We travel full-time as a family and I've just started blogging and freelance writing with no set place to call home, I'm now sharing my family's adventures online. Please visit my blog at www.timetowalkabout.com
Published August 7th 2019
Can you find the beast of Exmoor
A trip to Exmoor Zoo can keep the whole family entertained for the day.
First opened in 1982 under the name Exmoor Bird Gardens, it subsequently changed owners and slowly expanded into what we see today. As it expanded, visitor numbers have grown from 10,000 to over 45,000 a year and continue to grow.
They work with zoos from around the world participating in breeding programs with over 35 currently running. These are designed to maintain the captive population of endangered species. They selectively exchange animals with other zoos to ensure species survival and prevent inbreeding. This keeps the gene pool diverse and enables them to ensure that the animals are strong and healthy.
Unlike zoos of the past, the animal enclosures aren't neat and tidy or designed for maximum spectator viewing. Instead, they have been filled with a variety of different plant and shrubs that are chosen to help relax the animals and encourage their natural behaviour. Even with all the foliage, we didn't have any problem spotting the animals and liked that fact that the animals' comfort comes first.
Throughout the day, they have keeper talks and shows where you get to learn more about the animals and even get to touch some snakes and furry ones.
For an additional fee, they have different close-up and hands-on experiences that include:-
Reindeer and Mammal Experience – A close-up experience with some reindeer and a couple of their other large animals and possibly a chance to feed some others, it lasts around an hour and includes standard entry to the zoo and 12 months animal sponsorship.
Junior keeper for a day – Designed for kids aged between 8 and 15, they will get half a day's experience of being a keeper. Meeting and feeding many of the animals and getting hands-on with them while doing regular keeper duties.
Carnivore Experience – This one is only for people aged 18, and you get up close to the big cats and dogs with experiences lasting 1 to 2 hours.
They may change the animals you get to interact with on the day as the welfare of the animals comes first.
For the kids, there is an excellent playground for them to run around.
They have an African themed café that serves a variety of hot and cold drinks and food with seating for over 130 people.
When driving here, our GPS tried to take us down a few single-track lanes, but fortunately, we had a rough idea as to where to go. We would recommend to anyone visiting to double-check the route your GPS tries to go. Going along the A399, you'll eventually see the brown tourist signs that guide there, blink, and you may miss them.