Recommended Zoos / Wildlife Parks

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#1
A sticky thread about which zoos are crackers to visit, and ones which shouldn't be touched with the proverbial barge pole? :)
 
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MWHCVT

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#2
I'll get it started (y)

I really enjoyed West Midlands Safari Park...you have the chance to get quite a range of animals in reasonable settings worth cleaning your car windows before heading in as obviously some of the sections you really need to keep your windows closed ;)

http://www.wmsp.co.uk
 
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I'll get it started (y)

I really enjoyed West Midlands Safari Park...you have the chance to get quite a range of animals in reasonable settings worth cleaning your car windows before heading in as obviously some of the sections you really need to keep your windows closed ;)

http://www.wmsp.co.uk
Thanks Matt.
I similarly recommend Woburn Safari Park. Especially good for the bears and wolves.
 
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And Mods, thanks for moving to the appropriate place.
 

big soft moose

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Dartmoor is brilliant (if not massive)

Paignton is really good and massive

and Cotswold wildlife park near Burford is fantastic - particularly the lemur walk through

on the flip side I wasn't that impressed with Exmoor zoo , although its okay to visit, just not great photographically
 
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Not a zoo but The Raptor Foundation near St Ives, Cambridgeshire is great for birds of prey and photography. They have 2-3 flying displays per day and many perched birds for great portraits. Best of all the money goes towards running the foundation, helping injured birds of prey and returning them to the wild if it is possible, otherwise they are cared for at the centre.
 

big soft moose

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Not a zoo but The Raptor Foundation near St Ives, Cambridgeshire is great for birds of prey and photography. They have 2-3 flying displays per day and many perched birds for great portraits. Best of all the money goes towards running the foundation, helping injured birds of prey and returning them to the wild if it is possible, otherwise they are cared for at the centre.
good call

in that vein the 'british school of falconry' at shuttleworth, beds is well worth a visit too ( I especially like the walk through Barn owl exhibit)
 
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viv1969
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The Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent is awesome.
It's not a zoo, per se, but they do have open days 3-4 times a year.
But they run photography days / evenings, and they are apparently legendary (though pricey).
 

big soft moose

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The Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent is awesome.
It's not a zoo, per se, but they do have open days 3-4 times a year.
But they run photography days / evenings, and they are apparently legendary (though pricey).
is that the big cats place at Smarden ? - I went there once on a wild arena course, it was ****ing epic if expensive.

talking of private collections , the UK wolf trust at beenham, nr reading is hard to beat (so long as you like wolfies of course)

and the British Wildlife Centre at lingfield in surrey is worth a look - you can go as a visitor at weekends, but for best shots a photo day with into enclosure access during the week has a lot to commend it
 
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is that the big cats place at Smarden ? - I went there once on a wild arena course, it was ****ing epic if expensive.

talking of private collections , the UK wolf trust at beenham, nr reading is hard to beat (so long as you like wolfies of course)

and the British Wildlife Centre at lingfield in surrey is worth a look - you can go as a visitor at weekends, but for best shots a photo day with into enclosure access during the week has a lot to commend it
Yes, Smarden. I've only done an open day (last summer). Don't have the Wonga for the photo do's.

Met wolves from the Wolf Trust. Wept like a baby and got no pics whatsoever, but SOOOO worth it if wolves are your "thing". (and they have a thing about bare toes so I'd suggest trainers :LOL: )

Matt.....struggling to change the title?
 
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MWHCVT

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#13
The photography days at WHF are brilliant. They have to be pre booked and are about £125, but well worth it.
WHF? come one give me a clue what or where is that :D
 

MWHCVT

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Yes, Smarden. I've only done an open day (last summer). Don't have the Wonga for the photo do's.

Met wolves from the Wolf Trust. Wept like a baby and got no pics whatsoever, but SOOOO worth it if wolves are your "thing". (and they have a thing about bare toes so I'd suggest trainers :LOL: )

Matt.....struggling to change the title?
Edit it post then "Go Advanced"
 

big soft moose

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Matt.....struggling to change the title?
just click edit on the first post - should be straight forward.

if its not , pm a friendly mod (or chris if you really have to :LOL:)
 

big soft moose

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WHF? come one give me a clue what or where is that :D
do try to keep up - its the wildlife heritage foundation Ruth mentioned :bonk:
 

big soft moose

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#20
if you like the slippery pink member Ruth , that's your prerogative :LOL:
 

big soft moose

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#21
back on topic - another couple of recommendations would be knowlsley safari park near Liverpool and the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingguissie in strathspey
 
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#22
The Hawk Conservancy trust, near Andover. Wide range of Hawks, Owls and Vultures!

http://www.hawk-conservancy.org/index.asp

Also, The Cat survival Trust, Welwyn - not open to the public but there are a number of photo days organised by various photographers through the year. As it is a private collection (charity), the enclosures are single mesh, so you can get very close. Snow leopards, Amur Leopards, Jaguar, and others.

http://www.catsurvivaltrust.org/
 

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Went to http://www.africa-alive.co.uk/ a few weeks ago and wasn't overly impressed, not a lot for the price but good for kids

Not keen on http://www.pwpark.com/index.html either, not a good place for photography

Marwell is ok but again some of the enclosures aren't photographer friendly, especially the big cats

Whipsnade has to to be a favourite (y)
as really impressed with http://www.banhamzoo.co.uk/ too

Fot the british stuff you can't beat http://www.britishwildlifecentre.co.uk/


will think about a few more later
 

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I thought they were the same place :eek: joins Ruth in penitence
 

big soft moose

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Marwell is ok but again some of the enclosures aren't photographer friendly, especially the big cats
if you really want decent marwellian pictures a photo day with cross barrier access is the best way to go - the high point of the day for me being going up on the keepers gantry to get up close and personal with the girraficals

(incidentally giraffe slobber will knacker the optical coating of your lens (fortunately it was only a crappy 18-55 I ruined finding this out) so my advice is to use a UV filter for that particular part of the day)
 

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#28
Hmmm last time I went to see the giraffes at Marwell you had that walk up platform to be at there level and they were fed from the sides or a nearby tree.
Being a big cat fan I find it frustrating to have either glass reflecting the sky/other visitors or wire to get through :(
It would be good if they took a look at whipsnade and put a canopy over the windows (y)
 
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#29
Hmmm last time I went to see the giraffes at Marwell you had that walk up platform to be at there level and they were fed from the sides or a nearby tree.
Being a big cat fan I find it frustrating to have either glass reflecting the sky/other visitors or wire to get through :(
It would be good if they took a look at whipsnade and put a canopy over the windows (y)
The Snow Leopard above was taken through a chainlink fence.
 
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Being a big cat fan I find it frustrating to have either glass reflecting the sky/other visitors or wire to get through :(
It would be good if they took a look at whipsnade and put a canopy over the windows (y)
.

One of the best ways I find to beat glass reflections is to use a rubber screw on hood. Pushing the lens against the glass with a rubber hood on cuts out reflections nicely.
 
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Went to http://www.africa-alive.co.uk/ a few weeks ago and wasn't overly impressed, not a lot for the price but good for kids

Not keen on http://www.pwpark.com/index.html either, not a good place for photography

Marwell is ok but again some of the enclosures aren't photographer friendly, especially the big cats

Whipsnade has to to be a favourite (y)
as really impressed with http://www.banhamzoo.co.uk/ too

Fot the british stuff you can't beat http://www.britishwildlifecentre.co.uk/

will think about a few more later
How good is Banham Zoo for photography? My usual place is Whipsnade but have friends near Cambridge so Banham Zoo could be interesting. Have you any photos from there?
 
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#32
My vote is for my local zoo , Chester
Excellent zoo some of the enclosures are very good for photography:)
Is very busy this time of year though!
 

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#33
The Snow Leopard above was taken through a chainlink fence.
So were my snow leopard cubs in the zoo forum, and some through glass

.
One of the best ways I find to beat glass reflections is to use a rubber screw on hood. Pushing the lens against the glass with a rubber hood on cuts out reflections nicely.
That only works if you can get close to the glass, best view at marwell you can't :(
 

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How good is Banham Zoo for photography? My usual place is Whipsnade but have friends near Cambridge so Banham Zoo could be interesting. Have you any photos from there?
I found it pretty good, unfortunately I got distracted by the tiger cubs so really need to go back ;)
 

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#35
just click edit on the first post - should be straight forward.

if its not , pm a friendly mod (or chris if you really have to :LOL:)
Watch it you, or you are likley to end up with another user title.....
Oh wait a minute :p



Whipsnade, nope, stay away, nothing to see here, no Lynx kitts,
no cheetah cubs.
Nothing of interests / jedi mind trick :p

On the down side its bloody expensive, 20 quid for an adult
and 20 quid to get the car in.
The car park over the road is 4 quid, Now Free (as of 2014)
and there is a free bus around the park, its walkable but not really with smaller children.

And don't forget the TP meet in Sept ;)

Batsford falconry center is good obviously as the name suggests,
they do regular displays through the day, and you can get quite close to some
of the birds (well you used to anyway, not been for a couple of years)
Well worth the 8 quid to get in IMO
And there is an arboretum right next door should you feel so inclined.

As already said, Cotswold's wildlife park, well worth a visit. 14 quid for adults, car park is free (well it was last year)

Woburn Safari park, also worth a visit, but a good portion is drive through
and the rangers get the arse, if you open your windows in the "drive through" enclosures :D (So don't get caught Eh? ;))
I think its about 20 quid each, but the car goes free. :D
 
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#36
Another vote for the Cotswold Wildlife Park. Not only good for photography, but dog friendly too. I am sure I can't be the only photographer that generally has a dog in tow!
 
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#37
Yorkshire Wildlife Park (Doncaster) - awesome place, great for photography. Raised banks and fences buried down in moats often mean you don't have to shoot through wire fences - my pet hate. Not the least bit 'zooish' in the traditional sense either. I have an annual pass, which only cost me about £30-ish. Well worth a visit.
 

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#38
I went to Banham today and thought it was ace!
 
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#39
My favourites:

Wingham- I find this really good for photography, especially wolves, tigers and now cheetahs.

Wildwood- pretty rubbish for photography but a nice little place.

Howletts- great for photos

Port Lympne- safari isn't great for photos as you get bumped around but there are some very photogenic tigers. They do an overnight stay which can be pricey (from ~£120 pp) but food is lovely and the 'tents' are right in front of the watering hole. Great for photos in the morning when someone scatters food in front of it.

Wildlife Heritage Foundation- epic and legendary sounds about right. We're planning on doing a 'private' one next year. £250 pp but going inside some enclosures. It's worth every penny considering where the money goes.

I need to visit Africa Alive, Banham, BWC, Whipsnade and Hamerton. Didn't work out this year unfortunately.
 
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#40
Madwoman, nice to see someone else who goes out with camera and dog in tow :) I am at the Autumn show in Malvern this weekend

yes CWP is great and another haunt of mine is the International Birds of Prey at Newent, 3 great displays a day plus the hawk walk and aviarys £40 for a yearly pass
 
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