Thursday, 29 August 2019

Our Visit to Marwell Zoo, Hampshire - A Review

Over the past few years we have been very fortunate to visit several zoos in numerous destinations around Europe. Whilst providing visitors the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful animals in the world up close, I believe that zoos also educate and inspire people to consider the part that they can play in conservation and learn more about animals that may be facing extinction.

I have heard and read great things about Marwell Zoo in the past, so whilst visiting the area recently we paid the zoo a visit and enjoyed a fantastic family day out together, amongst the beautiful surroundings. Located in Hampshire, the zoo is situated within the grounds of a 140 acre park, which is home to hundreds of different animals and birds. I have seen it described as being one of Hampshire's top attractions and following our recent visit, it was clear for me to understand why.


We arrived at approximately 11am after an early start from our home in North Wales. I had been slightly concerned that we may have had an issue with parking, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a very large FREE car park, with numerous attendants who guided all guests into their spaces. It was then a short walk from our vehicle to the entrance, which had several tills and lines to welcome visitors in a friendly and quick manner.

The admission prices are really reasonable and there is also an annual membership option available if you would like to visit more regularly. An adult day pass including donation is £21, whilst a child admission is £17. As you can see from the image above, there are also discounted prices available for seniors, students and family entry.


As we entered the zoo, Riley was excited to see some advertisements for the Brickosaurs event. Lego and Dinosaurs are two of his favourite things, so he was delighted at the thought of seeing some huge dinosaurs made completely out of Lego bricks. He was provided with a map and competition entry form so that he could locate all of the different dinosaurs throughout the zoo. This also had the option to enter a competition by guessing how many bricks were involved in the making of the spectacular Tyrannosaurus Rex.

As we began to make our way around the zoo we came across some beautiful penguins. They had a huge enclosure and it was fantastic to be able to see them so close. You have two options of being able to view the penguins and this can either be from above, or alternatively you can also see them swimming in the water below. My children loved being able to see them both walking and swimming around.


One thing that soon became apparent, was how well laid out the zoo is. It felt really spacious and well maintained, which meant that despite being really busy, it never felt too crowded or enclosed. We also really liked how many picnic and seating areas there were located around the site, so that families had plenty of places to enjoy a refreshing drink or a bite to eat.

As we continued to make our way around the zoo, we came across the Giraffe House. The giraffes were all inside feeding as we arrived and I could have quite literally stood there for hours just watching them. They were so beautiful and graceful as they walked around and Riley was fascinated to see just how tall they were up close. The Giraffe House was a large area which provided plenty of space, but there was also a fantastic outdoor enclosure that gave them plenty of space to roam and enjoy themselves. I was really pleased to see how much room they had and they all looked very happy and healthy.


As we left the Giraffe House, we went to visit the Lemur Loop, however although it was open for guests the lemurs had decided to go inside following a heavy downpour of rain, so a staff member advised us to come back later in the day. It was a very strange day for weather as one minute it was glorious sunshine and the next minute torrential rain. We therefore continued to make our way around the zoo and searched for some more animals and dinosaurs.

Riley soon spotted several more dinosaurs and after also spending some time watching the playful meerkats, we found a picnic bench to stop for a drink and a snack. The picnic benches had lovely views over a field that contained some zebras and there were also plenty of wild birds around us that my youngest son enjoyed spotting in the trees.


The kids then decided that it was time for a park stop, so my husband and I sat down nearby whilst the children spent half an hour playing. There were several parks located around the zoo, which I felt really helped to break up the day. It meant that in between seeing the animals or searching for dinosaurs, my husband and I could have a sit down and chat, whilst the children could enjoy a play.

We also really enjoyed the educational element of our day out and my children really enjoyed reading all the facts about each animal. Marwell Zoo displayed plenty of factual information and there was also details about how endangered they were. My 12 year old daughter found some of these very surprising and I think it helped her to realise the importance of zoos in preventing extinction.


Our next stop was the incredible Tropical House which spans across two floors and is home to a large variety of animals, insects, birds and 2500 fish. I had no prior knowledge of this part of the zoo prior to our visit, so I was quite taken aback by just how special it is.

It was amazing walking amongst beautiful butterflies and tropical birds as they flew freely around the building. We also saw turtles, frogs and lizards as we followed the route around, but our favourite certainly came towards the end, as we stood and observed the fascinating team work of the leaf-cutter ants. Watching them work together was fantastic and my youngest son Riley was absolutely mesmerized. My children also really enjoyed the aviary and seeing such a wide variety of different birds.

As we came towards the end of our visit, we were very excited to see some pygmy hippos, an animal that I don't ever recall seeing previously. I loved watching them in their large Aquatic Mammal house and they really were absolutely beautiful.


Overall we had an absolutely wonderful day at Marwell Zoo. It may have been our first time visiting, but it certainly won't be our last, as we were left extremely impressed by just how lovely it was. We spent approximately 5 hours there, which was just the right amount of time for my family, but we noticed that they also had a hotel on site, so we would definitely be tempted to spend longer there in the future. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Marwell Zoo to others looking for an enjoyable day out in beautiful surroundings.


Attraction Details

Address- Marwell Zoo, Thompson's Lane, Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH

Opening Times - Marwell Zoo is open all year round from 10am apart from on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Please check the website for closing times as this can vary throughout the year.

Entry prices - Information regarding entry prices can be found on the Marwell Zoo website here.

If you would like to find out more about Marwell Zoo, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram: @MarwellZoo


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary admission, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our visit. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. Any prices, times or dates are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attraction's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.


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