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Dartmoor Zoo

Dartmoor Zoo tiger

A Wild Day Out at Dartmoor Zoo

Dartmoor Zoo is a much-loved family attraction nestled in 85 acres of beautiful woodland on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Home to over 175 animal species, a day out at Dartmoor Zoo promises fun and discovery for visitors of all ages.

From up close encounters with majestic big cats to hands-on experiences like feeding the giraffes, the engaging zoo makes learning about wildlife a truly entertaining experience. Read on for everything you need to know to plan your visit to this incredible Devon zoo.

Dartmoor Zoo bear

Getting There

Dartmoor Zoo is based just outside the town of Sparkwell, around 8 miles south of Plymouth. It sits directly off the A38, within easy reach of both Plymouth and Exeter.

By Car

Travelling by car is the most convenient way to reach the zoo. Simply leave the A38 at the Lee Mill exit and follow signs for a couple of miles through the country lanes to Dartmoor Zoo. Parking onsite is free for visitors.

Public Transport

You can also access Dartmoor Zoo using public transport, via bus route 34 from Plymouth which stops at Sparkwell village. From there, it’s just under a mile walk to the zoo entrance along the country lanes.

Opening Times and Prices

Dartmoor Zoo opens daily from 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm. It’s only closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Entry prices are:

  • Adults – £15.95
  • Children (3-15 years) – £12.95
  • Concessions – £14.95
  • Under 3s – Free

You can get discounted rates by booking online. Annual membership options are also available which are great value for local families.

Key Attractions

From snow leopards to giraffes, Dartmoor Zoo is home to an amazing array of wildlife. Interactive experiences allow you to get up close with your favourite creatures:

  • Big Cat Feedings – Watch tigers, lions, and pumas being fed through viewing windows.
  • Penguin Parades – The lively flock of Humboldt penguins goes for a waddle.
  • Giraffe Feeding – Hand-feed lettuce to the giraffes from an elevated platform (for a small fee).
  • Reptile Handling – Learn about snakes and lizards as zoo staff showcase docile species.
  • Farmyard Fun – Pet and groom the goats, sheep, ponies, and pigmy goats in an indoor barn.
  • Meerkat Talks – Discover meerkat habits during a fun and informative keeper talk.

With so many incredible animals calling Dartmoor Zoo home, you’ll want to allow a full day to see them all!

Dartmoor Zoo stag

Walkthrough Exhibits

In addition to the spacious outdoor enclosures, Dartmoor Zoo features several walkthrough areas that allow you to get even closer and experience exotic species up-close:

  • Lemur Woodlands – This tropical house lets you walk among the ring-tailed lemurs as they leap about.
  • Wallaby Walkabout – Spot the adorable wallabies in this expansive outdoor habitat.
  • Lorikeet Landing – Feed nectar to colourful lorikeet birds that land on your hands.
  • Otter River – Descend into the tunnels and watch Asian short-clawed otters swim above your head.

Kids especially love immersing themselves in the walkthrough habitats and hand-feeding the lorikeets. It’s a memorable interactive experience.

Indoor Attractions

Dartmoor Zoo incorporates several indoor spaces and play areas so the family fun can continue whatever the weather:

  • Reptile & Spider Houses – Get eye to eye with everything from chameleons to tarantulas in these creature features.
  • Soft Play Barn – Let little ones burn off energy in this undercover play zone.
  • Dinosaur Trail – Spot the life-sized dinosaur models scattered around the woodlands.
  • Indoor Food Hall – Relax for lunch at the spacious restaurant with hot and cold meals.

With rainy day activities plus heated restaurants on site, the zoo can be comfortably enjoyed year-round.

Dartmoor Zoo peacock

Special Experiences

As well as the daily animal encounters, Dartmoor Zoo offers a few special experiences that can be pre-booked for an additional cost. These interactive sessions allow extended one-on-one time with incredible animals. Popular extras include:

  • Zoo Keeper Experiences – Shadow a keeper for the day including food prep and enrichment activities.
  • Penguin Encounters – Get behind-the-scenes with the playful penguins.
  • Giraffe Encounters – Help feed and clean out the towering giraffes.
  • Exclusive Tiger Tours – A unique chance to see tigers up close!

Making a Day of It

Between the walkthrough exhibits, scheduled talks and feeds, play areas, and dining options there is enough to fill a full action-packed day at Dartmoor Zoo. Arrive early to beat queues so you can see the tigers being fed at 10:30am.

Spend the morning exploring your top animal habitats before a lunch break. After refuelling, use the afternoon to revisit any favourites like the snow leopards at a more relaxed pace. Cap off an incredible day out enjoying the wallabies and lorikeets in the later afternoon.

With incredible animals, interactive encounters and year-round family fun, Dartmoor Zoo promises an entertaining and educational day out creating lifelong memories. It’s the wild day out Devon families have been flocking to for years!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get around the Zoo? – It would take about an. hour to walk around the zoo, but if you are stopping to look at the animals and enjoy the attractions, you will need at least 3-4 hours to make it worthwhile

What animals are at Dartmoor Zoo? – The animals change on a regular basis, but there are loads to see, including lions, tigers. wallabies, peacocks, tapirs and many more. Sadly, the Syrian Bear, Fudgy, has recently died.

Is Dartmoor Zoo open every day? – Almost. It is open every day except Christmas Day.

Other attractions

There are some fantastic other places fo animal lovers in Devon and Cornwall including;

  • Paignton Zoo, located approximately 20 miles from Dartmoor Zoo, is a popular family attraction featuring a wide variety of animals, educational exhibits, and conservation initiatives, providing an engaging and informative experience for visitors of all ages.
  • Pennywell Farm offers a delightful day out for families, with opportunities to interact with farm animals, enjoy entertaining shows, and participate in various activities such as tractor rides and pig racing, creating a fun and memorable experience for children and adults alike
  • Dartmoor Prison Museum is a fascinating place to look at the history of this beak penitentary in Princetown. Imagine life for the inmates and think about what they must have done to deserve it!
  • The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth provides an immersive journey through the world’s oceans, showcasing a diverse range of marine life and offering educational insights into conservation and environmental stewardship, making it an engaging and informative attraction for visitors
  • Burrator Reservoir, located near Dartmoor Zoo, offers scenic walking trails, picnicking spots, and opportunities for water-based activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area and enjoy outdoor recreation
  • The Trowlesworthy Tors, situated close to the southwestern border of Dartmoor National Park, offer picturesque hiking opportunities and stunning views, providing a peaceful and scenic experience for outdoor enthusiasts

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