London Zoo, which is in Regents Park, was originally opened in April 1828, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world. In the early years it operated solely as a centre for scientific study, before opening to the public in 1847 and it is now home to one of the largest collections of animals in the United Kingdom, boasting more than 755 species and 16,802 individual animals. The zoo is divided into separate different areas and attractions, such as Gorilla Kingdom, Into Africa, The Aquarium, The Reptile House, Penguin Beach and Meet the Monkeys.
Throughout its’ history, the zoo has made a point of hiring top architects to design its’ buildings, with the result being that it now has two Grade 1 listed buildings and eight Grade 2. Whilst it is so large and so well stocked that it would take more than a single day’s visit to even begin to look around a large percentage of what it offers, the zoo also makes a point of offering unique experiences – once in a lifetime chances to engage with the animals in a manner usually reserved for those working with or studying them. Amongst the best of the Experiences on offer are the following:
• Keeper for a Day
An ideal gift for anyone who’s animal mad or interested in conservation. A Keeper for a Day gift voucher entitles the bearer to spend an entire day shadowing a keeper and experiencing the animals up close and personal. The experience lasts for 7 hours and includes lunch, refreshments, a t-shirt and a goody bag.
• Meet the Animals
Guided by an expert keeper, you’ll get hands on – literally in many cases – experience of dealing with one of the vast range of animals housed at the zoo. Amongst the animals which you’ll get to meet, touch and interact with are penguins, aardvarks, giraffes, owls, meerkats and kangaroos.
• BedBUGS Sleepovers
A once in a lifetime opportunity to actually stay overnight in the bug house at the zoo. Explore the zoo by torchlight, and wake up to the sounds of the animals rising for the day, in particular the lions that sleep quite close to the bug house.
• Zoo Latest Throughout the months of June and July, Friday evenings see the zoo becoming an unlikely venue for an alternative night out. It stays open after the usual closing time of 6, becoming an urban playground until 10pm, with attractions including cabaret, animal talks, street food, pop up bars, fairground rides and the chance to explore Tiger Territory.
• Photography Workshops
No visit to London Zoo would be complete without snapping stunning shots of the beautiful creatures you’ll find living there. If you’d like your photographs to be the kind that the professionals can produce, however, then these workshops just might offer than chance. An experienced professional photographer will work through a tutorial with you, and then you can set about taking advantage of some of the wild and wonderful models which you’ll find yourself surrounded by.