Not many places in the world can boast being home to lions, penguins and Komodo dragons. There's also not many places in the world where you can be a zoo keeper for the day, and get tips and advice on how to feed various animals from all over the world. That's why a visit to the London Zoo is a must for any tourist (or even a local!) in London.

The ZSL London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo (under the Zoological Society of London) as it has been open since 1828, and houses one of the largest animal collections in the UK with over 756 different species living inside its walls.

London Zoo, bird pavilion. By Karen Roe London Zoo, butterfly paradise. By Karen Roe
London Zoo, gorillas. By Barney Moss London Zoo, penguin feeding. By Karen Roe London Zoo, playground. By Elliot Brown

Highlights The London Zoo

The zoo is split up into different sections such as the African Bird Safari, Fruit Bat Forest, the Butterfly Paradise, and the Reptile House, so there's no telling what type of animal species you'll come across during your visit to the London Zoo.

If you're interested in learning more about marine life, the London Zoo's aquarium is home to angelfish, stingrays, seahorses and even piranhas, while the Reptile House is home to the likes of crocodiles, rattlesnakes, chameleons and even poison dart frogs!

If you want to learn more about exotic-type animal species, there's a Land of the Lions exhibition, as well as other sections like The Tiger Territory, The Gorilla Kingdom and Into Africa, which houses zebras, hippos, and even a high-viewing platform so you can see the giraffes face-to-face. If you're not bothered by the creepy-crawlies, there's an entire exhibition dedicated to different types of insects and bugs, such as black widow spiders, cave crickets, leafcutter ants and much more.

There's also Australian-themed exhibits, indoor Rainforest exhibits, and a new Penguin Beach exhibit which contains England's biggest penguin pool – make sure to keep your eye out for the single, male rock-hopper penguin named Ricky!

Children will especially enjoy the Animal Adventure section, which is a petting zoo area that includes sheep, donkeys, children and pigs, just to name a few.

Special Tips

  • If you want to learn more about the animals you hope to see during your visit, you can download the London Zoo mobile app to get information about daily event listings as well as scheduled reminders.
  • There are also memberships available for £63 which allow unlimited visits throughout the year to both the ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos.
  • Gift Pack vouchers are available for £125, which include two tickets into the ZSL London Zoo or ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, as well as two tickets for a "Meet the Animals" experience so you can get up close and personal with the zoo's giraffes, penguins and meerkats, as well as the various animals housed in their Outback and Rainforest exhibitions.
  • If you're interested in photography, the zoo offers workshops (run by the famed photographer Dave Stevenson), which educate visitors on how to take pictures of the animals inside the zoo. Workshop tickets cost around £125 per person, but vary depending on when you plan to visit.
  • There are also packages available for those interested in being a "Keeper for a Day," which are led by a Zoo Keeper Host and include complimentary refreshments and a lunch, an exclusive "Keeper for a Day" t-shirt and 20% off on spectator tickets.
  • There are also "Junior Keeper for a Day" packages for children which include a 3.5 hour lesson on how to feed animals, morning refreshments, a t-shirt and hat and a goody bag. The offer is only available on selected dates (see the London Zoo website for more details) and costs around £280 per adult, or £170 for children.