Go Here… Paignton Zoo
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved zoos and the animals in them. I’ve always found it fascinating to see native animals from across the world up close, and to be able to learn more about their natural habitats. I also love an excuse for a trip out, so when I was given the chance to visit Paignton Zoo I grabbed it with both hands.
So on a sunny Saturday my wife and I packed the car – no easy feat when you have a little boy as there’s always a lot to carry – and with our nine month old baby in tow we headed down the A380 from Exeter to Paignton. Thanks to the recently completed bypass the trip took just over 40 minutes and before we knew it we were there, ready to start our fun family day out.
The zoo is surrounded in the main by trees, and with many of the different animal enclosures made up of grass, water and trees, it makes for a very natural, peaceful place to be.
Paignton Zoo is by no means the biggest zoo out there, but with over 2000 species over a site that covers 80 acres there is more than enough to keep even the most energetic monkey busy. With so many different animals to see it was difficult trying to decide where to go first but thankfully, the zoo have thoughtfully divided the zoo into various zones to help you easily find your favourite animals.
With habitats varying from the dry of the African savannah to the heat and humidity of a tropical rainforest, each provides a home for a large number of different animals from gibbons and gorillas to lions and lemurs.
Now I like to marvel at all animals and enjoy learning about them, but for me the highlight was definitely the Orangutans – especially the mother and child. Perhaps it’s because I have my own little boy that I could really relate to the mother Orangutan following her baby around, keeping it from danger, with the resigned air of someone who does this every day. I’m sure other parents could certainly relate. The great apes are always interesting to watch too and remind us that for all of our technology and airs and graces, we’re essentially just shaved apes.
For those of you who do have young children the zoo offers more than just the chance to find out more about animals. With both indoor and outdoor play areas on site there’s plenty to make sure that, whatever the weather, your little ones will leave the zoo well and truly tired out, and with the zoo’s discovery zone on hand, they can gain a greater understanding of the natural world.
This understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the animals which inhabit it is obviously a key feature of the zoo but their work doesn’t stop there. As part of the Whitly Conservation Trust, which includes Newquay Zoo, Slapton Ley Nature Reserve and Primly Park and Clennon Gorge reserves in Paignton, the zoo works with other zoos across the globe to help with animal breeding as well as running conservation and scientific projects to help preserve and better understand the animals in their care.
Open every day (apart from Christmas) and with the amazing variety of animal enclosures on display, plus a wealth of indoor and outdoor activities, the zoo provides a fantastic, fun-filled day out for all the family whatever the weather. So why not take a walk on the wild side and head on down to the zoo, where a world of wildlife awaits!
Find out more about Paignton Zoo online at www.paigntonzoo.org.uk
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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