Lake District zoos and wildlife parks

Wednesday, July 10, 2024 by Tom Willcox

Are you looking for Lake District zoos or wildlife parks to visit during your holiday stay with English Lakes Hotels?

Many of our guests and their kids love animals, and a trip to a Lake District zoo is high up on their list of things to do on their holiday. Whether it’s getting up close and personal with one of the world’s deadliest animals, or admiring them with healthy respect from a distance, a trip to a zoo in the Lake District is always a fun family day out.

So, the Lake District has a good selection of zoos, wildlife parks and animal attractions from which to choose. Here’s a short list of our top 5 Lake District zoos and local animal attractions that will educate, entertain and thrill you in equal measure.

Lake District zoos – South Lakes Safari zoo

One of the most well-known zoos in the Lake District, the South Lakes Safari Zoo near Ulverston features more than a thousand animals. Some of these are rare or endangered species. And the wildlife park provides them with a home in the style of their own particular natural environment.

From big African beasts such as lions, zebra, wildebeest and the Southern white rhino, to Sumatran tigers and the intemperate honey badger, this Lake District zoo has a wide range of animals to marvel at.

Lake District Wildlife Park

Set in 24 acres of beautiful parkland near Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick, the Lake District Wildlife Park has a large selection of wild and domestic animals.

Throughout the day there are different presentations which bring you up close and personal with the Lake District Wildlife Park’s favourite animal characters.

The Lemur talk is an opportunity to interact with a host of ring-tailed lemurs and learn about their inquisitive and gentle nature. You are very likely to be climbed upon during the Meercats experience – another mob of inquisitive critters.

There are also experiences and advance bookings for falconry and hawk walks where you are taught to call, hold and fly different birds of prey.

Conservation is very much part of the agenda at the park. This includes the development of farmland and woodland on the estate and active support on six endangered species programmes.

The café serves a range of meals and snacks. There are also picnic spots, as well as a gift shop, and outdoor and indoor play areas for children.

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis

Owned and run by The Lakeland Trust for Natural Sciences), this Lake District zoo near Milnthorpe prides itself on conservation and education.

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis provides a huge variety of sights and sounds. It features over 100 wild species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

There are plenty of hands-on displays, engaging talks and experiences throughout the day. These include reptile handling, lemur, monkey and meerkat feeding sessions and talks.

Another bonus for the children is the chance to become a zookeeper for a day. The kids can shadow a real life keeper and help take care of a whole range of animals.

And for adults, there’s the chance for a one-on-one meet the carnivores big cat experience to get up close and stick feed the zoo’s own snow leopards.

Lakes Aquarium

The Lakes Aquarium near Newby Bridge is another interesting Lake District wildlife park to visit. From the famous Clownfish in Finding Nemo to the terrifying piranhas of the Amazon, there are numerous displays of freshwater and seawater creatures.

As a Lake District zoo which explores the underwater world, the Lakes Aquarium is great for introducing children to different species such as seahorse, salmon, trout, pike, rays and sharks. The underwater lake tunnel is a favourite, as is the duck diving display.

And as well as the fish, other inhabitants at the Lakes Aquarium include reptiles, amphibians, wildfowl and mammals who relish life in and around the water. There are otters, snakes, tortoises and even a colony of leaf-cutter ants.

You can also make more of the experience by booking a Windermere Lake Cruises round trip from Bowness-on-Windermere to Lakeside and the aquarium.

Predator Experience

By definition, not quite a Lake District zoo, but Predator Experience won ‘best magic moment’ on the 30th anniversary edition of BBC Countryfile. Located on a 5-acre site near Grange-over-Sands, it is a hugely popular Lake District wildlife attraction. It offers the chance to walk with wolves and spend time in the company of a host of natural predators.

Other options include eagle experiences and hawk walks. And there are meet and greet opportunities such as the wolf and fox encounter, where you will get up close to wolf hybrids and red foxes.

It is advised to book weeks in advance as the experiences are highly popular. Geared around small groups, you are guaranteed lots of interactive time with the keepers and their animals.

Falconry experiences at Low Wood Bay and The Wild Boar

And don’t forget, both Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa and The Wild Boar offer falconry experiences and hawk walks in their own grounds.

Bird of prey with handler

So when you get here for your stay with us, why not book the family in for a session with these fascinating birds of prey.

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