This is a guest post by Philip Knowling, Press Officer, Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo is a famous name and one of Britain’s top zoos. The great thing about the place is that it’s a true family day out, whatever the weather. As well as thousands of amazing animals, there’s free parking, a miniature train, indoor and outdoor play areas, covered viewing, indoor habitats, a restaurant, refreshment kiosks and shops.
Zoos are about animals. Paignton Zoo has got lions, tigers, rhinos, gorillas, orang-utans, storks and flamingos. Crocodile Swamp is where some of the world’s most dangerous animals lurk, including snakes and crocodiles. Monkey Heights is a huge adventure playground for smaller primates, from the striking cherry-crowned mangabeys to the charismatic Sulawesi crested black macaques.
New for summer 2012 will be ring-tailed lemurs and a new enclosure for coatis – busy and engaging mammals related to raccoons that come from South and Central America. Look out for the current crop of youngsters – the leggy Rothchild’s giraffe, named Valentino by the public because he was born on Valentine’s Day, a zebra – the first to be born at Paignton Zoo in a decade – and a Brazilian tapir.
Top tips for your visit
Paignton Zoo is a big place, so here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your visit. Book tickets in advance online or by ringing 01803 697500 and pick them up from the Information Desk – that way you don’t have to queue.
Arrive early – Paignton Zoo opens at 10:00am. Fridays and Saturdays are usually the quietest days. There are large free car parks, but if you arrive by public transport or bicycle then you get a 10% discount on entry.
Plan your route around the zoo and check the animal feeding times – there’s a board near the entrance building. When it comes to feeding yourself, the restaurant gets busy at lunch times, so consider one of the takeaway kiosks – there’s plenty of outdoor seating.
There are also lots of play areas – indoors and out – for when you need a break from all those animals.
And a few more quick tips: wear sensible footwear and take binoculars. Parents should make sure children have their mobile phone number so if they get separated, Zoo staff can contact them.
Finally, buy a Zooper Ticket. This gets you one visit to Paignton Zoo AND one visit to Living Coasts in Torquay. It offers a great discount, can be used on separate days and lasts for ages.
For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.