If you have a toddler, £20 and want to burn an entire day while the sun’s out, then the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is the place for you. It has animals, playground equipment, and ice lollies, what more could a toddler ask for?
Date Visited: Sunday, 2nd June 2019
Location: Battersea Park – Via, Chelsea Bridge, London SW11 4NJ
Getting There: We trekked just over an hour across town from SE London. This involved a couple of buses and tubes. We alighted at Sloane Square before catching the 137 bus and walking in, but there’s other methods of arriving. On the way back, we decided to tube it back to Westminster and switch to the Thames Clipper ferry service for something different.
Cost: Entry to Battersea Park is free, however a visit to the zoo will cost £9.95 for adults, and £7.95 for kids between 2-16 years. Extra for food at the cafe and for the games inside (e.g. steering a toy boat and shooting water)
When I checked the weather the week before, forecast was for a sunny, mid to high 20° weekend. With no birthday parties or other events to attend, I decided to start researching things to do outdoors with toddlers. One of the searches involved ‘best parks in London’. With Greenwich Park already ticked off the list, it was a toss up between Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, or Battersea Park Children’s Zoo. With the inclusion of animals, the latter won out.
It’s not the easiest place to travel to if you live towards SE London. However, there are plenty of transport options to arrive at Battersea Park. Once at the park, it’s a relatively short walk or scoot to the Children’s Zoo.
The entrance, which also contains the gift shop, is nicely signposted to assist with finding it along the path (Google Maps helps as well!). Grab your tickets and map and you’re off. It’s perfect for smaller kids as the zoo is easily accessible for buggies and isn’t very large, compared to the London Zoo. However, it contains enough animals to keep them occupied and engaged for a bit. It has lemurs, monkeys, otters, a couple of donkeys, emus, sheep, rabbits, rodents, insects, birds and every kid’s favourite, meerkats. Similar to the London Zoo, it allows kids to crawl down and pop their heads up in a bubble within the meerkat enclosure. There’s also a variety of feeding sessions as well at regular intervals, which provides some interaction with the zookeepers.
Food and non-zoo animal options:
After a walk around of the enclosures, we stopped by the cafe for a quick drinks break. The cafe has an express Costa machine, and a small choice of sandwiches, paninis, muffins, slushies, drinks and ice creams. Enough to keep the energy levels and fluids up.
Then came the more exciting section of the zoo for Cara, the playground. It’s pretty much half of the zoo itself. Some of the equipment included climbing area, a wooden castle, a fire engine, a helicopter, a cubby house, and a wet and sand play area. We probably spent about 40 minutes on the actual zoo side, and a further 2 hours on the play equipment side. Yes, you could probably find a playground that offered this for free. But hey, for under £20 to visit a zoo and playground for 4 hours, it’s pretty good.
We had to take a brief stop for lunch at the cafe, which offered a kid’s lunchbox (jam sandwich and a choice of 3 items from the fridge – e.g. crisps, chocolates, yogurt, drink or sweets) for £4.95. It did start to get a bit windy towards the mid-afternoon, but the sun was still out and Cara was enjoying climbing around. By around 2:30pm, she was getting a little tired and grumpy so we called it a day. She ended up taking a 15-minute nap while waiting for the bus back to Sloane Square station, a sign she had a good time.
If you prefer to mix things up and maximise the rest of the day, there are plenty of other options close by:
- Battersea Park
- Go Ape
- Children’s Playground
- Tennis Courts and other sport facilities
- Cafes, Pergolas, Boating lake, Galleries and more…
- Bring a sand bucket, shovel and a change of clothes / towel for the sandpit area.
- If you want to save some money, bring a packed lunch and enjoy a picnic. There’s plenty of seating areas to eat at. The food choices aren’t huge and there’s not a lot of options available close to the zoo, so plan ahead!
- As we visited Battersea Park Children’s Zoo on a nice, hot day, it was very pleasant. Remember to bring some sunscreen. However, if it is raining, there’s not a lot of coverage as it’s quite exposed. Double check the weather or bring some wet weather gear.
More details: Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Burn Time: 5 out of 5 – stay from open till close if you want to, or use the time to explore the rest of the park.
Value: 4 out of 5 – if you’re only planning to stay for a short time, then it can be pricey, especially with the additional costs for refreshments
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 – we had a great day out, and would happily go back again when the weather’s lovely.
Have you been here before? Did you and your kids enjoy it as much as we did? Leave your comments below.