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Your five favourite UK Zoos and Why?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by garyjp, 2 Oct 2014.

  1. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    Ok so Iam a new member - hello by the way I am sure i'm not as zoo/safari park experienced as a lot of you but thought it would be an interesting exercise to find everyones top 5 and why - for me as follows
    1.London Zoo - probably not for purists and not as many animals they once had plus hamstrung on what they want to do listed buildings etc but never the less it now does what it does very well considering where it is
    2. PWP(Broxbourne) An excellent smallish zoo - ideal for parents with children
    3.Whipsnade Zoo - Londons little big brother - all the big animals there
    4. Colchester Zoo - well displayed lovely gardens interesting species
    5.Monkey world - I love primates so a bit of a personal choice
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Barring the number one slot, my UK top 5 is pretty plastic and changes often. Today it is as follows:

    1) Chester - one of the best "all-round" collections in Europe with very few major groups unrepresented barring marsupials

    2) Bristol - best nocturnal and insect house in the UK, and the second best reptile house.

    3) Hamerton - a zoo for the true zoonerd and fan of odd little species; were it in an easier to reach location I suspect it would recieve a lot more love.

    4) Cotswold Wildlife Park - a beautiful location, excellent collection including many rarities, and thanks to careful placement of walls and ditches the chance to see rhino feeding on the lawn in front of a manor house!

    5) London - despite the decline it has experienced, merits a place in the top 5 due to historical significance and the best reptile house in the UK - including several venomous taxa.
     
  3. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Favourite is not necessarily the same as what I might consider the best. If the question was best I would probably amend the order of 1-4 slightly.
    1. Whipsnade
    2. Chester
    3. Edinburgh
    4. Colchester
    5. More difficult, but would probably go for Paignton over Howletts/Port Lympne, because which of those I prefer seems to alternate depending on how my last visit went.
    I also considered Cotswold & Hamerton.
    I have never been to Yorkshire WP , Belfast or Exmoor, all of which might make my list.
    will edit with reasons later
     
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Very true - were we talking "best" I think I would swap out London and Hamerton and replace them with Marwell/Whipsnade for London, and Living Coasts for Hamerton.
     
  5. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    I have decided to rank the top three as joint first, but if it were just a matter of my favourite day out the WMZ would probably be in first place.

    1= Welsh Mountain Zoo - a beautiful place with stunning scenery and lots of parrots. I think the macaws in the flying displays are the most spectacular sight in any UK zoo. The zoo staff are very friendly and the lamb and leek pie is delicious.

    1= Sewerby Zoo - my second home, only five minutes away by bicycle. Small, but very special to me. The only zoo where I have worked and only one of my close friends is not a member of staff there (her cousin is however). I am part of the fixtures and fittings at the zoo.

    1= Flamingo Land - along with Sewerby I grew up with the Flamingo Park of the 1960s and a day does not go by when I do not think about those days and wish I could be back there admiring Cuddles the Killer Whale, Freddie the Elephant, Gog and Magog the Southern Elephant Seals or whatever. I have a calendar of the bus stop at Kirby Misperton and parrots called "Kirby" and "Misperton". I love the name "Kirby Misperton". Much as I live in the past I still have an excellent time on every visit to the zoo, having just about come to terms with the demolition of the Bird Walk prior to the 2008 season.

    4 Paradise Park, Hayle - I do have a couple of issues with Paradise Park relating to bird show matters, but I do love the place. I save it for my final "away day" when I stay in Paignton on a zoo visiting week. Its parrot collection is excellent and I am a sucker for the lorikeet feeding - and "Carrot Time" as well.

    5 Paignton - I think Paignton maybe just creeps in ahead of Wingz, but I am not sure especially as gentle lemur reported a reduction in the species of parrots on display. Paignton is the only large zoo (unless Flamingo Land counts as large) I like these days as I so much prefer smaller places, but on reflection I think it probably should be in my selection as I do have a deep feeling for it and I wish I was there today! The area around the parrot aviaries is lovely indeed.

    A couple of years ago Exmoor would have been on my list, but it has rained on my last two visits, plus it seems to have less species of parrot on display every year. It remains an excellent zoo though. Regent's Park and Chester would have been there in years gone by, but of course I have fallen out with most large, busy and perhaps more impersonal zoos (Chester has hidden most of its parrots too!!).
     
  6. Waddi

    Waddi Well-Known Member

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    1, Chester
    2, Blackpool
    3, Twycross
    4, Welsh Mountain Zoo
    5, Bristol
     
  7. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I think it's hard enough to pick five, so I'm leaving them in alphabetical order, but I am adding brief explanations.

    Chester - the most comprehensive collection with high standards all-round.
    Cotswold - the prettiest, with interesting species exhibited well.
    Edinburgh - a dramatic site with a nice collection and the Budongo chimp house.
    Howletts - gorillas and more gorillas, plus rare primates and nice paddocks.
    London ZSL - still the best Reptile House & Aquarium, the new exhibits are good too.

    Whipsnade, Port Lympne & Bristol will have to sit on the substitutes bench.

    Alan
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'd very much agree with these choices, except I would have to include Bristol and Whipsnade somehow ( making it a top 6) and maybe removing Edinburgh which I've only been to occassionally over the years. Port Lympne I don't have much time for anymore.:(
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Edinburgh would quite likely have been in my list until the last 18 months saw almost all the oddities and nice species gutted from the collection..... :(
     
  10. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I was at Paignton recently with a fellow Zoochatter and mentioned that if you were visiting you would no doubt be found lurking in that area...:) And GL is right, the Parrot collection does seem smaller now.
     
  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not too late to sign up to the Chester walk and talk if you want to see a few more ;)
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Too far away. :D
     
  13. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Good point, my rating of Edinburgh is based on a single visit 5 years ago. Since then they've lost a number of the rarities and not gained much apart from the sun bears and pandas.
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    And the infernal meerkats ;)
     
  15. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    First and still head and shoulders above all the rest is London, not only my favourite zoo but I would say my favourite place in the UK. Second, Twycross, despite all its problems it has experienced in the past, although members of staff who worked there and are there no longer are a great miss. Third, Whipsnade, I like the "big stuff" and find it very relaxing walking around the grounds on a peaceful day. Fourth, Colchester, a great zoo with a comprehensive collection, friendly staff, although I do not get there as often as I would like. Fifth. Yorkshire Wildlife Park, come on leaps and bounds in a very short period of time, excellent facilities for those rescued lions, other big cats and now polar bear.
     
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It certainly has..... they have seen a gap in the local market and taken full advantage. Give it another 5 years and I think it stands a decent chance of being regarded as one of the best the UK has to offer.
     
  17. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    At one time Edinburgh would have definitely featured in my top five, as I have visited there for well over forty years, I came to the conclusion last year that I now don't really like the place and have had no desire to return since unfortunately.
     
  18. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    In no particular order

    London, Bristol, Living Coasts, Colchester, Whipsnade
     
  19. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    I sincerely hope so Dave, and there is no reason why not if they continue the way they are going.
     
  20. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    Sadly this is the first September since 2003 I have not visited Paignton. I'm usually in that area only a couple of times during the day including the final minutes. In recent years I have spent much of the day in the Feathered Feats Bird Show theatre.