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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

An Enjoyable Day Out at The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Let me begin this post by thanking ZSL Whipsnade for a great day out. What a fantastic time we had! We thoroughly enjoyed seeing such a large variety of wildlife. And the views! ZSL Whipsnade has to be the zoo with the best views - simply gorgeous.

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade is the UK’s biggest zoo spread over around 600 acres in the beautiful Dunstable area in Bedfordshire. The zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals with most of the animals living in sizeable enclosures. Some animals like the Patagonian Mara and wallabies are free to roam the park. Because of the size of the zoo, a free bus service is provided inside to take you from one area to the other. Alternatively you can drive your own car into the zoo and park at specified locations near various animal enclosures. An additional cost applies when you bring in your own car.

We started off with the 'Wild Wild Whipsnade' zone which included animals like the European Lynx, wolverines, European brown bears, wild boar, bison and moose. The brown bear was my favourite from this zone - a perfect combination of beauty and strength.

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo




We drove around in our car, getting off at various parking points and then taking a closer look at the animals. The zoo map was very handy as it let us decide which zones we wanted to look at first. One of our favourites was the Southern white rhinoceros which is one of largest and heaviest land animals in the world. At one point of time this rhino was on the endangered list, but with excellent conservation and breeding programmes all around the world, it has made a remarkable comeback both in the wild and in captivity (in zoos and national parks). The sight of this rhino never fails to amaze me - what a majestic and beautiful animal it is.

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo



The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo




We had seen Rockhopper penguins only in a wildlife documentary and getting to see them so close at the zoo was amazing. The Rockhoppers are one of the smallest penguin species but they pack a big punch in terms of personality and style. With their spiky yellow and black feathers on the top of their heads, they look nothing less than a rock star. These are amazing animals. The African penguins were also lovely and very inquisitive. They seemed to be interested in interacting with the visitors.







The Lions of the Serengeti zone was also a truly unforgettable experience. We had amazingly close views of the lion pride - one adult male, two adult females and four young lions. Spike, the head male of the pride, was majestic. We spent a lot of time at this enclosure. We must have snapped nearly a hundred photos at just this enclosure. Don't worry. You don't have to look at all of them. I have only shared a handful on the blog. But this post is definitely picture intensive.
 

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo



The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
While there were lots of birds at ZSL Whipsnade like Macaws, Owls, Hawks, Toucans and the Bald eagle, our favourite was the Flamingo. With its reddish-pink plumage, this large bird was a hit among other visitors as well. These beautiful birds are not born with a rosy hue, rather they pick up the colour from their meals (algae and other crustaceans). So, how pink a flamingo appears depends on what it is eating.


The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


The zoo also has an interesting list of daily events including: Hippo Chat, Crocodile Talk and Lemur Lookout to name a few.  These events include animal feeds and demonstrations as well as keeper talks. We attended the Sea Lion Splash event, where ZSL Whipsnade's beautiful and intelligent sea lions put up a good demonstration. With their smooth streamlined bodies and strong flippers, the sea lions powered through the water tank performing various manoeuvres. We also saw the sea lion pup, Oscar.



The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo


Other animals that we saw at the zoo included meerkats, lemurs, giraffes, sloth bears, tigers, zebra, bongos, antelopes, hippopotamus, cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, yak, gaur, Bactrian camels, many species of deer and the greater one-horned rhinoceros. We also visited the brand new Butterfly House which is home to over 30 different species of butterflies from around the world.















The ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

























Overall, we had an amazing day at ZSL Whipsnade. The location is stunning - the views across Dunstable Downs are breath-taking. There are so many animals to see. And the fact that the animals looked well cared for made it even better.






ZSL Whipsnade has some discounted ticket rates for students, seniors and disabled visitors. You can also book your tickets online and jump the queue! There a couple of cafes and food kiosks within the zoo, however you can bring along a packed picnic. If you are interested in the daily shows, then do make sure you reach a little before time as these shows are quite popular and the seating is limited.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable day. I only wish I could have brought a Rockhopper back home with me.

You will find all the information you need to plan your visit to ZSL Whipsnade here.

* We were guests of ZSL Whipsnade. However, all views expressed are our own.

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1 comment :

  1. Fantastic photos! I never new some of these animals before. They're all so strange, yet beautiful to look at - I would love to go and visit there someday. Thanks for the post!

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