The ZSL London Zoo is not the largest zoo I’ve ever seen, nor does it have a very impressive range of large animals (no elephants or rhinos, etc.). But, for a zoo in the middle of such a dense city like London, the zoo does exactly as it should: it places emphasis on the smaller creatures in this world, like bugs of all sorts, butterflies, fish, reptiles and amphibians, and birds of the jungle. All of these different exhibits, each in their own separate building, are located indoors, which means even on a rainy day you can still enjoy a long day at the zoo!
In fact, I have to say that I think my kids actually prefer these indoor exhibits. My son, with a particular fondness of sea creatures, could spend hours inside the small but extensive aquarium. He also really loves the reptiles and amphibians, with loads of large snakes, lizards, turtles and frogs. And if you arrive in the later part of the afternoon, as we usually do, you may even get to see these animals at feeding time, which is great fun! (We once spent a good 20 minutes watching a lizard chase around all the crickets in his cage!)
The butterfly exhibit, located inside a large, inflated caterpillar, contains hundreds of different free-flying butterflies and moths which flutter around you, and will impress even your youngest children. It is always a hit with my boys.
And lastly, the bug exhibit (which isn’t exactly my most favorite), showcases all sorts of different bugs. Upon entry, you’ll find a large ant farm, with hundreds of crawling ants walking along their terrain. If you’re like me, it will give you the creeps, but if your kids are like mine, they’ll stand there in awe watching the different ants carrying pieces of leaves from one point to the next. Pretty fascinating.
The London Zoo is one of our favorite activities in London, both on a sunny day and on a rainy one. Which usually works out well considering the typical London day: scattered clouds, periods of rain with sunny spells!!!
I love those butterfly houses. Initially I was hesitant to go, but boy am I glad I did.
As for the fish, I’ve always had aquaria so I constantly recommend them to friends with children. Just remember to keep the hoods locked in some manner lest everything in your living room end up submerged!
having just had my second son; I am realising I need to develop a tolerance for bugs. I must confess my eldest does, with hesitation, dispose of household spiders for me as those I can’t tolerate, but bugs are his thing. we are planning a trip to London soon to visit my childless friends so I think I will introduce them to the world of bugs also with the consolation that they will get to see butterflies.