UK is blessed with a number of amazing zoos and safari parks. Offering visitors the chance to see wildlife close up, a day out at one of the following zoos or safari parks is sure to be a great experience no matter how old or young you are.

1. Chester Zoo


(photo credit:marcusandsue)

Chester Zoo (CH2 1EU) is certainly one of the most popular zoological parks in the UK. Attracting some 1.4 million visitors each year, you’ll certainly be in good company when looking at the thousands of creatures housed at the zoo.

While there are more than 400 different species to be found at the Cheshire-based attraction, it is perhaps the orangutans that are among the most popular animals. The park has the largest exhibit dedicated to the mammals in Europe, as well as containing the biggest zoo-based butterfly house in the UK.

The price of admission to Chester Zoo varies depending which time of the year you visit.

2. London Zoo


(photo credit: marv)

Another of the UK’s leading zoos can be found in the capital city. Situated in the north-east corner of Regent’s Park, a visit to London Zoo gives you the opportunity to see everything from flamingos to komodo dragons.

One of the most popular attractions at the zoo is undoubtedly the Penguin Beach Live show. Taking place at 14:30, here you’ll get the chance to feed the birds yourself.

Open every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day, just over one million people visit the zoo every year.

3. Bristol Zoo


(photo credit: martyn)

Bristol Zoo is one of the UK’s oldest zoological centres. Opened in 1836, more than 400 species of animals can be seen here, prominent among them are pygmy hippos and the endangered red panda.

There are 9 covered enclosures, including Bug World which is home to locusts and spiders, so even if it rains you’ll still be able to see lots of creatures without getting too wet.

However, if you take either the bus or train to Bristol you’ll be able to buy a special ticket that offers discounted travel and entrance. If you’re travelling by car you should enter BS8 3HA into your sat-nav.

4. Knowsley Safari Park


(photo credit: marcusandsue)

On the outskirts of Liverpool, Knowsley Safari Park (L34 4AN) allows you to see creatures such as bison and African elephants, as well as sea lions and reptiles.

The highlight for many however is the drive through the Monkey Jungle zone which usually results in baboons climbing on top of your car. Be warned though, the baboons have been known to do some damage to vehicles; so for those who treasure their vehicles, you may want to travel down the vehicle friendly route!

5. Longleat Safari & Adventure Park


(photo credit: glenbowman)

A final animal attraction that should certainly not be missed is Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.

Located in Wiltshire, just off the A36 between Bath and Salisbury, Longleat is not only the UK’s first safari park but is also the first facility of its type to be opened outside Africa.

Initially opening as a 100-acre lion reserve in 1966, the park has expanded significantly over the years. While you’ll still be able to see the majestic big cats, there now are many other creatures you can spot, including llamas, vultures, wildebeest and parrots.

Open from mid-February to early November, the park is set in the grounds of the Longleat House stately home and a visit here also gives you the chance to feed farmyard animals and go on fairground rides.You’ll also have many opportunities to take cute animal pictures with your children.

Several money-saving packages are available and you can also benefit from lower admission prices if you book in advance.

No matter where you go, visiting either a safari park or zoo means you’ll have the chance to see some amazing wildlife in what is sure to be a memorable day out for all concerned.

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