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Review: A day out at Blackpool Zoo with our two children

Review: A day out at Blackpool Zoo with our two children

Advice and all the information you will need for a family visit to Blackpool Zoo

What is it ?

Blackpool Zoo is a medium-sized zoo which has been open since 1972, with animals to see including elephants, tigers, lions, orangutans and live sea lion shows.

Where is it?

The zoo is set in lovely, green woodland on an old airfield in Blackpool, near the town’s large Stanley Park.

What did we think?

The zoo isn’t too big and the route is flat and well-signposted meaning it is relaxing and simple to get around.

There were really good live shows, a well-done dinosaur safari set around a lake and a large selection of animals.

Highlights

*As you go in, the Elephant Base Camp and impressive Dinosaur Safari are a great way to start. The elephants have a new indoor enclosure and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy.

*The Dinosaur Safari features replicas of around 20 dinosaurs lurking around a lovely lake. Our children loved this area and we went round it twice.

A boy looks at a dinosaur at Blackpool Zoo

*The live shows. The Sea Lion Pool and Arena is very well done and we enjoyed a fun 15-minute show with tricks and information about these amazing animals.

*The Bird of Prey Show is also worth seeing in the Display Arena with flying macaws and owls.

*The entertainment at the children’s farm is also good fun for younger ones – they can see and touch donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats.

*At Lemur Wood, you can get close to these lovable creatures in a short walkway. This area isn’t huge but is very cute.

*An unusual species to see, our children loved the Wolf Ridge area with particularly creative signage and information as you walk up a gentle slope to where the wolves have lots of land to roam.

Our top tips

*Bring £2.50 in cash for the car park with you. The machines don’t take cards and you have to go to the reception, get a ticket and go back to your car if you don’t bring the cash with you.

*On busy days, go around in an anti-clockwise direction doing the dinosaur and elephant areas last as these seemed to be the busiest places. Alternatively see these areas first thing in the morning or late afternoon.

*Follow the show and feeding times closely. We found the shows were well spaced out and you had time to get around to all of them if you wanted.

*Get in early for the Sea Lion Show – it was full when we went – plus they shut the doors a few minutes before it starts.

Blackpool Zoo information

Food: The Nawala Street Food area near the Dinosaur Safari was the most interesting food outlet with curries, samosas as well as the usual chips and burgers. There is also the large Lake View Cafe. Alternatively, there are plenty of picnic areas in pleasant surroundings.

Opening hours: From 10am daily except Christmas Day. Closing varies depending on the season from 3.45pm in winter to 5.45pm in summer.

Cost:  Family ticket (two adults, two children) £59.99. Adults £18.99, children (from 3-15) £14.50. Discounts available for pre-booking online.

Best for: Ages two to 10

Time needed: three hours.

Access and restrictions: Excellent flat site for wheelchairs and buggies. Wheelchairs available to hire. Entry discounts for disabled children and carers. 

Address: East Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8PP. Parking on site for £2.50 per day.

Note: We were given complimentary tickets for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our own.

We get close to nature on a family stay at a holiday park overlooking Morecambe Bay

We get close to nature on a family stay at a holiday park overlooking Morecambe Bay

Read our review of Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park on the Cumbria/Lancashire border

A long black tongue curls around a handful of leaves my son is holding out at arm’s length and his face lights up with excitement. 

Feeding a giraffe wasn’t something we expected to be doing on our holiday to Silverdale. 

But from meeting these gentle giants, to bird spotting and watching a Chilean rodent settle in my son’s hood, our week on the Cumbria/Lancashire border brought us closer to nature. 

And nature was certainly close by at our base for the week – Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park – an immaculate site overlooking Morecambe Bay. 

Expectations were high as it is multi-award winning – and it didn’t disappoint. 

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the only sounds from the decking outside our holiday home were birdsong. 

Static caravan

The static caravan soon felt like a home from home. It was modern with a sea view and included everything we could need. 

A static caravan at Aerial view of Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park

Our two children loved the outdoor play areas and the woodland walks from directly outside our plot. Facilities include a leisure centre with pool, gym, games room, soft play area and a bar and restaurant. 

The swimming pool and people sitting in a jacuzzi behind

The swimming pool

Many of the holiday homes are privately owned but there are others to rent as well as space for touring caravans and tents. Or if you like camping but crave a bit more comfort, you can even hire a camping pod with lighting, heating, a plug socket and a sofa bed. 

Surrounding area

There is plenty to do in the surrounding area and we packed as much in as possible. 

Our animal interaction began at the nearby Greenlands Farm Village where Josh enjoyed feeding lambs, stroking puppies and riding a donkey. 

He held a rat-like creature called a degu and was unfazed when it ran up his arm and sat on his neck before getting comfy in his coat hood. 

A degu in a boy's hood

A friendly degu

There’s plenty to do here even when it rains as this former dairy farm also has a playbarn, go karts, shops, a cafe and a garden centre. 

Next stop was Leighton Moss nature reserve, run by the RSPB, where the enthusiasm of the staff is infectious. 

Our two took part in their monthly Nature Tots session for young children, which was a great way to start exploring. 

They were lent a fabulous child’s backpack with binoculars, magnifying glass and other useful bits to properly look around this site, where our discoveries included some baby wrens. 

Further afield was South Lakes Safari Zoo where you can wander amongst kangaroos, monkeys and emus and get closer than usual to other animals like bears, hippos and wolves. 

A boy feeds a giraffe at South Lakes Safari Zoo

Feeding the giraffes

Our children gave food to birds and lemurs and – in case you were wondering how a small child goes about feeding the world’s tallest land animal – stood on a high platform to feed the giraffes. 

In conclusion

So our holiday certainly brought us closer to nature, which we expected, and closer to a giraffe’s tongue, which we didn’t. 

For more ideas, see Cumbria’s official tourist board website. 

Accommodation: We stayed as guests at Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park for the purposes of this review. All views are our own.