Exmoor Zoo – Review for families

Top tips and tricks to help you make the most of a day out in North Devon's Exmoor Zoo

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What is it?

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It’s a small and friendly zoo with a wide variety of animals. Find it in South Stowford, Barnstaple, North Devon. The Sat Nav postcode is EX31 4SG.

Best for:

Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8

OK for:

Babies / 9 – 12 / 12 +

Cost

££ – Under 3’s go free, but child (3 – 15 years) tickets are typically £8.95 and adults cost £11.95. They do have a saver ticket for groups of 4+  that gives £1 per person discount.

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What’s on offer

It’s a fairly small zoo in comparison to some zoos in London, like the ZSL London Zoo, for example. However, that doesn’t detract from its merits. For a start, it’s outdoor, but there are one or two things to see inside.

Walk in through the Meerkat enclosure and find yourself immediately enchanted by the personal feel this zoo has. See wallabies, creepy crawlies and alpacas to penguins galore and Dave, the cheetah. There are also lots of birds and other smaller animals. You might even be able to get up close and personal to the animals, unlike any opportunity you’d have at a much bigger zoo. Don’t get up close to the cheetah, though!

The zoo is “naturally” designed so expect lots of vegetation in the winding pathways and the sense you could almost get lost in the zoo. Make sure to find your way back to the various demos, talks and feeding times that can be witnessed throughout the day. Ask staff for a map or specific times and locations for events. If you’ve got some extra cash, why not book a ‘Keeper For A Day’ experience?

They have an under cover picnic area, playground and trampolines. Snack areas, a café and gift shop are also available. There is parking at the zoo. There are toilets but they aren’t very well signposted and there are baby-changing facilities available for families visiting with babies.

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Highlights

The friendly and well-informed team of zookeepers at Exmoor are welcoming and certainly know what they’re talking about. Most visitors enjoy strolling around and feel that the best part of the zoo is the close-up views and even opportunities to touch or feed the animals.

What to watch out for

– Exmoor Zoo has noted on their website that their may be accessibility problems for wheelchair and pushchair users:

“Exmoor zoo is on a gentle slope. It is positioned on the side of a South West facing valley. The average gradient is 1 in 12, although two short steep slopes (1 in 5) are to be found in the grounds. At least 75% of all paths are laid to tarmac for ease of wheelchair and push chair access and level paths exist between the gentle slopes. All other paths are laid to scree.”

Please bear this in mind whilst planning your visit.

– There aren’t any elephants, giraffes or any of the other attraction animals you’d usually expect to see. Please consult the website for full details of every type of creature they have at Exmoor Zoo.

– The Exmoor Zoo owners are a bit rude and defensive on TripAdvisor if you leave a bad review, which reflects quite badly on the attraction.

– As with most zoos, some visitors wonder if the enclosures for the animals are big enough. This is a cross to bear for animal lovers, but please speak to a member of staff if you see anything that makes you or you children feel uncomfortable or concerned for the animal’s welfare.

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MFM tips:

– Tesco Days Out Tokens are a great way to save money on this attraction. If you use them, you won’t get the saver ticket discount, though!

What the owners say

“Winner of the Gold award for best attraction in the South West 2012, Exmoor Zoo has become an ideal family day out. The zoo has established a good rapport with the North Devon community and offers a very hand on experience for all its visitors.”

Visit the official Exmoor Zoo website

Want to make the most out of your holiday? More family attractions in North Devon…

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The BIG Sheep
Milky Way Adventure Park
Watermouth Castle
Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
Haldon Forest Park
Quince Honey Farm

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