Tel: (01827) 880250/880440
About Twycross Zoo
Twycross Zoo is a captivating family attraction at Atherstone, Warwickshire, in over 50 acres of lovely rolling countryside, and it attracts over 500,000 visitors per year. Best known for its World Primate Centre – the largest collections of captive primates in the world – Twycross Zoo is a leader in conservation and education, while offering a glorious family day out.
Opened in 1963 by by Molly Badham and Nathalie Evans, Twycross Zoo become a charitable trust in 1972 – the East Midland Zoological Society - and has since grown to an establishment nurturing over 1000 animals from 250 species, three quarters of them endangered. In 2000, Badham and Evans co-wrote a history of the institute, Molly’s Zoo.
Open all year round except for Christmas Day, the family attraction is the only zoological park in the UK that features 'our closest living relative', the Bonobos (a community having thrived in Twycross Zoo since 1992), and the only one to exhibit all four species of great ape. Twycross Zoo’s chimpanzees featured in TV commercials for PG Tips tea up to the 1990s, and the impressive Western Lowland gorillas and venerable orangutans complete the big primate picture.
Additionally, the family attraction has Pygmy Marmosets – the smallest monkeys in the world – as well as a variety of lemurs, the timid Marmoset, tamarind, noisy howler monkey, tree-leaping spider monkey, Humboldt's Woolly monkey, the Pale-headed Saki monkey, chattering Capuchins, Allen’s Swamp monkey, guenons, roloway, Diana monkey, L’Hoests monkey, colobus, leaf monkeys, langurs, the agile gibbons and siamang. Natural-born performers, the monkeys often put on a show for their human cousins, parading about their enclosures, skittering about the foliage and feeding on peanuts, raisins and other foods – always guaranteed to liven up a family day out.
Twycross Zoo ticket holders also have access to a whole host of other exotic and native animals, one highlight being the Amur leopard, the rarest of all the big cats, with only 30-40 individuals left in the wild. They share the big cat enclosures at Twycross Zoo with several Asiatic lions – the kings and queens of the jungle – and numerous other Plains inhabitants, such as slender giraffes (reaching a height of over five metres), camels and four female Asian elephants. Their paddock was re-opened in spring 2007 after major refurbishment involving the removal of 3000 cubic metres of soil. It features a sand paddock with 1100 cubic metres of specialist sand, standing dead tree trunks and 13 immovable 15-tonne boulders, a mud paddock, an elephant house with steel gates and wire, three outdoor sleeping pens, the country’s largest elephant pool, and an eight-foot deep moat containing 170,000 gallons of water that surrounds the paddock. Elephant training takes place daily at 2.10pm and is another highlight of a family day out to Twycross Zoo.
Twycross Zoo’s Tropical House opened in 2005 with a number of South American species housed in a walk-through rainforest. Ticket holders are guided through the house by Twycross Zoo staff and can see displays explaining the rainforest environment and its inhabitants, animal and human. Amid the steaming flora and fauna are a "ranger’s hut" and specimen tanks that house blue poison dart frogs and a boa constrictor.
Elsewhere, the family attraction is alive with a humid and neated canopy of chattering common marmosets, green iguana, Linne’s two-toed sloths, numerous types of tropical birds, turtles, fruit bats and spiders.
In July 2007, the Mary Brancker Waterways and Bornean Longhouse opened, the latter’s walk-through path allowing ticket holders to Twycross Zoo to come face to face with various types of waterfowl, Bornean birds and turtles, while panel displays explain how Borneo’s aboriginal peoples live in traditional longhouses, making for an educational as well as a fascinating family day out.
For those with aquarian leanings, the Sealion, Penguin and Seal feeding times are a must, the comical penguins waddling around with abandon and delighting visitors as they dive and swim in their pool before emerging to be fed. The sealions equally put on a grand show for ticket holders each day at noon, while playful otters are another heart-warming sight on a family day out to Twycross Zoo.
A family attraction has an enclosure for Scottish wild cats and, kept well away from their reach, a bird aviary and wildfowl exhibition. Among the feathered friends to be seen flapping and flying about Twycross Zoo are kookaburra, cassowary, the giant pelican, stork, ibis, spoonbill, colourful flamingo, numerous swans, ducks and geese, Pintail, teal, shoveler, pochard, goldeneye, peacock pheasant, tragopan, shelduck, crane, waterhen, moorhen, pigeon, cockatoo, galah, lovebird, Amazon, the chirpy macaw, parrot, turaco, caracara, owl, mynah, magpie and hornbill. For twitchers, Twycross Zoo is just the ticket!
Furthermore, on a family day out to Twycross Zoo it’s possible to see Pythons, Crocodiles, glass lizard, rainbow boa, the termite-eating Aardwolves of southern Africa, Bush Dogs, Dhole, majestic Mhorr Gazelle, the bat-eared fox, inquisitive and comical meerkats that dart and weave about their enclosure, graceful deer, tapir, babirusa, alpaca, pudu, zebu, marmot, mara, capybara, chipmunk, chinchilla and wallaby.
'Pets Corner' features zoo babies mixing with domestic farm animals such as sheep and goats, while the summer 'Family Exhibition' animal encounters allow ticket holders to get up close and personal with some of the animals and ask their keepers questions about them. Besides all that, there’s a Children's Adventure Playground with slides, climbing frames and swings, and a Pirates Cove including pirates, treasure, adventure rides, inflatable slides, a nine-hole crazy golf course, narrow gauge railway and exotic animals.
Taking a break during a family day out to Twycross Zoo, ticket holders can use the Information centre, Monkey Bar Café, Cockatoo Cafe, Gorilla Outpost Café and Oasis Cafe, healthy-eating bistro, a bar, two gift shops, open grassy picnic spots and a covered area, and car parking.
Twycross Zoo caters for groups from schools, universities and the public, offering talks, information packs, and corporate packages for conferences (details at the website). With disabled facilities and access throughout, Twycross Zoo is a family attraction that can be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, making for a great family day out.