Home of Tiger Isle
So as it was a sunny day, and we had read about the Island resident offer we decided on a visit to the Isle of Wight Zoo. This was our first visit in a number of years and we was looking forward to seeing what had changed.
First impressions were excellent. If you have ever visited or driven through Sandown you could not have failed to miss it. Based in an old military fort, it has a large car park outside, which is free to all visiting the zoo (you have to get a ticket when entering), and as it is situated on the sea front the view from outside was amazing.
Entering the park itself we experienced the highlight immediately, the loud and imposing roar of the lions. You can hear these animals calling throughout the day and the sight of people running from all directions to watch nature’s king of the jungle in action is even better than watching the animals themselves.
The Zoo is relatively small in size and is based on a upside down T shape. This means that you can walk round all the exhibits without doubling back on yourselves. The paths were wide and paved which is ideal for pushchairs and disable visitors. The enclosures are well kept and large enough for the animals to move freely and comfortably throughout the day, whilst still offering visitors excellent viewing opportunities.
Although the zoo in the past has been billed as the Isle of Wight Tiger Sanctuary (and there is no shortage of tigers), there are also meerkats, wallabies, monkeys, lemurs and reptiles. Aside from the animals there is also a display about PLUTO (a world war 2 pipe line under the ocean) and history of the fort itself.
The zoo put on talks and displays throughout the day and these were entertaining and informative. They are laid back with the key purpose to answer all questions that are posed and give you information about the individual animals. Feeding time of the tigers is one not to miss, and on this occasion they placed their dinner in the middle of a large pond so the tigers had to swim for their supper.
There is a small child’s play area with swings and a wooden fort, and a well stacked café where you can purchase drinks, snacks, ice creams and a small selection of warm food.
This is a well thought out personal family run zoo. Do not expect the size and range of animals seen in the larger main land equivalent however for its size it was a good way to spend an afternoon. The fact that you can return for a pound within the same week (coupled with the island discount) make is a great and affordable to see something a bit different on the island.
Price – £10 per adult (£6.50 for IOW residence), children (3-16) £7.50, Infant’s free.
Time spent 2-4 hours (unless you love Tigers)