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Paignton Zoo

Paignton Zoo

Nestled in the beautiful Devon countryside, Paignton Zoo is a fantastic full day out for families and wildlife lovers of all ages. As one of the UK’s top zoos, Paignton offers the chance to get up close to over 2,500 incredible animals from around the world.

With an accessible location, family-friendly facilities, and hundreds of wonderful creatures to discover, Paignton Zoo makes for an unforgettable day out in Devon. Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit.

Getting There

Paignton Zoo is conveniently located just a few miles outside of Paignton in Devon. It sits within the rolling green hills of the Torbay countryside, providing a picturesque setting for a day with wildlife.

By Car

The zoo is very easy to reach by road. Simply take the A3022 coast road from Torquay and follow the signs for Paignton Zoo – it’s just a 10 minute drive from Torquay seafront. A large pay and display car park is available right at the zoo entrance, costing £3 for a full day. The postcode for satnav is TQ4 7EU.

Public Transport

Visitors can also get to Paignton Zoo using public transport. Paignton train station is under 2 miles from the zoo entrance. From there, you can take a taxi or local bus number 31 or 34 which drops off right outside. The journey takes less than 10 minutes.

Admission Prices and Opening Times

Paignton Zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The opening hours are:

  • Summer (March – October) – 10am to 6pm
  • Winter (November – February) – 10am to 5pm

Last entry is one hour before closing to allow enough time to see all the animals.

Current admission prices (2023) are:

  • Adults – £16.65
  • Children aged 3-15 years – £14.85
  • Concessions – £15.25
  • Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) – £57.75

Children under 3 go free. Annual membership and discount tickets can also be purchased online.

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Paignton Zoo’s Layout

Paignton Zoo’s thoughtfully designed layout makes it easy for visitors to navigate their way around the numerous exhibits. These are split into different areas based on continent or species. Helpful signposts and maps guide you to the major habitats.

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At the entrance, be sure to pick up a map of the zoo’s layout. This will help you plan your route to ensure you don’t miss anything. The main zones include:

  • Elephant, Giraffe & Rhino Habitats
  • African Savannah
  • Orangutan Island
  • Lemur Walkthrough
  • Penguin Coast
  • Crocodile Swamp
  • Asian Sanctuary
  • South American Showcase
  • Birds of the World
  • Children’s Farm & Play Area
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Highlights of the Day

With over 500 species to encounter, there are far too many amazing animals to see in just one day. But some of the key highlights that visitors say are must-sees at Paignton Zoo include:

  • The majestic African elephants – get up close to this family herd from a viewing platform in their spacious paddock.
  • Penguin Coast – watch the playful Humboldt penguins diving underwater through a glass viewing tunnel and gliding gracefully through the water.
  • Lemur Walkthrough – stroll on pathways right amongst energetic lemurs as they leap around your feet and over your head!
  • Giraffe House – view Southern giraffes eye-to-eye from an elevated walkway and maybe even touch their long blue tongues if you’re lucky!
  • Crocodile Swamp – a steamy, humid indoor rainforest home to gigantic Nile crocodiles and sloths hanging overhead.
  • Lion Wood – set on a hilltop, this large outdoor enclosure allows close-up views of the powerful pride of African lions.
  • Orangutan Forest – observe Asia’s only Great Apes swinging through the tree canopy in their naturalistic habitat.
  • Creatures of the Night – get a rare glimpse of nocturnal animals like aardvolves and owls in this dark indoor exhibit.

There are also talks, feeds and hands-on encounters that happen at scheduled times. Be sure to check the daily events timetable on arrival so you don’t miss out.

Feeding the Animals

In addition to the keepers talks, Paignton Zoo offers visitors the memorable chance to get even closer to wildlife by feeding some animals themselves. This can be pre-booked or paid for on the day. Highly recommended options include:

  • Giraffe Feeding – Stand on a platform to feed lettuce to the long blue tongues of the giraffes. £5 per person.
  • Lorikeet Landing – Buy a pot of nectar to hand-feed colourful lorikeet birds as they land on your hands and arms. £2 per pot.
  • Brush a Sheep – Get hands-on with the friendly sheep, brushing their wool in the Children’s Farm petting area. £1 per brush.
  • Lemur Experience – Feed fruit to energetic lemurs in their walkthrough enclosure. £7 per person.

Facilities & Food Options

Paignton Zoo offers a good variety of eateries and facilities across its large site. The major restaurants are:

  • Watering Hole – A large, family-friendly buffet restaurant with hot and cold meal options. Plus a Costa Coffee.
  • Grazers – Fast food outlet selling burgers, sandwiches and snacks.
  • Peak Coffee Lounge – Relaxed coffee shop on the hilltop near the lions.
  • Elephant Ride Kiosk – Ice creams, drinks and light bites by the elephant paddock.

Other useful amenities include: cash machines, baby changing rooms, wheelchair hire, lockers, gift shops and reptile encounter sessions (extra cost). Any special requirements can be accommodated if you call ahead.

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Making a Full Day of it

With so much ground to cover across its sprawling 25 acre site, Paignton Zoo is a full day out. Most visitors recommend getting there as close to opening time as possible, so you can see all the animals when they are most active.

The zoo’s layout means you can plan your route in advance, ticking off priority exhibits first before a lunch break. After refueling, continue exploring some more relaxed zones like the lemur walkthrough, children’s farm or tiger forest.

If the forecast looks changeable, target indoor areas like the crocodile swamp and monkey temple earlier on. Leave outdoor lions and giraffes until the afternoon. That way, you’ll get the whole experience in even if the weather takes a turn.

With a full day to spend immersed in the sights, sounds and experiences at Paignton Zoo, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable wildlife adventure for the whole family!

Other places for animal lovers near Paignton Zoo

If your family enjoy Paignton Zoo, then you should also visit soe of these places:

  • Pennywell Farm – Traditional open farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Indoor play areas, tractor rides and activities.
  • Dartmoor Zoo – Small zoo focused on conservation and education. Get close to endangered animals like jaguars, snow leopards and sun bears.
  • Cockington Village – Quaint village near Torquay with thatched cottages, craft shops and tea rooms. Scenic walks through the estate.
  • Occombe Farm – Traditional farm where visitors can feed and interact with chickens, goats, pigs and more. Nature trails through the woods.
  • Kents Cavern – Extensive ancient caves containing important prehistoric remains and archaeological finds. Guided tours available.
  • Powderham Castle – 600 year old castle near Exeter, home to the Earl of Devon. Guided tours offer a glimpse into stately living.
  • Torquay Museum – Nostalgic museum displaying Devon life through the centuries. Interactive exhibits and costumed guides.

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