Day Out: South Lakes Safari Zoo

I'd been wanting to visit South Lakes Safari Zoo for the longest time after hearing plenty of rave reviews from both friends and work colleagues, so on a lovely sunny day back in July, my Mum and I decided to finally pay a visit.

South Lakes Safari Zoo is situated in Dalton-in-Furness in the North West of England. Some of you may recognise the zoo from the news back in 2013 when one of the zoo's keepers was tragically mauled to death by a tiger, but I urge people not to let this fact put them off visiting such a fantastic zoo.

I have visited a few zoos over the years, but I found that South Lakes stood out to me from all the rest for a couple of reasons. One of the biggest for me personally, is that the zoo is dedicated to the conservation of animals and the protection of their environment. With two international conservation charities, The Wildlife Protection Foundation and The Sumatran Tiger Trust, they are one of the best conservation parks in the UK.

I've always enjoyed visiting zoos, but I face a massive internal conflict when I'm there, looking at the animals cooped up in their exhibits which even I can see are too small for them. At South Lakes however, a large proportion of animals are free roaming in the Interactive Worldwide Safari zone, offering you the opportunity to really get up close and personal with a lot of the animals, including kangaroos, squirrel monkeys and emus. If you fancy, you can buy your own bag of animal food and try your hand at feeding some of these animals!

And for the bird lovers, there are also two walk through aviaries. One containing a rainbow of different parrots and the other, if you are brave enough to venture through it, vultures and condors!

There are plenty of other animals at South Lakes Safari Zoo, which for obvious reasons aren't free to roam around the park but can be viewed easily in their exhibits including big cats, giraffes, hippos, and plenty of cheeky primates! 

Throughout the day, there are lots of opportunities to watch the animals be fed by the zookeepers including the giraffes and the tigers! Unfortunately, we only managed to catch one of these feeding experiences on our visit (the Sri Lankan Leopards) but it was absolutely brilliant and I thoroughly recommend watching as many as you can! 

The zoo is actually open every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day, but I would definitely recommend checking out the opening times before you plan your visit as they do vary throughout the year depending on time of year. Admission prices are also very reasonable at £16.50 for adults and the best part - children go free! I don't have any children myself, but I can imagine this would be a massive bonus for those families looking for a fantastic day out but are often stung by the costs that this brings with it.

Obviously in the winter months, the appeal of trekking round a zoo in freezing temperatures is somewhat diminished, but if that doesn't bother you there are some brilliant deals on admission prices at the moment with entry to the zoo being free for children and adults upon purchase of a wristband (which costs between £6 and £8 depending on the date of your visit!)

There are plenty of places to buy food and drinks from when you are at the zoo, but I would personally recommend taking a packed lunch with you as we all know the price of these places can leave you needing to take out a second mortgage! There is a lovely picnic area to enjoy your packed lunch before you enter the zoo properly as they politely ask you not to take any food into the zoo due to the free roaming animals. And of course, there is a very good souvenir shop at the end if you fancy taking something away with you to remind you of your trip to South Lakes!

I can honestly say after visiting the zoo myself with such high expectations, I wasn't disappointed in the slightest (and neither was my Mum!) In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I would definitely go back again and this time make sure I experience more of the feeding talks and demonstrations. I think the whole zoo experience is unique and one I don't think is matched anywhere else I have visited so far. The staff there are so friendly and knowledgeable and leave you feeling like they really care about the animals that they are looking after too which for me is another very important factor.

So, if there is anyone debating on whether or not to make the trip to South Lakes Safari Zoo - I say do it! It's a great day out for people of ALL ages!

Kate x

For lots more information, including directions on getting to South Lakes and their opening and closing times, please visit their website -

*All photographs are my own
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