Twycross Zoo is a Zoo that focuses on conservation which has a variety of animals indoors and outdoors, and their message carries of conservation follows through the whole place. Its located a the Village of Twycross near Hinkley, Tamworth with Coventry and Birmingham not far.
We have been before but we attended this time during their Halloween event, so you might see the odd pumpkin and skeleton in the background lol. We have been to a selection of Zoo’s the kids enjoy attending zoos, especially piglet who would like to see animals every week if she had her chance. This inst a huge Zoo spread over acres so it’s mostly manageable with pushchairs wheelchairs etc. there are only a couple of areas nearer the wooded area that can be a bit difficult.
The Roads are fairly easy to use with quick access, its not too hidden out of the way with major roads not far, the car park is easy and not sprawled across miles away, however it does get busy at key times and my personal opinion its not a place that you have to be there from the minute you open to close, there’s certainly things to do and see but I imagine some do half days or attended slightly later and leave early.
The entranceway is great with it set into a purpose-built hillside, with rolls around. This showing the natural side of things, surprisingly when you enter the main entrance this has a huge play area, cafe, mini restaurant and gift shop, as well as some quality facilities.
This is a little odd as you are not in the Zoo yet, but I actually like that this is slightly different, and set separate, you can go through to the main gates but its a great meeting point, you can also view the snow leopard that is attached to the side of this big building for an added treat while you eat and play. The cafe and restaurant is standard prices, they sell alcohol and proper Costa, not just a generic Costa machine that some places do, this is all a little pricey but like I said, pretty standard for an attraction like a Zoo or Theme park etc..
The Big Play area is a paid area, you have to pay to enter, it has wrist bands etc. £6 for 2 hours? to be honest my first thought is that was expensive but in the grand schemes of things? no not really, it’s a big indoor play area and kids could easily have fun there for that time. If you have their Membership you get it for £2, which is a very good price.
As you go through the ticket entrance, you can suddenly make a left through the explorers part of the park, however, we decided to go the other way the main pathway and conservation way, this has a variety of monkeys leading to a big area, with Meerkats and Amur Leopards, Zebras and Lorikeet landing, a bird area designated for Lorikeets that you can walk though, and feed if you would like to pay etc, but this gets you very close to them. this is the first of the purpose-built interactive areas and looks great.
But as you swing to the right to that big open area it holds a Wet and Wild water play area, with picnics areas in the middle, on either side of this Zebras, Tortoises, Bush dogs, Owls, Prairie Dogs and Penguins. These are all around the edges of this open area and you can attempt to look at these in a circle or if you just chilling and eating etc.
From here there is a slightly more rural walk that takes you to round further edges of the exhibits that I just said, imagine your going behind them but in the woods etc. Its a bit wet and muddy on certain days and people may struggle a little with walking, pushchairs or wheelchairs. Here we have the Tapirs, Borneo Longhouse, which has an extra display about Borneo itself, lastly flamingos and Pelicans. These are much more of a natural look to the displays, not a purpose-built area.
We choose this path and was led all the way around the side and came out near the Giraffes and Rhino habitat, on this walk we saw some baby monkeys, Statues, and nice scenery that perhaps you would miss if you stayed near the middle,
The giraffes were being fed so some were outside there, and some were inside, these two areas are much bigger, due to the size of the animals, and a lot of care has been put into the, however for me the frustrating part was I didn’t see the rhino again, the third time in a row I couldn’t see them lol, not the fault of the zoo.
once you are past this you approach the new Chimpanzee Eden, this is at the far end of the main path, opposite to the entrance so you have done a semi-circle with the path that we took, but ultimately you have come to the same part. However I do feel this is a little bit out of the way, the entrance is even angled weirdly away from the path, if you were on the main path you could easily think you were coming to a dead end and turn before it,
But once you do enter it, its fantastic, another purpose-built exhibit, lots of room for them but you walk through the middle ina forest style design (fake indoors), but its great for the kids to interact and understand where they are, different to just a normal walkway. Like other purpose-built areas there are lots of facts.
Through here you come out to an area that has a restaurant,The Catch, a fish and chips restaurant (smelt lovely), a walk through Lemurs with closed gates etc.. and then continue through Kingdom of the apes via the Gorillas and Bonobos, these are fine and showcases more apes and monkeys, but compared to the Eden and upcoming gibbon Forrest, these areas do not have that same wow factor and doesn’t look like they have as much area of fun things as the others.
On the edge of this area is the back of the Lorikeet and the Orang utangs, opposite to this across the open grass is the new Tiggers exhibition, unfortunately, no tigers were visible as they were asleep, and because of the design of the indoor part, you cannot see them.
However the outdoor area including a Glass tunnel you walk through, that sees the tigers go over the top looks great, they have a big area to roam that we can see, but as I said they were sleeping, lastly in this area is the otters.
As you continue the walk this way ( we went a big circle ) you approach a big area that has an outdoor play area, which gives the kids some fun, around the side, are the spider monkeys, Kangaroos, Wallabies and the back of the monkey from the main entrance area.
Overlooking is the big gibbon Forest, there are tables and areas to chill out on a warm day, maybe have a picnic. But I do feel there could be more here, much like the wet and wild area earlier, more tables, more play area more designated areas, its just a little patchy in these two areas.
The Gibbon Forest is another Purpose-built area, it’s very big and looks pretty, not just the building and inside but the walk into and out, has water, pathway, scenery etc.. inside there is a design again similar to the Eden, bringing the outdoors inside.
With several Glass areas for the Gibbons, they can move around from room to room and outside, but with this, you are looking down and around, which is unique compared to other zoos and other exhibitions here.
Though here you venture forth to the Discovery area, which has a smaller kids play area, as the previous outdoor one was more for bigger kids. It is more farm and local animals in this area, a butterfly area, Goats, Donkey, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.
It also has an educational area, a Coffee shop, and Safari Cars, a paid activity that you drive electric cars around this area, parents can walk alongside them to help if they’re too young, I did with piglet though she drove over my foot. You can walk back, look at displays, cut through the middle etc..if not there is a small little shortcut near the butterflies that goes straight to the entrance.
Overall there are a lot of good things about here, they focus on Monkeys and apes, and you can tell by the quality of exhibits, they are very good and the designs, as well as interaction, compliments them well. If they continue this trend with the other animals they have there, like with Tigers, Lorikeets etc. then this would be even better.
On a busy day I could see this being difficult to view and probably get annoying with people as it’s not hugely open plan, and lots of big spaces, there are plenty of an average day, but if it was busy you may have to fight a little bit. But that isn’t really a negative as most places struggle, there’s a little bit for all sorts here, for young kids to older, the play areas help to keep kids motivated, but there are parts that feel quiet and peaceful for others that enjoy that.
Using everything available you could spend most of the day here, similar to match there opening hours that are shortened, however travelling a great distance a few times of the year perhaps not. But then that’s based on the person and family. Kids really enjoyed it and not being big walks between habitats means the kids don’t get as tired, there’s food and drink around as well as in the big entrance area, its not very commercialised which actually suits it, it doesn’t need big shops or big restaurants very 200 yards, or drink stations etc.
It’s a medium-size zoo in my opinion and well worth a visit, there’s definitely quality around here, the facilities are other than the main entrance area, could be improved, as could the walkways. This is the same though its lots of places as people come to terms with a new generation of standards and expectations, with food choice, accessibility etc. But it is a solid place to visit and people would have a good time here.