Hamerton Zoo Park is just on the outskirts of Peterborough and less than 25 minutes from my front door. It is well signposted from the A1(Sawtry Junction) or A14(B660Junction) and if you follow the white and brown signs you can’t miss it. I have been visiting Hamerton for over 10 years and since introduced my own children to the zoo. What I think sets this place from many other zoo’s is the dedication and hard work they do for conservation. The Park’s main mission is;
“to provide a sanctuary for rare and unusual animals, where people can gain an insight into the conservation of the World’s resources”
There are around 100 different species of animals within the 20 acre zoo park and I can confidently say you won’t have seen all of them before. A few of the animals are rare and endangered and on the brink of extinction. Hamerton Zoo is open every day except Christmas and boxing days and tickets can be brought at the gate or in advance online. Tickets are £13.99 for adults and £8.99 for 3-12 year olds. One thing I do love so much about Hamerton is the constant updating and improvements being made. So you can see where your admission price goes. Every year there is a new exhibit and something new to look at. This year we noticed that a new Meerkat enclosure was being built as well as a few “Coming Soon” signs dotted around the zoo.
We were invited to spend the day at Hamerton in return for an honest review. I think I am pretty biased though as I will be honest I LOVE this place. I have so much love for a zoo with large enclosures and staff who you can see love the animals dearly. We visited last summer you can read that here.
When we walked into the zoo the first animals we saw were the Ring Tailed Lemurs. Arthur had been so excited to see them! The Ring Tailed Lemurs are one of a few animals that he really loves and Hamerton houses 2 sets of them. As well as 2 other species of Lemur.
One thing you will notice as you walk around is the space that the animals have to roam around. When you walk in the park one of the big things you see are Wallabies roaming in the gated field ahead of you. One thing Hamerton Zoo does try to make clear is that the animals are not shut in or out. They have the freedom to be either inside or outside if they choose. They are not performers and not seasonal either so all the animals live at Hamerton Zoo all year round! There is a possibility that you may not see some of the animals as they are choosing to hide away, So you may need multiple visits to see them all.
Up until our visit we had never seen the Giant Anteater Hula. She is quite a lazy mammal and because of that she would always be asleep in the corner of her inside enclosure. We were really lucky that during our visit she was out and roaming.
The Gibbon enclosure was by far our favourite during this visit. Not only were they really active but this particular Gibbon seemed to take a shining to us. Hamerton has 2 Gibbon enclosures 1 houses a sandy coloured one and a black one whereas the other one houses 3 sandy coloured gibbons.
This dude here ^^ Kept coming up to the window putting his hand (paw? I think its hand) on the window and then running off again. The boys loved it! We later learnt he is 50 years old!
Tigers and Big Cats
I think it is safe to say Hamerton Zoo is most known for it’s work on Big Cat Conservation. It is home to a beautiful Malaysian Tiger and 2 white Bengal Tigers aswell as Cheetah’s too. One of the major refurbishments has been to the Tiger enclosure. When we visited last year in my post I wrote how it wasn’t all completely open but we were still able to see them in part of the new enclosure. Well it is open and it is a lovely experience.
Hamerton is home to 2 white Bengal Tigers. There is a great history behind them and why they are incredibly rare! All white Tigers in the world are decedents from one called “Mohan” who was captured and kept in a Palace in India. It wasn’t until Mohan was paired with his daughter did they have more white cubs. The white of the Bengal tiger is just a colour mutation. It wasn’t until 1960 that a female White Bengal Tiger was brought to the USA and presented as a gift to President Eisenhower. Eventually the female White Bengal Tiger “Mohini” was paired with a male Bengal carrying the “white” gene in a national zoo. All white Bengal Tigers in the West are direct descendants from this pair. I found the story so interesting and it was fabulous to see one up close.
Stroll a Safari
Next to the Tigers is a Stroll A Safari, which is home to Pygmy goats, Alpacas, Camels, Chickens and sheep. Within the enclosure are 2 feeding stations which need a 20p coin to operate. The animals within the stroll a safari can be fed. The Pygmy Goats are given free roam out of their enclosures too which is lovely as you can really close to them. Oliver loved feeding them!
There is handwashing facilities out of the exit of Stroll a Safari but there are animals and you can get easily distracted. I would take some hand gel just to give them a once over until you get to proper soap and hot water.
Some of the other animals
There is an Express Railroad Train which runs every weekend and everyday throughout the school holidays. You can catch it from the Donkey Enclosure (at the bottom of the play are, you can not miss it) and it runs to the tiger enclosure and back. It is £2 per person and I will be honest I found it a little overpriced for the length of time you are on there. It doesn’t cover the entire park but with the music playing and the animals to see I can imagine it is fun.
There are plenty of picnic benches dotted around the park with the majority of them undercover by the entrance. You are welcome to bring your own food and drink too. The Café does sell hot food although do not have high expectations. It is basically microwaved food but it is convenient and not all that expensive either. We were given a voucher for refreshments and we all managed to get a bite to eat and drink with a little left of £25 (2 adults and 3 children).
It may not look appealing, but it was hot, cooked and tasted great! What more do you want? I did take a photo of the price list, but bare in mind the prices may have changed if you plan to visit. These were correct as of 15th July
I am pretty cautious not to get other children into the pictures so there isn’t that many. I did try to take as many as I could to give you a clear indication on what is on offer!
The Gift Shop sells a range of merchandise, cuddly teddies, toys, Stationery and more.Prices do vary but there is something to suit all budgets. Be aware there is a wall of cuddly teddies and if your children are anything like mine they become instantly attracted! The shop sells a wide selection of different animal toys even the animals that are not living in the zoo. You do not have to go into the gift shop if you wanted to miss it out but it is worth a look.
My Top Tips
- If you are planning on a trip then visit their website to print a 10% off voucher.
- If you choose to buy a guide then you will also have a map (I can recommend buying one!) It will help you navigate the park easily. It isn’t a big park and there are plenty of benches dotted around too.
- Keep hold of your receipt and keep all your picnic in the car. You can then leave and come back as many times as you wish.
- Some of the park is under a covered walkway so if it is looking a little gloomy and there is a chance of rain I would see the animals that are more out in the open first. Then you are able to walk around the ones undercover whilst it is raining.
- Hamerton has a lovely enclosed play area. You have to walk through the outdoor picnic area to access it and it does get busy too.
- Although there is hand-washing facilities near the Stroll a Safari I would take some anti bacterial hand gel. Especially if you have children who like to put their hands in their mouths. As you leave the Stroll a Safari there are more animals to see, so it may take you a little while to get to the facilities.
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