London Zoo: A visitor’s guide

London zoo

The English capital is well known for offering some of the most unique and enthralling experiences for visitors to enjoy, but one of the best places to visit could arguably be one of the least distinctive, in that many major cities will offer something along these lines.

Many major cities feature a zoo for animal lovers to explore, but what helps to make London Zoo a spectacular attraction like no other is the fact that more than 700 distinct species of animal from across the globe can be found here – all kept happy and comfortable in their natural habitats under the expert care of a highly-trained and dedicated staff.

Unique Attractions of London Zoo

Having opened its doors in 1828, London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and a standout attraction for anyone planning a visit to the capital.

With a rich and diverse history on which to draw, visitors can explore one of the largest zoological collections in the whole of the world when planning a visit to London Zoo. There really are species here that can be found nowhere else in captivity.

Some of the newest additions to the London Zoo family include the baby Western Lowland Gorilla Alika – her name means ‘most beautiful’ – who was born at at the zoo in December 2014 – as well as Otto the Aardvark, who moved to London from Berlin Zoo as part of an international mating programme to join his new partner Misha.

Otto and Misha are just two of the many breeding pairs that help to ensure some of the most endangered species on Earth are being brought back from the brink of extinction through the efforts of staff, but that is not all when it comes to the vast array of animals from around the world that call London Zoo their home.

Meerkats, penguins, macaque monkeys, lions, tigers, giraffes, anteaters, lemurs, hippos, komodo dragons, snakes, lizards and frogs, birds from every corner of the globe, arachnids, seahorses and much more – there really are examples of every animal under the sun to be found during a visit to London Zoo.

Live events also take place throughout the day, highlighting the many wonders of nature and the close interaction and relationships that have been built up between animals and their handlers over many years.

Shows include Animals In Action – a fun event that introduces a whole host of inhabitants of London Zoo to the waiting crowds – as well as Mega Bugs Live (get up close and personal with some of London Zoo’s scariest creepy crawlies) and Giants and Dragon, a show devoted to the zoo’s unique inhabitants hailing from the Galapagos Islands.

The roster of daily live events changes regularly, so guests hoping to find out more about specific events and timings should do so when arriving at the zoo.

Individuals keen to carry on their support for the animals even after their visit is over can also do so by taking part in London Zoo’s Adopt an Animal programme.

Visitors can sign up to pay an annual fee that enables them to adopt one of their favourite animals from their day at the zoo. Adoption packs start from £35 and include a certificate of adoption for their chosen animal, a photograph, information on their adoptee and its species, subscription to the Wild About magazine and a free zoo entry ticket for a return visit.

The beauty of London Zoo itself is also something visitors should bear in mind during their visit, as many of the buildings that house these wondrous creatures have also been deemed architectural wonders in their own right.

Indeed, London Zoo is home to eight grade II-listed buildings and two grade I-listed properties, making the facility itself such a delight to explore. Some of the world’s leading architects have had a hand in shaping the very fabric of the zoo, with the results being an exceptional attraction that offers not only the best care for its thousands of inhabitants, but also nourishment for the soul for those that visit.

Tickets and opening times

Open every day of the year except Christmas Day, London Zoo is operating by the Zoological Society of London and can be found at Regent’s Park in the cosmopolitan district of the City of Westminster.

Until the beginning of September each year, the zoo is open to the public between the hours of 10am and 6pm, with last entry at 5pm. However, as the autumn begins and the nights start to get darker earlier, closing time begins to draw in until in mid-December the zoo will close daily at 4pm.

When purchasing in advance, tickets will cost £22.50 for adults and children aged from three to 15 will be charged £16.65. Children under the age of three can get in for free.

Individuals planning a last-minute visit can also pay for entry at the gate, although costs will be slightly higher.

Visitors are reminded that children under the age of 16 will not be allowed entry unless they are accompanied by a paying adult, while the use of things like rollerblades, skateboards, rollerskates and bicycles are not allowed. In addition, no dogs are allowed.

Anyone planning to take pictures of the animals and attractions during their stay with the aim of using these images for commercial purposes in the future are also reminded that permission must be sought prior to entry.

Travel options for visitors

Getting to London Zoo could not be easier for visitors to the capital, with several local transport links that ensures the facility has excellent connections both to the wider London area and the rest of the country.

A number of London Underground Tube stations can be found in the vicinity of Regent’s Park and provide a swift and easy way for travellers to make their way around the capital. These are:

Camden Town (Northern line)
Mornington Crescent (Northern line)
Euston (Northern and Victoria lines)
Euston Square (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)
Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines)
Great Portland Street (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)
Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line)
Baker Street (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Jubilee lines)
Edgware Road (Bakerloo line)
St John’s Wood (Jubilee line)

Meanwhile, national rail services can be found at the nearby London Marylebone Station, which offers around the clock rail links to the capital’s other major railway stations, and from there, the rest of the UK.

Individuals wishing to reach London Zoo by public transport can also make use of a range of bus services in the local area, with full details of times and stops provided by Transport for London.

Finally, travellers looking for a relaxed and unique way to get to London Zoo might like to consider arranging their travel with the London Waterbus Company, which offers drop-off and pick-up from the main entrance.