For four years now we have had annual passes to Banham Zoo and though I’ve mentioned it several times, not once have I actually written about it! Well it’s time I fixed that.
There is a nice size area of paved car park, plus a substantial grassed carpark and an overflow carpark. All free of charge.
There are bathrooms throughout the site, not all have baby change facilities but three of them do. You’ll find these by the Parrot Pavillion Restaurant, near the Australian Paddock and by the Road Train Station.
There are plenty of places to eat, they are not all open all of the time, it depends on the season. But there is always something open. You can get anything from a snack to a full meal. We’ve eaten there several times and it’s never been disappointing, the paninis are awesome and the cake, well, the cake should all be left for me. Do not eat it.
There is a gift shop L is rather partial too as well. Lots of nice little things to purchase, cuddly toys, games, clothing items. So many animals to choose from.
There are so many animals to see and it changes all the time with new births and arrivals. It’s one of the reasons I love our annual pass, we get to see the zoo change throughout the year.
The latest addition is the Sea Lion enclosure, it only opened a few weeks ago and it is brilliant. The Sea Lions are such characters.
Oh and the camels have just had a baby, eeek.
Penguin Cove is a lovely area to walk through and see the penguins and some other free flying birds. I love the Lemur walk through, the get so close you could touch them. L’s favourite area is the giraffes, split in two levels you can get up to head height indoors and then take the gently descending raised deck path back down following the edge of their paddock.
If you can watch the Amazing Animals show you really should, I haven’t caught it recently but last time we did a lorikeet sat on me.
There are loads of birds to see, split over a couple of areas of the zoo. Monkeys and marmosets, several types of lemur. There is a sma; creepy crawly section as well that could be easily missed, it’s inside near the kids soft play.
Then there are the cats, the Tigers are fabulous and I love the Snow Leopards too. I’ve spent ages outside the Leopard enclosure watching for the cubs, I’ve managed a few little glimpses of them and they are cute, they won’t be small for much longer they are growing so quickly.
My favourite area is Eureka! A tropical house with free flying birds and butterflies. Tortoises have their own little area and there are some monkeys as well, sometimes they come out for a wander round the enclosure which allows you to get really close. Best of all are the two sloths, they can be hard to spot, but they are amazing. I love them.
There are so many animals to see, I know I haven’t mentioned them all. You can easily spend a whole day at the zoo. As we have passes we pop in and out as we please, sometimes we are there for the whole day, sometimes just an hour.
Other things to do
There is a small soft play area. It is really small and only only really suitable for very little children. You’ll also find some colouring stations and lego to play with. It’s a good spot if they have got a little tired and need to wind down for a minute.
The play area outside is fabulous, great for all ages. Slides, swings, adventure play and some space for them to run around and go crazy. Some visits we spend longer in the play area than we do looking at the animals.
The Road Train is a great way to see a lot of the zoo with zero walking! It’s great fun for the kids and a nice rest for the adults. It’s always informative as well.
There are various animal talks throughout the day and you can pay for various animal experiences, from a meerkat meet and greet to a zookeeper for the day. We got my Dad a bird of prey experience for his birthday one year and he loved it. He got to spend ages chatting about the birds and flying them as well, it was amazing value for money and one of the best gifts we’ve ever got him.
For an additional charge there are also Zorbs to run around and play in during peak season, and in good weather! These are situated near the Birds of Prey and underneath SkyTrek, a high ropes course that looks like a lot of fun and is also available at an additional cost. We haven’t tried it but I love to watch the brave children who make their way round and whizz down the zip wire at the end.
There are some nice things to do, just outside of the zoo as well. And I mean literally just outside!
Every Sunday there is a huge car boot sale at the far end of the zoo car park. It is very well organised and worth a look at if you are there on a Sunday, it’s also fan if you want to go along with your things to sell.
The Garden Enclosure is just outside the zoo entrance, you have to walk past it to go to the zoo.
Opening Times & Prices
|WITHOUT GIFT AID||WITH GIFT AID|
|Child (3-15 yrs)||£15.40||£16.95|
For full details of times and prices please visit their website, these are only a snapshot.
It is expensive, but zoos are. You can’t get away from that. But for a full day out, which is great fun and perfect for the whole family, it’s not all that bad. I love our annual passes and we make full use of them, definitely get our money back there.
Banham Zoo has been my saviour throughout the years, brilliant when L was a tiny baby and I needed somewhere pushchair friendly to walk. The hours I spent! Now he’s bigger it is the perfect place for him to come and blow off some steam. He has learnt a lot from the zoo as well. We really love our trips to the zoo. It’s something different every time and a great place to catch up with friends.
I would certainly recommend a visit and if you live nearby the annual pass is worth the investment.