Paignton Zoo – Review for families

Everything you need to know about South Devon's premiere zoo and family attraction, Paignton Zoo

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What is it?

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Paignton Zoo is a zoo, conservation and an education charity. Find it in Paignton, South Devon, exactly one mile from the town centre. The Sat Nav post code is TQ4 7EU.

Best for:

OK for:

Cost

£££ – Adult tickets cost £14.45 and child tickets cost £10.45 whilst children under 3 go free.  These are the prices WITHOUT gift aid.

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What’s on offer

Discover over 2000 animals in their zoo habitats. Explore the forest habitat with crazy huge dragonflies and grass snakes, or Tropical Savannah grassland with the beautiful giraffes, zebras, elephants and rhinos. Alternatively take a trip to the Wetland habitat where you can spot pelicans, flamingos and cranes.

You can purchase feeding experiences with some animals like the giant tortoises and the meerkats.

The jungle express mini train takes you around the zoo to see the wonderful animals described above, almost like you’re on a real safari. If you’d rather go by foot, take a walk to lemur Wood to take part in the provided Clennon Gorge nature trail (which is fairly easy – so don’t worry about dragging little ones around),

In terms of entertainment, Paignton Zoo has got you covered whatever the weather. If it’s raining, try the Jungle Fun play area or the discovery centre, an interactive learning experience that allows children to engage with the wildlife and the environment, using sensory exhibits and quizzes to keep things interesting. If the weather is on your side, then never fear, there are also outdoor play areas available. There’s also the Hullaballoo Garden specifically designed and perfect for little ones under 5.

Facilities include a café, restaurant and snack kiosks, a front of house team willing to help, maps for each party and two gift shops – one for animal lovers and the other is a fudge shop. The zoo describes itself as reasonably pushchair friendly. There are several sets of toilets located around the zoo. There’s free parking for over 1000 cars, with an overflow car park not far away.

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Highlights

Seeing all the cute animals, especially if you’re lucky enough to visit not long after a baby has been born. Children will love the adorable meerkats and the crocs down at the Crocodile Swamp.  Parents will also feel reassured the animals seem to be well looked after.

There’s so much to do here that you’ll definitely fill up an entire day, so you won’t find yourself scrambling to keep the kids entertained. There are toilets everywhere and the handy maps keep you posted, so you’re unlikely to get lost or be without a bathroom.

What to watch out for

– Upon arriving at the desk, you will be expected to pay the ticket price including the gift aid donation. If you don’t want to make the gift aid donation, please alert the ticketing staff before you buy anything. Sure, this can be quite awkward, but you’re not obliged to pay anything you don’t want.

– If in doubt on the way there, just follow the brown tourist signs marked with an elephant. The zoo is near a Morrison’s supermarket.

– The Clennon Gorge nature trail is an easy walk, but it’s not flat, so any children unsteady on their feet, people with mobility problems or families with buggies may not find it suitable. It is not suitable for wheelchair users.

– The Jungle Express charges 80p per ride, which is a bit rich considering the entrance fee.

– One TripAdvisor user notes that the guinea pigs and rabbits are housed together, which is not good for the guinea pigs.

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MFM tips:

– The Zooper saver ticket gives you entrance to Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts Zoo & Aquarium. Without gift aid, these tickets cost £21.50 for an adult and £14.60 for a child. It’s good value if you want to visit both, anyway.

– Bring a picnic to keep the cost of the visit as low as possible. That being said, it really is worth the ticket price.

– Paignton isn’t far form gorgeous harbour town Brixham, which is well worth a visit!

What the owners say

“Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a conservation and education charity located in South Devon. With around two thousand animals, we have more species than anyone else in the South West. These include: crocodiles, snakes, lions, tigers, giraffes, elephant, rhinos, lemurs, meerkats and orangutans. The list is endless!”

Visit the official Paignton Zoo website

More family fun in South Devon…

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Plymouth Aquarium
Sea Tractor
South Devon Railway
Woodlands Leisure Park
Crealy’s Great Adventure Park
Miniature Pony Centre
Babbacombe Miniature Village

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