“ Address: The Grove / Banham / Norfolk / NR16 2HE „
We visited Banham Zoo in June while we were on an owner's club rally at the associated Caravan park - our fee for the caravan park entitled us to reduced entry at the zoo - pay once and go into the zoo as many times as you like for the duration of your stay. We thought that was a brilliant deal and made good use of it! It means you don't have to rush to try and do everything in one day, which was a definite benefit as my companion is older and whilst she can walk fine, there is a limit to how far she can go in one day :-) We found quite a few seats dotted around so a rest was possible when needed - not sure whether this would be as easy in peak periods.........
If you are planning a trip, don't pay the full price - look around on the web or visit a tourist information centre to get one of the leaflets that has discount vouchers in.
When you go in they give you a map of the zoo showing where all the animals can be found and where important things like loos and eateries can be found. They also give you a leaflet which lists all the feeding and talk times so you know where to head when. I didn't buy one, but I have to say their guide book did seem to be much more reasonably priced that some I have been offered at other places. Drinks and ices weren't cheap but fairly reasonable - not as expensive as at many tourist attractions. Didn't try a meal, so can't comment on them. Loos were clean and stocked with loo rolls, soap etc.
Various animals around the zoo are fed at different times of day, and while the keepers are feeding them they give a talk (amplified so you stand a chance of hearing it!) and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
There are also various shows - there's an indoor talk around lunchtime which I think included the chance to get hands-on with some of the animals, but we never did get to this so I can't confirm that! And I think there is something on in the reptile house as well, but as my companion is snake-phobic I didn't get anywhere close to that :-)
I would thoroughly recommend the Birds of Prey show which takes place in an outdoor arena - when we went this was at 2.30pm in the afternoon but I think in peak periods there could be another one earlier in the day. We saw a variety of birds flying around demonstrating their skills at catching prey. Just a word of warning, at the start of the talk they warn you to stay seated at all times during the talk and keep all food out of sight, with very good reason - the birds do swoop very low over the audience at times and may even brush you with their wings. If you are frightened of birds, it isn't the show for you and there was one little lad who got quite upset because a bird flew close and frightened him.
There is a small land train which will take you on a tour of the zoo, doesn't take long but gives you an overview and there is a commentary although I gather if you are sat at the front of a carriage it can be difficult to hear it. I don't think this is wheelchair accessible but I didn't think to check, sorry!
The giraffe enclosure has an aerial walkway which allows you to get eye to eye with the giraffes if they deign to come over your side of the enclosure - they didn't when we were there, but it was a good idea and did give you a different perspective on them. There are ramps up to the aerial walkway, which finishes in the giraffe house and there is also a lift for disabled visitors in the giraffe house.
The penguin exhibit has 2 large windows which allow you to see the penguins swimming underwater - you can also go round the other side and see them standing/walking around on land. A word of advice - don't just walk past the window saying 'oh, there's nothing in there' like we saw many people do. If you wait a minute or two, they WILL swim past (there's a seat opposite the windows if standing for any length of time is a problem) and it does give you a completely different view of them.
There's a farm barn where children can touch the animals (sinks and soap provided for hand washing afterwards, also gel dispensers around the zoo). There is also the opportunity to try your hand at milking a (full-size model) cow!
There was evidence of work in several areas around the site to improve the exhibits - they are building a new enclosure for the lorikeets I think it was, and a new area for the lemurs so you can walk through it.
So all-in-all, would I recommend this zoo? Yes, definitely!
Banham Zoo, is unsurprisingly, a zoo based in Banham, Norfolk. Along with Africa Alive and The Dinosaur Park is one of the main three attactions in Norfolk. This is a really nice zoo with lots of interesting animals. They have all the usual animals, such as a farm yard animals in their own section along with a petting zoo. They also have some really impressive attractions such as a snow leopards, a kangaroo, tigers and zebras (all pretty exotic for Norfolk!) The penguins are also a highlight, as well as a huge number of other birds they have. They also have a birds of prey demonstration which is worth a watch. The repitle house is a bit limited, but I don't think it is that popular anyway, but contains all your usual snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies. One of the highlights for me is the monkey area, where you walk across a large brigde and get to see the monkeys swinging from the trees and they also have regulated feeding times, where you can watch all their antics.
Apart from the animals this zoo has a lot to offer, there are lots different shows and exhibtions on dependant on the time of year (check the website for specifics). As well as a large 'train' that circuits the park especially useful if the younger ones get a little tired. Of course they have an onsite resteraunt, which is fairly average, I would reccomend taking a picnic and eating it on one of the many areas of grass or picnis areas.
A good family day out
Banham Zoo is part of the "Big Three" (Banham Zoo, The Dinosaur Park and Africa Alive) in Norfolk and North Suffolk.
At Banham Zoo, there are many animals including owls, tigers, monkeys, lemurs, zebras and seals. There is also a reptile house, insect house and primates house where you can see each of the three types of animal separately to the rest of the zoo. There is a farm area as well with chickens, goats, cows and pigs for younger kids to get experience with them.
The restaurant is very good, with good quality food, a nice layout and well priced food and drink. There is also an area outside the restaurant to sit and eat if you wish to eat outside. You can take a picnic with you and eat it out on the grass here as well.
There is a vast gift shop packed with differnt souveneirs to take with you and a play area outside the zoo as well, including a large bouncy castle and an adventure area. You can leave the zoo and go back in again later if you've stamped your hand with the stamp inside the gates.
This is a very good experience for childrena nd adults alike and I would defiantely recommend it as something to do this summer holiday with the kids. Just be careful to avoid the air show dates or you may not be able to get near the gates!
OK, for starters i'm going to assume that anyone reading this can get all the basic information (location, opening times, prices etc) from Banham's main website (www.banhamzoo.co.uk) so i won't repeat it here.
If you're anywhere in East Anglia, with or without children, i'd heartily recommend Banham Zoo as a magical day out.
It's the perfect size - big enough to keep you thoroughly occupied all day, but small enough that the staff are friendly and laid back, and you can get around easily.
There's a great selection of animals, birds and reptiles - including the big, exotic animals like giraffes, tigers and zebras which you might associate with larger establishments. Enclosures are large and reflect the animals' natural habitats as much as possible.
I'd advise arriving by about 10am and then using the schedule of talks and feeding times which runs throughout the day, to guide you around the zoo. You'll get to see keepers interacting with the animals, and also have the chance to ask questions or just chat with them about the animals.
My last visit was in April 2009, and the place was just bursting with baby animals of all kinds. They have a couple of young giraffes, three cheetah cubs which could be seen curled up within a few feet of the window into their indoor enclosure, and many tiny babies amongst the various monkey species. If you visit on a weekday out of school holiday time, you'll often have large areas to yourself, and can just sit in the sun and watch the animals - a really absorbing and refreshing experience.
There's also a very good gift shop with a wide variety of good quality, animal -themed merchandise.
The only slight criticism i have is that the catering options weren't great - at peak times there's a kentucky-style fried chicken bar in addition to the minimal cafeteria food, but this wasn't open when we went. It was basically some rather unappetising looking hot dogs, pasta or chilli, or prepacked sandwiches, all at the usual premium prices. I'd recommend bringing a coolbag with a few cans and some nice snacks, otherwise you could easily spend the same again as the entrance fee on a not particularly nice lunch.
Overall though, a very high quality day out - i'd be buying an annual pass and going every weekend to watch the babies grow up, if i lived closer!
I have been to Banham Zoo in Norfolk several times over the last few years with my daughter aged five, and thought I would share my experiences with you.
Banham Zoo is situated in Banham, which is a small village in Norfolk a few miles away from Attleborough. It is a bit off the beaten track!, and not where you might expect to find a large zoo, but it isn't too difficult to find as it is well signposted off the main A11 road from Norwich.
I last took my daughter during the Easter Holidays and the admission fee was £11.95 for me and £7.95 for her. (There are special rates for seniors and children with special needs) and the admission prices vary according to the season. Under 3 are free.
There is ample free parking.
Upon entrance to the zoo, you are given a map which is easy to use and shows clearly where to find all the animals, and gives you feeding and demonstration times for that day.
There is a little road train (yellow and black striped like a tiger) which runs around the zoo and is worth jumping on first to give you a quick tour of the zoo with a spoken commentary which gives you a good idea where to go to see what you want first.
There is an abundance of animals at the zoo and as always, my favourites are the tigers. They have a male and a female who have successfully bred, and are now proud parents to two cubs (now about 8 months old) but still quite cute and fluffy. Tiger feeding time is a must to watch - they feed the tigers a 'snack' through the wire fence using a pair of tongs and make the tigers stretch up to reach - quite a sight to see!
Another favourite are the giraffes, they have recently built an new enclosure for these which is very good, and there are at present a couple of young ones in their as well.
There are also, camels, wolves, cheetahs, snow leopards, red panda, penguins, seals, zebra, any many more, plus a hands on farm animal centre.
In the education centre they are opportunities to handle small creepy crawlies, on a previous visit my daughter held a cockroach and a snake.
The bird of prey display is definately worth seeing if you like these but I try to avoid this, as I'm a bit scared of birds with long claws!!
Season tickets are available at a cost of £45 for adults and £30 for children, and the admission cost of the day will be deducted from the cost. The ticket will also give you 50% discount to two other local attractions (Dinosaur Park and Africa Alive) so this is definately a good offer if you are local.
We always take a picnic with us, so cannot comment on the quality of the food, but I noticed that a coffee & cake or a hot dog and drink were £4.50, which I think may be a little overpriced.
The toilets that we have used whilst there have been clean and tidy.
There is a large play area for children that we always spend a good while on, so the adults can have a rest!
On the downside the only exit is through the shop, but there is a wide selection of gifts from under a pound for pens and pencils etc, up to very pricey things!
I think, however that the Zoo itself is an excellent value day out and I never mind paying a reasonable admission price for a Zoo, as I appreciate that they have high running costs and these have to be reflected in the price.
I will certainly keep visiting the zoo, as we have spent many an enjoyable day there in the last few years.