Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens is a small zoo based in Northumberland which is home to small animals, reptiles and an aquarium.
I love discovering new places and a while ago I was lucky enough to win tickets to visit Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens.
I had never visited Kirkley Hall, which is a 17th Century Grade II listed building in Northumberland. The Hall can be used as a wedding venue and has large grounds attached to it.
Part of the grounds contains the zoo which is home to over 200 animals. A number of these are part of the endangered species breeding programme, which helps preserve these animals for future generations.
Kirkley Hall is also home to Kirkley Hall Campus and the zoo provides a great place for Animal Management students to learn. Entry into the zoo also allows access to Kirkley Hall gardens and there is also a play area, picnic areas, a tearoom and gift shop. The grounds also have high ropes and a 120 metre zip wire so you have plenty of things to do when you visit. Sadly the zip wire was shut when we visited to my son’s disappointment. We spent our time exploring the zoo instead.
Entry into the zoo is just beside the car park. When you buy your tickets you get a map and a schedule that shows different activities taking place. These are involve animal encounters and meeting the keepers. If you time it right you can even get to hold some of the animals
Kirkley Hall Zoo contains different zones which contain different animals as well as an aquarium and reptile house. We decided to wander round in a big circle and find all the different animals. In the middle of the zoo are plenty of picnic tables and a cafe, so if you need to stop and rest for a while you can. The grounds are clean and everything is well signposted so you can easily find your way about.
The zoo is home to familiar species as well as the more exotic ones. In and around the PETALZ Barn we found goats, rabbits and guinea pigs. If you come at the right time you can cuddle the rabbits and guinea pigs which is a lovely experience for children. This goat looked very contented munching the grass.
In the South American Paddock we found lots of animals from South America including a Cotton Top Tamarin who had rather a cheeky face. It is fascinating seeing these animals that you would not normally see and learning more about them. There are lots of ring tailed lemurs here as well but they did not want to be photographed.
A large part of Kirkley Hall zoo contains an aviary where you find a wide range of wetlands birds. You also encounter the odd bird wandering around, we found some stunning peacocks taking up residence on the steps. All the animals have information posters beside their enclosures which give details about what they are and where they are found. This is a great way to educate children about animals and lots of them were discussing this information with their parents.
We finished our visit by exploring the Walk of Life, an indoor exhibit where we found reptiles and meerkats. I always love watching meerkats, they are so funny the way they always have to have a couple of them on guard, scanning the area for danger.
We enjoyed our visit to Kirkley Hall Zoo and next time will have a look around the gardens and hopefully have a go on the zipwire. There is certainly plenty to see and do, my advice would be to look at when the animal sessions are on and fit your visit around them so you get to experience a couple. We managed to just miss two while we were there and it would have been nice to pet the animals. Have you ever been to Kirkley Hall Zoo? I would love to know what you thought.