Newquay Zoo – Review for families

Cornwall's biggest animal attraction - but is it all it's cracked up to be? We've got all the info you need

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What is it?

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Newquay Zoo is the biggest zoo and animal wildlife park in Cornwall. Find it in Trenance Gardens, Newquay. The Sat Nav postcode is TR7 2NN.

Best for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool / 5 – 8. This attraction is better suited to families with young children

OK for:

9 – 12, if they’re younger than their years or just love animals! It’s not ideal for teenagers. They’ll get bored.

Cost

£££ – Adult tickets are £12.95 and child tickets (3 – 15 years) cost £10. Under 3’s go free. Newquay Zoo adds a voluntary donation to its tickets. If you want to save around £1 per ticket, please let staff know that you do not want to donate before you buy anything. The saver ticket for 2 adults and 2 children, without donation, costs £35.

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What’s on offer

Explore Newquay’s well-laid out zoo by picking and choosing which of the several Animal Houses you and your family want to visit.  There’s plenty to pick from, and you can visit them all. There’s the Tropical House – crawling with snakes, insects and aflutter with exotic birds.  The Madagascan Walkthrough houses parrots and lemurs. Village Farm, Toad Hall and Wildlife at Night are pretty self-explanatory. Don’t forget the African Savanna, home to wildebeests, antelopes, cranes and even zebras! There are lions, adorable red pandas and even the unusual tropical mammal Kinkajou.

There are also daily zoo talks and feeding times. There’s a timetable on the website, but you should get a talk sheet with fully up-to-date info upon your arrival. Special penguin and meerkat feeding sessions also take place from time to time, but it’s not a daily occurrence due to the animals’ diets, so make sure you ring up and ask if it’s on during your visit.

Children can also burn up some energy by tackling the zoo’s Cornish Dragon Maze and exploring the adventure playground. If they’re really keen animal-lovers, Newquay Zoo also offers a ‘keeper for a day’ experience at an extra cost. There are events for children on throughout the year, so check the website to see what’s on during your visit. There are also monthly clubs for children between the ages of 8 – 16 called ‘Meerkat Mob’ and ‘Zoo Cadets’, which for an extra cost allow for a fun educational trip to the zoo. Check the website for up to date dates, times, prices and age limits.

The zoo has a café, Café Lemur, adjacent to Lemur Island and the main lake. There’s also a snack kiosk and even a BBQ during the summer months. Like most attractions, you will be exiting through the gift shop.

Facilities-wise, Newquay Zoo has accessible toilets with baby-changing facilities next to the children’s play area and at the main entrance. There are places to sit and take a walking break or have a picnic. There’s parking nearby, run by the Council, with free parking on nearby side streets (if you’re savvy enough to find them). The site considers itself ‘reasonably pushchair friendly’, though admits that some areas may feel quite steep for those pushing the buggy! It’s not always super easy to get around.

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Highlights

It’s a pleasant day out. The park is well sign-posted, clean and it appears that the animals are well looked after with lots of space and toys and climbing equipment to play with. It’s better value for money if you bring your own lunch. The picnic areas are nice.

Children should love the range of animals, but the big hitters are of course the lion (if you get to see him strutting about in his enclosure), the cute penguins, who can be fed and stroked on occasion and the more unusual species families won’t be used to seeing at zoos and nature parks, like the marsupial Kinkajou. There are lots of great photo opportunities.

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What to watch out for

  • The zoo, though the biggest in Cornwall, is small with a limited collection when compared to other zoos like London Zoo, Paignton Zoo and Exmoor Zoo. Please don’t get your expectations up too high.
  • Also, we’ve included the biggest and most attraction-worthy animals in our description, so don’t expect elephants and giraffes. You won’t find them here.
  • Some reviewers felt that you don’t get as much as you pay for.
  • The saver ticket isn’t ideal if you’ve got more than two children or just one adult in your party. Speak to staff to see if they will accommodate your family’s size (though don’t get your hopes up).

MFM tips:

  • Plan for no longer than three hours here, take a picnic for lunch and then spend the afternoon playing or chilling out at the nearby beach.
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What the owners say

Get closer to over 130 of the world’s rare and exciting creatures at the award winning Newquay Zoo! Watch the big cats devour lunch, visit the creepiest crawlies in the atmospheric tropical house and learn more about conservation – Newquay Zoo is home to some critically endangered species including the beautiful Red Pandas, Owston’s Civets and Black Wildebeest.

Keeper talks and animal feeds happen throughout the day but if you want to get even closer, our animal experiences give you the chance to meet and feed our cheeky Lemurs or friendly Penguins. If that isn’t enough, we have activity trails, face painting, a children’s play area and Dragon maze to keep people of all abilities and ages occupied.”

Visit the official Newquay Zoo website

Photos: Facebook / Newquay Zoo

Read more MFM family guides to Cornwall:

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Newquay Aquarium
Newquay Zoo
Land’s End
Eden Project
Buccaneer Bay
Paradise Park
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Flambards
Holywell Bay Fun Park
Dairyland Farmworld

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