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      14.04.2010 22:30
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      Nice for a few hours out, but don't travel all the way to the IOW just to see this

      I visited the Zoo over the Easter Weekend. I did enjoy the visit and the Animals are well cared for and alot of thought seems to have gone into the habitat of the animals. It seems, however that they are currently undergoing some works to improve the Zoo, as many of the habitats were empty, and there were alot of areas that were closed off and being worked on. Their new reptile house appears to be almost finished, and there is now an area explaining what the site was used for in World War 2. There are many tigers, and a magnificent white lion, lemurs and moneys, however my favourite was the humble Pig, called Winston (I love Pigs). There is a farm type area which is quite small, but it houses the fabulous Winston, some ridiculously large rabbits, Guinea Pigs (which are in fact the source of all evil) and goats. There is a BBQ area, and a cafe, and a gift shop with all manor of cuddly creatures for sale. The toilets were a bit scruffy though. It's around £8 to get in, and unfortunately you also have to pay for the parking in the pay and display car park outside the Zoo, which was £3... a bit unfair when you're already paying to get in! The Zoo has some great potential once all the planned works are complete and the building site look to it has been cleaned up! They do need more pigs though....!

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      22.10.2009 16:43
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      A good sanctuary, reasonably priced and worth a visit.

      I have just been to the Isle of Wight and as it was October and sunbathing wasn't an option I decided to make the most of nature and wildlife both native and imported. Location: ~~~~~~~~~~~ The Isle of Wight Zoo also known as the Tiger Sanctuary is located on Sandown front, it is accessible from the main beach road (B3395) and overlooks the sea and next to Browns Golf. There is a car park on the site. My other half had visited the Tiger Sanctuary (Isle of Wight Zoo) 10 years previous and we wanted to go again, lucky for us we had booked a last minute deal with the hotel which included free entry in to the sanctuary. We decided to go, thankfully the weather held out and we went at opening time 10am. The only bonus to going in October was everything was quiet and we got a lot more done, with a lot less people around. Price: ~~~~~~~~~~~ (Admission in 2009) Adult - £5.95 Senior Citizens - £4.95 Children (5-16) - £4.95 Children under 5 - FREE You can get discounts for family tickets and pre-booked tickets. Parking is £3 all day, and you can claim £1 back off your entry fee. Let them have it though, it helps them. What is it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Tiger Sanctuary as I will call it from now on, houses Tigers, Lions, Jaguars, Monkey's and Lemurs. (This is why I won't refer to it as a zoo - it isn't). The sanctuary is publicly run and not funded; all donations are what keep the park going. The majority of the animals have either been rescued or accepted when UK and worldwide zoos did not want or couldn't look after abandoned/rejected cubs. There is no breeding program, there did used to be as the last time my other half went, there were tiger cubs on site. I think things have changed since then, the zoo aspect has definitely gone, and it is now solely a sanctuary for animals to live out their days, think of it as an RSPCA for big cats, except they don't get re-housed. There is a daily presentation schedule: 10.30 - Predator Prowl 11.45 - Lemur feeding & conservation talk 12.30 - Bug handling 13.00 - Jeepers Creepers 14.30 - Predator Prowl 15.30 - Jeepers Creepers 16.30 - Ask the keeper What is there? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are the animals, picnic area, Zootique Cafe, Zootique Shop, Adoption area, Zoolittle Farm, and Sandown Fort. Although this is classed as a zoo, it isn't massive and yes there are large cats available to see, but there isn't really a lot else to look at. I know other people have said that Amazon World and Flamingo World are better, I can't comment on Amazon World, but review on Flamingo World to follow, and I must admit, I think the sanctuary was better, it was cheaper, you get an experience with big cats and you can get quite close to them. If you go on the predator prowl you get to meet the cats (there is still a fence between you) but you also get the guided tour by one of the workers and you learn a lot more about each cat. It is informative and interesting and £5.95, whereas Flamingo World is nearly £8 per adult and there really isn't much there, the most exciting thing is the penguins, the rest of it is very much like a farm. We arrived at 10am and left at nearly 12.30, so it took us over 2 and a half hours, the sanctuary recommend 2-4 hours and I think in peak times you would definitely need this as space is quite tight around some of the pens. Overall ~~~~~~~~~ I enjoyed the experience and would go probably go back, but that is more due to my fascination with big cats rather than the sanctuary itself. It is nice and the predator prowl really does give you the chance to get personal with the animals as well as ask any questions. It is a shame that there isn't more land and that the animals don't get bigger pens, but then I think that about any zoo, I hate seeing animals locked up. I did feel sorry for the animals especially as many of them are from hot climates (especially the Lions) who hate the cold and wind. It is understandable why they were all a bit grumpy and didn't want to stand out in the cold. This is also why the predator prowl is good, it gives you a chance to see the cats that would perhaps be hiding otherwise. I think this attraction is reasonably priced, I think they could definitely charge more, especially if the competition like Flamingo World is charging £7.85 per adult. I would be happy to pay more, and help them to do what they are doing. Jeepers Creepers is a bit random, it is just a small area indoors where there are a few snakes, spiders and jumping rats. I wasn't overly bothered about this bit and it could quite easily have not been there. I think younger children would like this as it really gives them a chance to see and appreciate the size of the big cats and learn about them. I think the work done at the sanctuary is admirable and when you think about how much the likes of London Zoo charge and what profit they make, it makes me want to support the Isle of Wight Zoo further. Website ~~~~~~~~~~~~ www.isleofwightzoo.com

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        02.08.2009 14:05
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        ...not so purr-fect if you like a bit more variety.

        I visited The Isle of Wight Zoo last week. I must admit, I had been warned it wasn't very good and when visiting the Isle of Wight, places like Flamingo Park and Amazon World are better animal attractions. We were in two minds to go, however by chance we were on an open top bus ride which stopped right outside so thought we may as well have a look whilst we were there. It's a lovely location, situated in Sandown, just over the road from the beach. It's an easy walk from Sandown town. Bus, rail and dotto train run regular services to Sandown from most places on the Island, as I mentioned the open bus tour, or Island Breezer to give it it's proper name, that runs via Shanklin, also stops right outside. If you are based in Shanklin, as we were it's a pleasant walk along the beach to Sandown, when the tide is out of course!! There is a fairly big car park if you are driving, and easy to find from Sandown, but stick PO36 8QB, in your sat nav if you are prone to getting lost! The Zoo opens at 10am and closes at various times depending on the season. Right now, in summer months and through to the end of September it closes at 6pm. Just to warn you however, this place is not a day out. A few hours at most. A good thing to do if you are spending the day in Sandown though as it's so convenient for town and beach. Admission prices are reasonable for a zoo, though reflect the amount there is to see. Adults are £5.95 to get in, and kids and Senior Citizens £4.95. Apparently, the zoo featured in the ITV series 'Tiger Island' which I admit I had not heard of until I saw the banner outside the zoo. The logo for the zoo features a tiger on one side of the title and a lemur on the other. Largely because this is more or less all you will see here! If you are a tiger fan this is the place for you. With no exaggeration at all about half the zoo is dedicated to big cats. The zoo houses twenty tigers, the largest collection in the country and a few Lion and Jaguars chucked in for good measure. Don't get me wrong, when you come up close to these big cats, they are beautiful and magnificent. However, this only happened once as most of them were asleep. To be honest I can't blame them either. There wasn't a great deal for them to do, and although the zoo had done as much as it could with the enclosures given the room it has, ultimately I couldn't help looking at them thinking they needed more than they had. There is a whole section on the website about environmental enrichment and how the zoo does the very best to ensure their animals have the best quality of life and do not develop any abnormal behaviour, whether it be a tortoise or a tiger. I applaud them for this and honestly think the zoo do their best. I just don't see that physically the place is big enough for all these huge cats, nothing can compare to it being able to have a good long run surely? In addition to the tigers, there is as I mentioned big emphasis on the collection of lemurs. These cute critters looked like they were having a lot more fun than the tigers, and were really putting on a show for the audience. The zoo has dedicated a fairly large area for their collection of ring tailed lemurs, and they proved a real hit with the visitors that day. If you have never seen a lemur sunbathe, it's hilarious, they sit upright with arms out as if they are meditating! There is a good exhibit of small mammals, spider moneys and capachins in the middle of the zoo and caged walkways from one enclosure to another so they can walk over visitors heads, which I thought was a nice touch for interest for the visitors, giving a really good view of the monkeys, but also a nice bit of stimulation for the monkeys, who seemed to find us as interesting as we found them! Another area is 'Jeepers Creepers' which is the first little attractions as you come in, a door leads your into a small room with vivariums containing small reptiles and invertebrates. It easy to miss, this part, but it's worth a look if you visit, though finding out which species you are looking at proved difficult as a lot of the labels were missing. All crucial for an area containing arachnids. I love reptiles, but why are they always housed with the spiders? I hate looking at lots of cute geckos and corn snakes to suddenly be faced with a tarantula! I like to see the labels before I peer in so I know what I'm going to be confronted with! Last but not least, the children's zoo is always a favourite with me (who resents them being called 'children's' zoos!). Luckily the Isle of Wight Zoo had named there 'Zoolittle Farm' so there was no discrimination!! However, little is right. A few cute bunnies and guinea pigs, one lonely chicken and a gorgeous young piggy called Winston made up this area. There was no walk though area for petting like in some zoo, so all in all a little disappointing. The leaflet claims there are goats and sheep but we saw none. This is a new exhibit however, so maybe there is more to be added. The Zoo offers a timetable of presentations to keep the public entertained such as lemur feeding, big cat talks and bug handling. I must admit when we went however, we went against the crowds. Although the feeding times are good fun, the majority of the guest attend them, and its hard to get a good view, so it's a good time to get round some of the other exhibits while the masses are busy! I wouldn't say the zoo was over busy when we visited, but it was early in the day. As always, avoiding summer holidays, means avoiding crowds. As with most animal attractions, the zoo's budget is spent feeding the animals and not the guests. The usual greasy muck and boring over priced sandwiches made up the Zootique cafe, so we went and had lunch in Sandown afterwards! The gift shop that all places like this make it impossible to exit without visiting, contained all the usual tat kids will love! More pencil sharpeners and cuddly toys to add to the collection! With a small zoo like this it will be interesting to see what it does to keep itself fresh in the future. Zoos which have vast areas of land add attractions all the time, with a small place like this I guess keeping the interest alive will prove more challenging. I think many zoos depend on repeat visitors. I've visited Longleat numerous times and have lost count at the amount of times I've graced London Zoo with my presence. Unfortunately, I can't see myself going back to the Isle of Wight Zoo unless they think of something new that's going to tempt me. I'm not saying that being a small zoo is always a disadvantage, Newquay Zoo for example is small and one of the most charming zoos I've visited. I think being so big cat orientated means I didn't enjoy it so much. Apes, parrots and reptiles are my must sees when I visit a zoo, so I guess it's just not got the variety for me. A big cat enthusiast, I guess will be this zoos 'repeat visitor'. Overall, the zoo is a good attraction if you have a few hours to kill while you are in the area. I wouldn't make a special journey however, as we were reliably informed, there are better animal attractions on the island.

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          12.02.2009 22:29
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          A great afternoon out!

          I really like the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown. It is quite small compared to many other zoos in the UK, but the animals they have inside more than make up for it. Let's face it, when people go to the zoo, they want to see lions and tigers, which is what this zoo has plenty of - hence it being the basis for ITV's Tiger Island programme. The enclosures for the animals seem to be more than adequate and the animals are clearly very well looked after. The zoo as a whole is very well laid out and easy to get round, giving you the chance to see all the animals without going round in circles. Like I said, the main attraction is the fantastic tigers, but you can also see the engaging monkeys and the creepy crawly section (which is inside). There is also plenty of chances to see the animals being fed throughout the day. The zoo has a heavy focus on conservation of animals in the wild and so there is plenty of information about the animals' natural habitats as well as about what the zoo are doing to help. The information is really well presented and I found it very interesting. There is also a chance to help by adopting the animals, which I think would make a lovely gift idea for someone. All the usual facilities are available at the zoo - including plenty of parking, a gift shop and a cafe. On the whole, I would say that you'd probably only spend a couple of hours in the zoo and this is reflected in the price - which is about £6 for adults (I think) and includes parking. But I would say it is definitely worth a visit and it makes for a fun and educational day out.

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            26.12.2008 21:52
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            worth a trip

            Isle of Wight Zoo.... The Isle of Wight Zoo is open throughout the months of March to October. There is a charge of around £5 to enter the Zoo but you can spend as long as you want looking round the grounds. The Zoo has just had a re-vamp and is looking far better than it did a few years ago. They have a good selection of animals there and most famously have a white tiger. Other animals include monkeys, reptiles and lemurs. The Zoo has recently been featured on the ITV1 programme Tiger Island and this concentrated on the lion and tigers from the zoo. The area that the zoo takes up is not overly large and I do not think it is a whole day out attraction. You could spend an afternoon there quite easily but I think the whole day would be stretching it a bit far. There is a café on sight selling food and drink at reasonable prices and they also have a gift shop which sells the usual zoo gift shop gifts and slightly high prices. All in all though the zoo is well maintained and has a good selection of animals (even if it is a shame that these animals are in cages in the first place). I would give the zoo a four starting rating and a RECOMMENDATION. It is definitely worth taking the time to have a look if you are visiting the island when the zoo is open. I hope this has been helpful to you.

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            17.08.2008 23:48
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            Not bad for the price

            The Isle of Wight Zoo, known locally as 'Sandown Zoo', is home to the largest collection of Tigers in Britain. It's also the basis of the ITV wildlife series 'Tiger Island'. Admission for adults costs £5.95, whilst children and seniors can gain entry for £4.95 - under 5's go free. The zoo itself is fairly small and is housed in an old victorian fort. The building does look a little tatty from the front - but the interior makes for an interesting home for the animals, and actually suits the zoo layout very well. Enclosures are in good condition and the new themed tiger habitats - built in the last few years - are very large and provide an excellent environment for the animals. There aren't a great range of animals at the zoo - this is firstly because the zoo is a specialist big cat sanctuary, and secondly because of the limitations of the building itself - don't expect to see elephants, hippo's and giraffes. Apart from the tigers, there are a selection of monkeys and limas, a variety of birds and a reptile / spider / bug area. Talks take place at specific times throughout the day, which are very informative and confidently presented - these also relate to the environmental work the zoo undertakes around the world. The Isle of Wight Zoo will be of special interest to those who are interested in tigers and monkeys. For the big cats especially, this is a good day out. A few people however, will be disappointed with what's on offer. That said, at £5.95, the price is definitely not extortionate, and in my opinion is good value for money. There is the obligatory zoo themed gift shop, and also an small cafe providing drinks and sandwiches. Opening times are shown below: 16th February - 31st March - 10am to 4pm 1st April - 30th September - 10am to 6pm (5pm last admission) 1st October - 31st October - 10am to 4pm November weekends -10am to 4pm (weather permitting) For more information, see: www.isleofwightzoo.com

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            15.07.2008 19:17
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            Has potential to be good once building work is finished.

            I visited the Isle of Wight Zoo in June 2008 during a day trip to the island. We were camping in the New Forest and decided to hop over the channel to visit the zoo after picking up a brochure and discovering that the zoo was home to 'ITV's Tiger Island'. The Isle of Wight Zoo is situated in Sandown on the south east coast of the island. It is built around an old Victorian fort and is easy to notice by its large, thick walls upon which stands a huge statue of a tiger overlooking the seafront. From the outside the zoo looks very grand and impressive. There is a large gravel car park which I imagine would be large enough for even the busiest days at the zoo. It is situated right in front of the entrance doors so there isn't a long walk to get in, although the ground is very uneven and may cause problems for wheelchair and pushchair users (once inside the ground is tarmacked). One of the deciding factors when choosing where to spend our day out was the price. Camping, ferry tickets and petrol can all add up and at £5.95 per adult ticket to the Isle of Wight Zoo it was not breaking the bank. Children and seniors tickets are £4.95 each, while under 5's get free entry. The zoo also offers discounts for families, groups, campers and island residents so you can be sure of an inexpensive day. We arrived at the zoo just in time to catch 'Jeepers Creepers' - one of the many keeper presentations. The talk was inside the insect and reptile house (not the place to go if you aren't a fan of big spiders and other creepy things!). In the room there is a variety of species from insects, to snakes, tortoises and lizards to look at. It is well decorated with lots of interesting facts and figures on the wall to keep read as you look around. The keeper talk was very interesting and gave us all a chance to see some lizards up close as they were perched on her arms! After the talk the keeper fed some of the animals and I found it fascinating to see the spiders run out of their nests and gobble up the crickets that had just been thrown in for them (although some of the other visitors weren't too keen on this bit!). We then head out of the reptile house to have a wander around the zoo. This is when I started to realise the zoo could do with some major renovating. The first enclosure we came to was for Lemurs. The enclosure was certainly large enough and had plenty of enrichment toys like ropes and platforms, but it looked so neglected. There were large stinging nettles growing both sides of the fence and vines climbing up the wire. The Lemurs looked happy, but I felt that the zoo could really improve the enclosure with some minor efforts. After walking further on I discovered a much larger, better maintained enclosure called 'Lemur Land'. This enclosure had plenty of trees and stones for the Lemurs to climb on and just generally looked a lot better. Lemur Land houses 4 different species of Madagascan Lemur, although they must have been inside sleeping as we waited and waited and only caught a glimpse of 2 lemurs! The enclosure opposite Lemur land was closed during our visit as the high sea winds had blown down some of the high platforms. In this area of the zoo there are also enclosures for several species of Monkey, including Spider Monkeys. Again, I felt the enclosure could have down with some tidying up and refurbishment, although the monkeys seemed healthy and happy. Walking on we discovered similar problems in the big cat area. The zoo is home to 2 beautiful Jaguars which can be seen really close up as they pace around their enclosures. Seeing the Jaguars yawn and stretch so close to me was once of the best parts of my day, although it was also my least favourite thing about the zoo as the enclosures were tiny and again, needed some work. I noticed the same thing about several other enclosures as we walked around and I was just starting to wish we hadn't visited the zoo when we entered the new big cat area. In this area there is major work taking place. There are already 3 large big cat enclosures, each designed around areas of the world where wild cats reside. The enclosures are lovely, large and full of features. The enclosure housing a 'white' Indian Tiger has a huge lake and plenty of tall rocks for her to climb on while the Lion enclosure even has an old Land Rover for them to lie out on in warm weather! There is a lot of building work going on in this area of the zoo to finish more new enclosures. Once these are complete I think the Isle of Wight Zoo will be a much better day out. It only took us around an hour and a half to see the whole zoo, it may have taken longer if we'd have seen a few more of the keeper presentations, however, if you are thinking of visiting you won't need to plan a whole day around the zoo. There is a small cafe and children's play area, as well as a small gift shop as you would expect. Overall, I came away from the Isle of Wight Zoo with mixed feelings. Whilst areas of the zoo are in dire need of attention, it is clear the zoo is in the process of upgrading and improving almost all areas, especially the big cat enclosures. It is worth the £5.95 entry fee, but if I'd have paid any more I'd have been very disappointed with the outing. Having said that, if I happen to be on the Isle of Wight in the future I'll pay the zoo a visit as I'm sure once the building is completed it'll be a much better day out. If you are looking for a good day out at the zoo on the island my advice is to give the Isle of Wight zoo a miss and drive 10 minutes up the road to Amazon World which in my opinion is a much better attraction. You can visit the Isle of Wight Zoo's website at www.isleofwightzoo.com (Gladallover 2008)

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              26.05.2008 01:14
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              Probably would be better when improvements have been completed

              We visited the Isle of Wight Zoo as it was advertised as the 'home of ITV's Tiger Island' so we thought it must be good and at £6.50 entry thought it to be quite reasonable. We took our 2 year old son as he likes to look at animals but we were quite disappointed. Part of the park was under construction so had no animals at all and some of the tigers had been moved out while they construct a exhibit for them. We did see a lovely white tiger who was gorgeous and a couple of male lions, and jaguars. There were a couple of monkeys in another display and also some lemurs,but that was about it. The play area for children was also closed under construction so our son was quite upset by that as children do. All in all it took around 45 mins to 1 hour to look around the whole zoo which all of a sudden no longer seemed like value for money. Maybe when all the construction is complete it will be more interesting but i am sure the price too will go up!

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                14.04.2002 00:20
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                We visited Isle of Wight Zoo (Culver Parade, Sandown) on the last day of our trip, because it looks intriguing from the outside and because it is one of the few attractions on the island which would appeal to every age group ( we are considerably younger than the average visitors). The zoo is quite small; there are two main exhibits. We didn't think this was reflected in the price. All the animals had plenty of space and seemed happy and well cared for. The big cat sanctuary contains about 15 animals: tigers, including Zena the white tigress, lions, leopards and jaguars. There are presentations about the different areas throughout the day. The talk about big cats was very informative with lots of detail and the keeper was very enthusiastic and obviously dedicated to his job. There is also a collection of lemurs ( which we had already glimpsed from our hotel room next door!). There is a small play area for children.

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