WINNER: COLCHESTER ZOO
With over 260 species to see, set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes, a day out at Colchester Zoo will be action packed! As you step inside Colchester Zoo you are transported into a world full of magnificent animals waiting to be discovered. Learn about the animals as you see them up close and why not watch one of many daily displays. You even get the opportunity to feed the elephants and giraffes yourself and take a ride on the ‘Lost Madagascar Express’ road train! You can also come face to face with Komodo Dragons; see white rhino, giraffes, ostrich and kudu roaming together at Kingdom of the Wild and walk underwater through the 24m tunnel at the Playa Patagonia sealion pool.
The most recent development is to the existing chimpanzee exhibit which aims to improve both visitor experience and animal welfare. Other areas have also evolved in recent years such as ‘Butterfly Glade’, a walkthrough enclosure of free flying butterflies, ‘Bears of the Rising Sun’, a state of the art enclosure which houses two beautiful sun bears and ‘Australian Rainbows’; A tropical walkthrough which houses a large group of lorikeets offering visitors a chance to feed them a tasty treat of nectar!
And don’t forget to pop into the ‘Sensation Station’ and have a go at handling some furry friends and scaly species before visiting the discovery centre and getting your face painted like your favourite animal!
Colchester Zoo has a full calendar of events throughout the year including their summer holiday events, annual spook-tacular Shriek Week in October half term and the zoo’s Magic of Christmas events on selected dates throughout December. All of which are packed full of fantastic activities for all the family!
Colchester Zoo also offers a range of delicious food options through their different catering outlets located across the zoo and has 2 souvenir gift shops with unique products and experiences available to make your day even more memorable!
Highly Recommended: Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park
Families will have a magical day at Marsh Farm. Set in over 30 acres of beautiful farm land surrounded by 300 acres of country park on the edge of the River Crouch. Meet the animals, feed the birds in our walk through aviary, cuddle the pets and take a pony ride. Sample some of our delicious freshly prepared food, play in our extensive indoor and outdoor play areas or bounce on our huge bouncy pillows.
Highly Recommended: Gruffalo Trail – Thorndon Country Park
Discover the magic of the Deep Dark Wood with this self-led trail searching for the amazing hand-crafted carvings of Gruffalo characters. This trail helps children understand our native woodland and see it as a welcoming place. The Gruffalo trail takes about 45 minutes. Get a map at the Countryside Centre in Thorndon North – opens at 9am – for 70p, keep dogs on a lead and wear wellies!
Highly Recommended: White Elm Petting Zoo
We are a family run petting farm with over 100 animals including Pygmy Goats, Alpacas, Sheep, Fallow Deer, Rheas, Pigs, Goats, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Ducks, Miniature Pony, Chickens, Miniature Donkeys & Wallabies. You can purchase a bucket of feed at the ticket hut and feed most of the animals. Our outdoor play area has a digger sand pit with sit on diggers and John Deere pedal tractor track, there is plenty of outdoor seating to watch or have a picnic. Within the Petting Farm we have a trim trail and a small sensory area for the children.
2018 Winner: Colchester Zoo
2017 Winner: Colchester Zoo
2016 Winner: Colchester Zoo
2015 Winner: Colchester Zoo
2014 Winner: Colchester Zoo