Go Here… Animal Antics
Buckfast Butterfly and Otter Sanctuary
Dart Bridge Rd, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0DZ
This small, family-run sanctuary is a must-visit for those who love otters. With plenty of cute and fun-to-watch otters to see, you’ll also gain an insight into how they’re looked after. Lots of work is constantly happening as far as reintroduction to ensure otter populations up and down the country are given a kick start. The Otter Sanctuary is open from Tuesday to Sunday, but the Butterfly House is closed until spring.
Totnes Rd, Paignton, TQ4 7EU
After having been closed in January to facilitate a number of improvements, Devon’s most famous zoo is looking forward to welcoming visitors again through its newly made-over main entrance. This 80-acre site is home to a wide variety of animals (and plants too), including rhinoceros, orangutans, baboons, flamingos, zebras and many more. New arrivals include female maned wolf Lua, and a female two-toed sloth named Ria. A number of conservation projects are in the works at home and overseas – the hazel dormouse rewilding project in the UK is just one to learn more about on your visit.
Axe Valley Wildlife Park
Summerleaze Farm, Axminster EX13 7RA
Adventure awaits at this hidden East Devon wildlife attraction, just off the A35. Reopening 10th February 2024, Axe Valley Wildlife Park invites families to meet the wide variety of animals who live there and learn more about their homes, habitats and needs. Lynx and leopards, tapir and capybara, to name a few, plus a huge variety of birds and reptiles all live here. One hour lemur or meerkat experiences can be booked, and there’s also the chance to adopt your favourite, directly supporting conservation efforts relating to them.
Shaldon Wildlife Trust
Ness Drive, Shaldon, Nr. Teignmouth, TQ14 0HP
Small but packed full of wildlife is this peaceful woodland zoo, offering a tranquil experience to see some of the rarest and most endangered animals in the world. Meet titi monkeys, slow loris and a variety of lemurs while learning about the conservation work to help with breeding programmes of these rare animals to ensure their survival around the world. Open daily, year-round except Christmas Day and Boxing Day, make a visit and find out why, in their words: ‘We pride ourselves on being the little zoo making a big difference!’
The Donkey Sanctuary
Sidmouth, EX10 0NU
These fuzzy four-legged friends need no introduction, but deserve a mention due to the outstanding work they do for these animals around the world and the fact that they’re entirely free to visit! Grab a bite in the restaurant and enjoy a scenic walk, the new play area and seasonal trails.
Manaton, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9UG
This miniature zoo is a relatively new addition to this ancient woodland park centred around its stunning 70ft high waterfall. Visitors can see pigs, ponies, giant tortoises and even skunks! Don’t miss the beautiful woodland walks either.
All attractions meet animal welfare guidelines.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum