Since the Victorian times, the zoological gardens in Regent’s Park have amused and enlightened visitors of all ages, but over the past few decades the Zoological Society London has changed the proposition here beyond recognition. Gradually the 36-acre park has been rebuilt to support conservation, ensure animal welfare and to make your animal encounter a more inspiring experience.
The displays are ever evolving and the Zoo’s staff are always concocting ingenious ways to expose visitors to the natural habitats and routines of the animals. A South American coastline has been mocked up for the penguins, which you can see from the stands or up close through windows looking directly into the water, while the gorillas have full use of an entire African-like kingdom,
At the Gir Lion Lodge you can stay the night (for real) near – note not with, thankfully – Asiatic lions. A night in one of these sweet little huts can set you back £435 at peak periods for two adults, which includes a two-course dinner, a full English in the morning, free parking at the Zoo (something that’s unheard of in the Camden borough!), an after-hours tour and a complimentary drink on arrival.
Elsewhere you’ll find a huge, living indoor rainforest inhabited by brave sloths, armadillos, monkeys and more, who have no qualms about getting up close and personal with you. Don’t worry, the keepers are always on hand to put a stop to any critters with too much confidence. The ring-tailed lemurs are also a cocky bunch, running along ropes right in front of your eyes.
This is as wild as wildlife gets without putting you at risk of being their next meal. Daily events include talks and feeding times, but there are also one-off events throughout the year, including ‘Sunset Safari’ openings on summer evenings.