Today I’m reviewing Blackpool Zoo in Lancashire, which I visited in September with my husband and toddler. I love writing reviews and sharing our UK days out, so I hope it is helpful.
Blackpool Zoo is a compact zoo on the edge of Stanley Park which was originally an airport! Blackpool Zoo had it’s transformation to a zoo in 1972 and was council run for quite a long time before being taken over by Parques Reunidos in 2007, with the primary aim of the conservation of endangered and threatened species. It’s only a 10 minute drive from Blackpool seafront and Blackpool Pleasure Beach as well as a whole host of hotels and attractions.
There’s a large car park at Blackpool Zoo (pay and display, £2.50 per day) and ticket prices range from £7.50 up to £18.99. The car park did fill up very quickly so I’d recommend getting there earlier in the day on busy days. Children under 3 are free, which definitely helps the budget for families with toddlers. Online booking is cheaper if you’re after deals, and Blackpool Zoo is included in some multi-pass tickets as well as Tesco’s clubcard vouchers scheme. We visited the zoo on our Blackpool Resort Pass Plus, along with a whole host of other Blackpool attractions which you can read about here. We felt this was really excellent value for money!
If you follow my blog you’ll know I write a lot of zoo reviews, and consider myself a bit of a zoo aficionado, not least because I’ve worked with exotics (primarily reptiles) for over 20 years now. Of course once you have a kid, your priorities in visiting things change and now I notice a lot about how family friendly and accessible zoos are. So what did I – and more importantly, what did my two year old, think of Blackpool Zoo?
Blackpool Zoo Review and Photos
With an excellent focus on conservation, there is a diverse range of animals on display at Blackpool Zoo, including impressive close-up views of Asian Elephants, Amur Tigers, Western Lowland Gorillas, African Lions, Orangutans, Giraffes, Iberian Wolves, a whole host of primates and many more. This allowed us to get some great photos! A lot of thought and work has gone into creating natural enclosures that guarantee the best quality of life for the inhabitants whilst also allowing people to get up close and personal and observe natural animal behaviour. The toddler loves being able to see the animals clearly and that was definitely easy at Blackpool Zoo. I’m always amazed when I think how far zoos have come from the concrete blocks of my childhood.
Blackpool Zoo really impressed me with how well designed everything was and how well integrated guests and animals were together for the best of both worlds.
Blackpool Zoo with a Toddler
Of course, the majority of people visiting zoos are families with children. Zoos are an amazing educational experience for families, but children need high levels of entertainment too. That’s the best way to help them learn – through play and having fun! So far William loves zoos. He’s only 2 years and 6 months old at this point, but has already visited 8 zoos across the UK. Our local(ish) zoo – Bristol Zoo – has been visited five times and we’ve also been to Woburn Safari Park, Longleat Safari Park, West Midlands Safari Park, Chester Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo and Highlands Wildlife Park with Blackpool Zoo coming up number 8. That doesn’t include the Sea Life Centres and Aquariums we’ve visited either!
Blackpool Zoo really comes close to the top spot for visiting with a family for me. Not only does it have a great selection of animals that you can get really close up too, which is very good for kids, but it has wide paths ideal for pushchairs or wheelchairs, it’s very clean, it had lots of educational and interactive aspects and a great playground. Toilet facilities were plentiful, and there was a little train (extra charge) for those who don’t want to walk across the zoo or just want to enjoy the train ride. As it’s a flat, compact zoo, Blackpool Zoo is easy to walk around without little legs getting too tired and I think that’s a really important consideration for families with young children (and tired mums like me).
In addition, Blackpool Zoo has a dinosaur safari which will be the highlight for some dinosaur mad kids. We didn’t personally go around this as William was very tired and hungry by the time we’d finished the main zoo, we’d pushed it a bit by visiting Blackpool Model Village before we came here. Attached to the zoo is a massive soft play called the Play Barn, which is additional cost, but reduced rates if you have a zoo ticket. Despite it being a relatively small zoo compared to some, you could definitely spend an entire day here from open until close!
We did find that even though we were visiting in late September, as we were there on a Saturday, Blackpool Zoo was very busy. There was only one place open for food, and the queue was out the door. A 30 minute wait for a hungry toddler is pretty much the end of the world, so he had lots of snacks which I brought with us and we ended up leaving a few hours earlier than anticipated to go on a lunch hunt and then he was so knackered he fell asleep in the car on the way out of the car park anyway! I would definitely recommend bringing a packed lunch if you’d prefer a fast or quiet lunch and I would do that if visiting in the future.
Overall we were all impressed with Blackpool Zoo and it was a fabulous day out. Our 5 day visit to Blackpool was filled with great attractions, but for me, Blackpool Zoo was my favourite. Have you been to Blackpool before? Tell me your favourite attraction in the comments!
Please check out my other reviews in Blackpool, as well as reviews of other days out around the UK that are suitable for toddlers and children.