you ever been to Whipsade Zoo? What’s your favourite animal?


  1. Jenny! Your photos are STUNNING! Genuinely incredible pictures, wow.
    I love the sound of this zoo and I like that they separate the displays by location. Hopefully they’ll take your comments on board and spruce the buildings up a little. I love the baby giraffe and hippo so much, they’re adorable. Also who can resist a meerkat? So fluffy! I also now absolutely MUST visit the Lookout Lodges, that sounds like the most incredible experience!

  2. I haven’t been to a “proper” zoo for a few years now, but I’ve always loved to go and see the giraffes or the lions!! There’s a small, cute, rustic “Animal Farm” in the area my family and I always go to on our summer holiday, and it’s been a tradition to wrap up our trip there where we can grab a bite to eat and pet/feed the animals!! Goats are always the first on my list to visit there 😉 Reading this post honestly brightened my day because it’s been so long since I’ve been out to see animals like this, and it was so refreshing and lovely & such a good reminder of what’s waiting for us when this whole situation is over xx

  3. Jenny, I friggin LOVE the zoo!! It is my favourite place to go. I’ve been to Whipsnade twice now and fed the meerkats and the giraffes. It’s perfect on a sunny day! What a lovely post – it’s making me yearn for summer adventures!

  4. I love going to the zoo as well and your pictures look great. But I find them very expensive here in the UK to be honest. I visited Chessington World of Adventures and loved their zoo section, but I have not been or heard of Whipsnade before to be honest. Something worth checking out when we are allowed to go out again.

  5. I love whipsnade zoo! I went at the beginning of March and every time I go I end up walking round it – it is huge! My legs usually ache by the end of the day, one of my favourites is probably the lions, when I went they were all bundled together at the viewing bit so I just ended up sitting and watching them for ages!

    Chloe xx

    1. I could honestly visit the zoo every week and never get bored! I’ve never been to Whipsnade but I’d definitely spend a lot of time in the butterfly house as I love things like that. Our local zoo is suffering a bit due to the lockdown but I’m really hoping they raise enough donations to continue as they really are excellent. Maybe I’ll make Whipsnade one of my first visits once we’re back to normal!

  6. Oh my goodness, this is delightful! I adore all of these photos and am so glad you got to see these beautiful creatures. This literally made my day, especially knowing that they named the baby hippo Hodor. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. These pictures are beautiful! I haven’t been to a zoo in ages and I really miss seeing animals up close.

  8. Wow those photos are something else. Oh and my favourite animal is one which is proving very popular right about now, the Tiger!

  9. These shots are gorgeous! Definitely going to need to book some trips to zoos and safari parks after the lockdown! Keep safe!

  10. Reading this makes me want to visit the zoo so badly it hurts! I can’t wait for this stupid social isolation to be over. I live right outside of Washington DC, and while the National Zoo is absolutely wonderful, getting there and parking is a complete nightmare. Glad to hear that Whipsnade does it a little better. Thanks for the great post and the awesome animal pics. Hopefully we’ll all be able to visit the zoo again soon!

  11. It looks like an incredible zoo!! We don’t have giraffes at ours. Or penguins. We do have an incredible polar bear exhibit though. Your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing this!

  12. I have to admit I love visiting a zoo when I’m away. Our local zoo is going to be closing down in the next few years and I can honestly see why. Its such an awfully small place and the animals have barely any room.
    I’d love to visit London Zoo some day!

  13. These pictures are amazing, the giraffes and penguins looks so cute! I’d love to visit this zoo!

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