May 2020 – At the moment, Exotic Zoo have closed their doors to the public. They still offer private parties and encounters, but unfortunately they do not offer a petting zoo experience.
Exotic Zoo – A Day Out
Set behind Lakeside Plant Centre, a small treasure trove of curious animals opens it’s doors to the public.
Finley has an encyclopedia that he declares his favourite book. He watches shows about zoo keepers and deep sea divers, and his favourite thing in the world is his beloved raccoon.
Despite the Exotic Zoo not having a raccoon on it’s premises*, we thought Finley would enjoy the experience there nonetheless.
*( they are actually illegal to buy and keep in the UK, unless you owned them pre-2016)
The Exotic Zoo is a small building accessed through the garden centre. For £3.50 per adult and £2.50 per child, you wonder whether you’re being cheated of a ‘Zoo’ experience.
Immediately after paying, you come out into the meerkat area. Who doesn’t love a meerkat! They are all standing to attention, enjoying the admiration from children and adults alike. As it is Easter, the kids take part in an Easter egg hunt. For £1 each, they find the coloured eggs around the enclosures and hand in their answers for a prize. The kids are hooked by furry little animals and the chance of a chocolate hit.
The Zoo is clearly marked and nice and clean. We bumped into a volunteer outside who was holding a Frilled Dragon and gave us snippets of information about the lizard. He allowed Finley to touch and stroke the dragon and answered his queries about tails being pulled off!
Opposite to the volunteer is the reptile enclosure. Inside here are pygmy marmosets who like the warmth, but also a Crocodile, large Burmese Python and several species of insects. First we held a Snake, then a giant Millipede, and watched a Chameleon eat a locust right in front of our eyes. The hands on experience was brilliant. The staff member was very patient and dealt with the children with care. He clearly knew what he was doing and ultimately had lots of knowledge about the animals.
We move on to the tortoises, where I got to hold one! I love tortoises and am in my complete element!
Feeding the animals.
From there we walk on to rabbits, guinea pigs and miniature horses. We are able to feed them carrot sticks. The horses loved the sticks and made us howl with laughter!
In the farmyard enclosure, there are teeny tiny lambs being fed by ticket holders. They are bleating and being very cute. We missed out on tickets for the time we entered, however there were different feeding times throughout the day.
The Zoo holds a great variety of animals, from Wallabies and Bush Babies, to a ginormous Parrot, Owls and cute little Fennec Foxes. The Skunk and the Porcupine held some amusement too.
This little Zoo is expanding, with the addition of some penguins in the near future. They offer educational visits and have appeared on the likes of Blue Peter and The Sam and Mark Show.
I would absolutely recommend a visit here. The price is a bargain and the volunteers are friendly, helpful and very informative.
Exotic Zoo – A Day Out.
Postcode: TF2 9TT. Priorslee Telford. The Zoo is clearly signposted to the Lakeside Plant Centre.
Price: £3.50 Adults £2.50 Children.
Parking is shared with the garden centre and is limited, but above all, it is completely free of charge.
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