What is it?
A small, friendly zoo advertised for children. Find it in Battersea Park and enter through the park at Chelsea Gate off Queenstown Road. Sloane Square is the nearest tube station.
Babies / Toddlers / 5 – 8
£ – reasonably priced, with annual passes and discount tickets for children with special needs.
What’s on offer
Don’t expect any gorillas, tigers or polar bears at this zoo. We’re talking more along the lines of meerkats, otters, reptiles, birds and farm animals. Expect a smaller, more personal experience with feeding opportunities and some arts and crafts events tailored to children available.
Aside from the animal enclosures and bird sanctuary, there is a Kids Zone which comprises of a large play area, children’s climbing equipment and a big red tractor and fire engine which kids can sit on. There’s also a trampoline, chalkboards for creative types and a sandpit for sandcastle building.
If that’s not enough to incite even the parents to get involved in playtime, there are picnic benches situated around the Kids Zone for parents to relax whilst the little ones stay active.
There is a wide range of useful facilities for mums at the zoo. A heated room, baby feeding room and a baby changing facility are all available. The Zoo runs a café, The Lemon Tree Café, which is right by the zoo’s bird enclosure. It’s fully wheelchair accessible, which means that buggies should be able to get around, too.
If the zoo is a hit with your family, you can also book an action-packed birthday party for your child. There’s also a gift shop.
The zoo is allows children and parents to watch, enjoy and get involved in the feeding times for many different animals (the details of which are on the website) which is definitely a highlight. There’s lots of information available about the animals, which is useful from an educational perspective and the animals are well looked after, as the owners are wildlife and animal experts.
It’s not too big, so weary children with tired feet shouldn’t be an issue. The park is well laid out and the café isn’t too pricey.
What to watch out for
– Some parents have noted that the play area can be a distraction from the main purpose for the zoo for some children. Carol, one of Battersea Park Zoo’s owners, addressed the issue on TripAdvsior:
“All the play equipment is on the left and the animals/birds on the right so it is possible to choose play first and animals after or vice versa. I would love NOT to have any play equipment however for modern families there is a greater expectation for entertainment even with our playground we still are asked ‘what else do you have going on?’”
– Older children won’t find this park/zoo very stimulating, but it is a great place to let the younger kids run free and have some fun in the process.
– You can make a full day of the trip. Visit the animals in the morning, take a packed lunch, then allow your kids to explore the play area and if they have any energy left, go for a walk around Battersea Park by the river Thames.
– Keep your eyes peeled for 2-for-1 vouchers. They make the zoo great value for money.
What the owners say
“When the much-loved zoo, formerly run by Wandsworth Council, was threatened with closure in 2003, the Heap family stepped in and saved it. Carol, Roger and Ed Heap have a passion for animals and valuable experience of running two other wildlife parks.
Taking over Battersea Park Children’s Zoo gave them a chance to create a zoo exactly the way they wanted it – turning it into an opportunity for youngsters to enjoy, respect and learn about the animals with whom we share our planet.”