Marwell Zoo is a large Wildlife Park near Winchester in Hampshire. We’ve visited once before but this was our first visit as a complete family with the whole range of ages from 2 – 13 in tow!
We often struggle to find days out that appeal to both toddler, teen and in between…but Marwell Zoo was a hit all round. The zoo is owned by Marwell Wildlife which is an action oriented charity leading conservation programmes in the UK and Africa. The zoo offers up close encounters with a wide range of rare and exotic animals, from endangered tigers to giraffes, penguins to meerkats and even rhinos and cheetahs!
The Wildlife Experience
The first thing that struck me as we entered the park was the sheer sense of open space. Marwell covers 140 acres of parkland meaning that the animals are housed in their own spacious and stimulating enclosures. Visitors are able to follow a series of well laid out and easy access walkways allowing great views of the Wildlife whilst ensuring a stress free visit for those with pushchairs or mobility difficulties. The children loved stomping along these board walks excitedly seeking out the next animal on the trail.
Despite only being able to spend a few hours at the park we were really impressed by the wide range of impressive species at the park. We saw penguins, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, lemurs, meerkats…and the list goes on… We were able to enjoy up close encounters with several of these animals and every creature we saw looked happy, healthy and well cared for.
Conservation and Education
Throughout our visit we encountered opportunities to learn, understand and ideas on how to protect the Wildlife Marwell. Just by visiting the park, you’ll be supporting Marwell’s conservation projects both here in the UK and in Africa. These conservation projects range from habitat restoration in Marwell’s woodlands to scimitar-horned oryx reintroductions in Tunisia and wildlife monitoring of Grevy’s zebra and elephants in East Africa.
The children loved discovering facts about each of the animals as we made our way around the park in their own Explorers Trail book. These books not only engaged the children but allowed them to share their knowledge about habitats and quirky facts with the rest of the family.
There are five play areas throughout Marwell! You could spend a whole day just touring these! We only managed to tick off two during our visit but we were really impressed with what we saw. The play areas appealed to ages: Logan (2) enjoyed the animal carvings and wobbly bridge, Daisy (8) loved the balance equipment and M and L (11 and 13) enjoyed playing tag and parkour(!?) on the larger play apparatus. The play areas are well spaced out, often near a cafe and loo stop meaning that grown ups are able to recharge and everyone’s kept happy!
5 Tips for a great family visit to Marwell Zoo
- Check the time of feeding displays and up close experiences. The Lemur Walkthrough opened earlier this year and allows you to meet the lemurs face to face!
- Make a note of the times that the tractor / rail rides take place. Little tired legs might need a ride by the end of the day.
- Pick up an Explorer Trail book at the entrance for a small donation. Our children loved collecting the stamps as we toured the park.
- Buy tickets online, especially during peak season when queues at the front gate can build up.
- Catch the bus! If you arrive at the park on public transport you’ll receive a 10% discount off your entry price!