At A Glance
🐯 – Majestic tigers prowl the lush habitats
🦁 – Proud lions lounging in the sun
🦒 – Towering giraffes reaching for the sky
🦍 – Thoughtful gorillas observing visitors
🦓 – Elegant zebras
🐘 – Gentle elephants ambling through their enclosure
🌿 – Lush botanical gardens
🚂 – Charming miniature railway
🦜 – Colorful tropical birds flitting from branch to branch
🦔 – Endearing hedgehogs scurrying about
🐠 – Mesmerizing aquarium
🌳 – The zoo’s commitment to conservation
🎒 – Engaging educational programs
🍦 – Delicious refreshments and treats
Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Devon countryside, Paignton Zoo is an enchanting destination that has captivated visitors’ hearts and minds for generations. With its lush landscapes, diverse collection of exotic animals, and an unwavering commitment to conservation, it’s no wonder that Paignton Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the UK. So, grab your binoculars and your sense of adventure, and let’s embark on a thrilling journey through Paignton Zoo.
Paignton Zoo’s story began in 1923, when Herbert Whitley, an English millionaire and wildlife enthusiast, founded the sanctuary on a sprawling 80-acre estate. Whitley’s vision was to create a place where people could connect with nature and be inspired by the beauty of the animal kingdom. Today, Paignton Zoo continues to uphold Whitley’s legacy, expanding its collection to over 2,500 animals, representing more than 300 species, and remaining at the forefront of global conservation efforts.
Key Features and Highlights
World-class Wildlife Exhibits
Paignton Zoo’s breathtaking wildlife exhibits transport visitors to the far corners of the earth, offering a glimpse into the lives of animals from diverse ecosystems. From the arid deserts of Africa to the lush jungles of South America, visitors are treated to a vivid, immersive experience unlike any other. Some of the most popular exhibits include:
- The Savannah: Witness the grandeur of the African savannah, featuring majestic giraffes, powerful black rhinos, and graceful zebras.
- The Tropical Forest: Wander through a verdant paradise home to playful orangutans, cheeky monkeys, and vibrant parrots.
- The Wetland Aviary: Delight in the sight of graceful flamingos, elegant cranes, and other exquisite waterfowl.
- The Reptile House: Encounter slithering snakes, lizards, and other fascinating cold-blooded creatures.
Paignton Zoo’s enchanting botanical gardens showcase a dazzling array of plants from around the world, meticulously arranged to complement the animal exhibits. Stroll through the tranquil pathways, taking in the sights and scents of the vibrant foliage, and marvel at the rare and exotic species that have been carefully cultivated by the zoo’s dedicated horticultural team.
Wildlife Encounters and Keeper Talks
For a truly memorable experience, don’t miss the chance to participate in one of Paignton Zoo’s wildlife encounters or keeper talks. Get up close and personal with some of the zoo’s most beloved residents, learn about their natural behaviours and habitats, and gain valuable insight into the important conservation work being carried out at the zoo. From hand-feeding a gentle giraffe to watching a penguin feeding frenzy, these interactive experiences are sure to be a highlight of your visit.
Play Areas and Attractions
Younger visitors will adore the zoo’s interactive play areas, designed to spark their imagination and inspire a love for the natural world. Clamber through jungle-themed climbing frames, navigate rope bridges and take a ride on the Paignton Zoo Miniature Railway. The zoo also features an indoor play area, perfect for rainy days.
Practical Information for Visitors
Hours of Operation
Paignton Zoo is open daily from 10 am. The closing time does vary from between 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm, with the last admission an hour beforehand. The zoo is closed on Christmas Day. Please check the opening times here
Prices vary depending on the time of year and the age of the visitor. For the most up-to-date information on ticket prices, visit the Paignton Zoo website. Discounts are available for groups, families, and pre-booked online tickets.
Paignton Zoo is committed to ensuring a fantastic experience for all visitors. The majority of the zoo’s pathways are wheelchair and pushchair friendly, and there are ample accessible parking spaces, restrooms, and seating areas throughout the zoo. Wheelchairs are available for hire on a first-come, first-served basis.
Nearby Accommodations and Dining Options
Paignton Zoo is surrounded by a wide variety of accommodations to suit every taste and budget. From quaint bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels, you’ll find the perfect place to rest after a day of adventure. Some popular options include:
- Norwegian Wood (sleeps 4, no pets)
- Paignton apartment (sleeps 4, no pets)
- Easton Court Guest House
- Yew Tree House (sleeps 2, pets allowed)
For those who prefer to dine at the zoo, there are several excellent options to choose from. The Island Restaurant has indoor seating, whilst the Baboon Rock, Great Griller Burger Shack, Hangout and Lakeside offer takeaway food.
Insider Tips to Maximize Your Enjoyment
- Arrive early: To make the most of your day, plan to arrive at the zoo as soon as it opens. This will allow you to explore at a leisurely pace and avoid the crowds.
- Check the daily schedule: Be sure to consult the daily schedule upon arrival, so you don’t miss out on any exciting keeper talks or wildlife encounters.
- Bring a camera: Paignton Zoo offers countless opportunities for stunning photographs, so don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the magic of your visit.
- Wear comfortable shoes: With so much to see and do, you’ll likely be on your feet for most of the day. Ensure you wear comfortable shoes to make the most of your exploration.
- Allow time to relax: Paignton Zoo’s beautiful grounds and gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic. Take the time to unwind and appreciate the serene surroundings.
Paignton Zoo is a truly magical destination that promises a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. With its fascinating history, captivating wildlife exhibits, and enchanting botanical gardens, there’s no better place to embark on a wildlife adventure. So, whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a first-time visitor, prepare to be enchanted by the wonders of Paignton Zoo.
Check out these other things to do in South Devon
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you if you decide to purchase the product or service. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.