Shropshire Star

Travel review: Twycross Zoo

The kids may have gone back to school but Twycross Zoo still has plenty of offers to give the family a roaring good time.

Family looking in to Chimps

Not ready to let go of the blissful break of the summer yet, myself and my partner headed to the attraction for a day of wild encounters and stunning sites.

This September, the Leicestershire-based zoo is offering an online only family offer, admitting up to two adults and two children for just £55, as well as an over 60s offer for £11 tickets.

And with so much to see and do for the whole family, you certainly get your moneys worth.

With conservation at the centre of what they do, each exhibit at Twycross Zoo included valuable information about each species' conservation status, and what is being done to help them thrive.

From the Amur leopard through to the Bornean orang utan, giraffes and the brand new Sumatran tigers, the Staffordshire zoo hosts around 150 species, many of which are enrolled in conservation breeding programmes.

The information on offer, coupled with the innovative enclosures that allow visitors young and old to get close to the wondrous animals, help to highlight what our world is set to lose if we didn't have these programmes in place.

What's more, the zoo also runs its own palm oil strategy and only uses sustainable fish sources and fishing methods to feed the animals within the zoo, as well as visitors.

To aid in cutting down on paper handouts, the zoo has also employed its own app that can be downloaded to mobile devices showing key times for feeds across the park as well as an easy-to-follow map to plan your day.

With our digital map in hand, we set out across the zoo's various zones, including Conversation Way, Wet and Wild, Kingdom of the Apes, Life in the Trees, the Explorer Zone, Himalaya and the Nature Reserve.

Each themed area plunged us into a different part of the world without ever having to step foot on a plane. With immersive walkthrough exhibits that let visitors get up-close and personal with the zoos' residents through to play areas for the little ones and glass domes and panels that lets visitors effortlessly explore different enclosures, the zoo allowed us to interact with these magnificent beasts like never before.

Highlights included the tropical butterfly walkthrough, home to a mammoth Atlas moth, as well as Lorikeet Landing where intrepid bird lovers can buy pots of nectar and feed the zoo's feathered friends. Visitors can also walk with lemurs in the zoo's extensive lemur walkthrough, as well as pet the goats in the Nature Reserve - perfect for animal-loving children as well as big kids such as myself and my partner.

Twycross Zoo is the only zoo in the UK that is home to all four types of great ape, with Kingdom of the Apes exhibiting three of these - bonobo, chimpanzee and gorilla.

The vast enclosures allow you to watch the apes interact, with some even walking straight up to the glass to interact with us human visitors in breath-taking fashion. We spent a vast amount of time in Chimpanzee Eden simply studying the apes at play, and giggling as one cheeky chimp decided to make a young visitor laugh by pressing its face against the enclosure glass.

The zoo also offers informative daily talks that allow visitors to learn even more about the zoo's 500-strong residents, as well as feeding sessions. We marvelled at the quick swimming of the zoo's resident penguins as they darted for fish, as well as the regality of the rhino and Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat.

Despite both being animal buffs, we learned a wealth of interesting and unusual facts from the zoo's enthusiastic education rangers that added extra enjoyment to our visit.

Extended into September, visitors to Twycross Zoo can also meet a a unique collection of 12 brick models courtesy of BRICKLIVE Big Cats, including some of the world’s most magnificent felines. We loved searching the zoo for each impressive model, and learning how many bricks were required to bring each big cat to life.

During our trip, we decided to quickly stop at the zoo's onsite fish bar The Catch. We tucked into some flavoursome cod and fluffy chips as well as a soft drink each - all for just over £20 - in the sunshine. Great value for money and packed full of flavour, the meal provided us with the perfect re-charge during our day at the zoo. Various refreshment stands are placed across the zoo, offering choices to suit all dietary requirements and price points.

Informative and thoroughly enjoyable - we have a roar-ingly great time at Twycross Zoo, proving that the attraction is the perfect day out no matter what the weather.