Open for research and education since 1828, ZSL London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It is managed by the Zoological Society of London, an international research and conservation charity. The zoo opened to the public in 1847 and its 36 acres in Regent’s Park are home to nearly 15,000 animals, including pygmy hippos, penguins and Komodo dragons. The world’s first reptile house and first public aquarium were launched here and on site are two Grade I and eleven Grade II listed structures. The zoo’s layout was designed by Decimus Burton, but has included contributions of more than 200 architects over the years. Sculptures throughout the grounds pay homage to its history, with highlights including one of the zoo’s most famous residents Guy the gorilla, and Winnie, the bear who inspired A. A. Milne in imagining the character of Winnie the Pooh.
Maps with three colour-coded recommended routes to follow and a schedule of daily animal feeding times and talks are available on entry. Families will enjoy a visit to Animal Adventure, the children’s zoo, which has lower barriers, a play area and water splash zone. Regularly offered experiences–like the friendly spider programme for those with a phobia, the giraffe keeper experience, a chance to feed the gorillas or stay overnight in a zoo lodge–can be booked online. The Zoo has a hot drinks bar, a restaurant and a shop with souvenirs, gifts and toys.
ZSL London Zoo is open daily from 10am with the last entry and closing times changing seasonally. Tickets must be pre-booked. Standard peak adult tickets cost £35.50. Off-peak and other discounted options are available as are flexi-tickets and an annual membership.