We were really pleased to have the opportunity to visit Battersea Park Zoo as part of Tots100 and MoneySupermarket’s ‘Britain’s Best Day Out’ campaign to find the best family days out. The zoo is somewhere we’ve passed loads, especially whilst Sam was living in Battersea, so it has long been on our list of places to check out, even more so since Arlo loves animals so much at the moment!
Battersea Park Zoo is much better suited to toddlers than some of its larger competitors. We found it just the right size for a toddler to walk around without getting tired out too quickly, and all the attractions can easily be seen before their patience wears too thin.
We’ve considered taking Arlo to London Zoo again now he’s a bit older, but all in all, I think it might be a bit too much – a very long day, and if we let him out of the buggy it would take an age to walk anywhere. Also, At London Zoo the enclosures are larger, and at Arlo’s age he has trouble spotting an animal if it is far away or sitting very still. The enclosures at Battersea Park Zoo allowed him to get up close and personal with the animals.
The meerkat tunnel definitely left an impression!
If you have a little fire engine fan, Battersea Park Zoo will be a winner, featuring a real fire engine that you can sit in and pretend to drive. And the zoo provides yellow hard hats for extra dress-up fun! During our time in the fire engine, I spoke to a lady whilst Sam played ‘fire engine rescue’ with her son and Arlo. They had traveled from Highbury and she said the fire engine was the only reason they’d made the trip to the zoo that day.
There is a decent adventure playground in the zoo itself, but If you’re looking to kill even more time, you have the whole of picturesque Battersea Park to explore, including the best adventure playground I’ve ever seen this side of London. You could really make a day of this outing if you combine a zoo visit with a walk around the park.
Entrance prices to Battersea Park Zoo are £6.50 for a child ticket (2 – 15 years old) and £7.95 for an adult ticket. Altogether for our family that would mean spending over £20 for an attraction that can be thoroughly explored in under 3 hours, which seems a bit steep to me.
We checked the website before our trip and learnt that the Zoo’s cafe is closed during winter. We brought a packed lunch and found plenty of picnic tables. Eating outside in early November was just about bearable, although in colder or more rainy weather this does leave you a bit stuck for options if you get hungry during your visit – I would have liked to have seen more sheltered eating areas or perhaps an indoor area for eating picnics/packed lunches.
Aside from the cafe, there are a couple of vending machines and coffee machines for refreshments. Baby changing facilities were good. There are a few talks and feeding times on offer, but only on weekends and during school holidays.
The best thing at the zoo, according to Sam.
Pigeons in the enclosures – a truly genuine London zoo.
In conclusion, I’d much rather take Arlo to Battersea Zoo at this age than tackle one of the larger zoos, we thought the playground and little extras like the fire engine were brilliant, but it would be perfect if the entrance prices were a little less expensive.
And now, I leave you with what is by far the best part of our review – Arlo and Sam demonstrating what kind of animals you can find at Battersea Park Zoo. Extra points if you can guess the animal impressions, although even I lost track of which animals they were impersonating at times, so good luck to you!
———————– Our tickets to Battersea Park Zoo were provided free of charge in exchange for this review.
With three children and a camera never far away, Chloe Bridge is the author of family lifestyle and travel blog, Sorry About The Mess. Chloe writes and creates video about her experiences of motherhood and life with young children.