Perfect day out with the kids

As the UK’s largest zoo, set across 600-acres atop the Dunstable Downs, Whipsnade has so much to offer parents and pre-schoolers. 

Home to more than 10,000 animals, ranging from brightly coloured butterflies to gigantic elephants, your little one will love spotting their favourites as they embark on an adventure like no other at Whipsnade. Here’s our top tips for a great day out with your wild child.

You’ll begin your day at our visitor centre. With a coffee bar serving up a delicious range of hot drinks and food, it’s the perfect place for a snack stop and potty-break. The gift shop is also here – it can get busy towards the end of the day, so why not have a quick browse at our educational and engaging zoovenirs or pick up a Zoo Guidebook before setting off on your day.  

Whipsnade Zoo visitor centre drawing for initial plans
Penguins at Sunset

What to do at the Zoo

First up, no zoo visit is complete with a p-p-p-peek at the penguins. Whipsnade Zoo is home to two different types of penguins, African black-footed and rockhopper penguins. These flightless birds provide endless giggles with their comical waddles – can your little one stick out their hands and do a penguin impression? 

Our Aquarium is a must-see for all, especially children. The only Aquarium dedicated to the conservation of freshwater fish, the floor-to-ceiling tanks, mesmerising projections on the floor and sounds of bubbling water provide a unique sensory experience.

Fish are excellent at playing hide and seek – it’s how they protect themselves from predators. See how many fish you can spot hiding inside shells or behind sea plants. 

Once you’ve resurfaced from Whipsnade’s underwater world, it’s time to embark on a tropical adventure in the Butterfly House. Look out for the very hungry caterpillars hanging in their cocoons in our interactive metamorphosis zone, waiting to emerge as beautiful butterflies. Keep your eyes peeled for our West African dwarf crocodiles. Little ones can get an up-close view of the miniature crocs who may be basking on land or lurking in their underwater home.  

Explore our butterfly house

Orange butterfly perched at Whipsnade Zoo butterfly house
Our butterfly oasis

Butterfly House

One of the largest butterfly biomes in the UK, we have over 30 different species from around the world and large aquarium with two crocodiles.

Where to eat at the Zoo

Around now, you’re probably getting hungry yourselves and ready for feeding time at the zooOur restaurants and food outlets serve a variety of food options, or if you’d prefer to bring your own, we’ve got plenty of picnic areas dotted around the zoo.

At the Base Camp Restaurant we’ve made life easy for you. Order and pay via your phone, and we will bring your food to you – all you have to do is choose what you’re going to eat. 

The inside decor of Viewpoint restaurant at Whipsnade Zoo, showing tables with chairs, fridges full of drinks, and green foliage
Two children playing at Whipsnade Zoo

Tips for parents visiting the Zoo

Energy levels restored, it’s time for some more fun! Our Hullabazoo Adventure Playground is the ideal spot for pre-schoolers to go wild. With rope bridges, swings, tunnels and a sand park they’ll be able to embrace their inner-monkey and clamber away! You can also drive your car around Whipsnade Zoo – perfect if you’re worried about your little one’s legs (or your own!). Just drive up to the gate and pay an additional fee on arrival.

There are lots of secluded benches and areas around the zoo where you can feed your little one in peace, or simply take some time out for a moment. We also have our own indoor soft play zone! Book online for Hullabazoo Indoor Play the day before your visit to secure your time slot. 

Home to massive elephants, powerful rhinos and towering giraffes, you’ll be sure to make a big impression on your little one’s day, by introducing them to Whipsnade’s largest animals. Our herd of Asian elephants are a family group – and while our toddlers are a little bigger than yours, their playful nature isn’t that much different.

We’re sure that you’ll want to come back again, so why not check out our Zoo Membership? You can visit us at Whipsnade as often as you like, and our sister site at, ZSL London Zoo and be the first to know about future events and promotions.

Fun at the Zoo

Children's play parks

Play Areas

Whether it's our nimble red pandas or agile chimps, your children can leap, climb and swing just like their favourite animals in our nature-inspired adventure play parks.

Ten of the planet’s most extreme aquatic habitats

What to expect at the Aquarium

Our Aquarium is a round-the-world journey through ten of the planet’s most extreme aquatic habitats, and a base for our leading conservation work protecting life everywhere.

Our penguin colonies


From the way they waddle, to their tuxedo like feathers, no one can resist the loveable charms of a penguin. We're home to two penguin colonies, rockhopper and African penguins.