Lions And Zoos

“I went to London Zoo for the first time and it was so empty it felt like I was in an abandoned funfair” – Alexandra Bullard

Life would be boring without animals. Period. Imagine a world without meerkats, llamas, dogs and goldfish. Echoing the Sound of Music, here are some of my favorite things.

Still, I’ve never been to a single zoo in my entire life, Edinburgh Zoo, but I wasn’t going to let this lack of zoo experience deter me. It was time to head for the big one for the first time. ZSL London Zoo.

Buying myself a single adult ticket, I almost screamed at the price. £23.64 – are you kidding me? This tourist trap is better worth it.

Hopping on the tube and then on a London bus, I made my merry way to Regent’s Park on a Friday morning. It took me less than three seconds to walk through the entrance, with no line in sight.

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“My first impression was that it looked like an abandoned fairground”

I started to worry silently – what if I was the only human in this zoo? Upon entering the premises, I expected to see a crowd of Londoners fighting for a view of a tiger. I was totally wrong.

My first impression was that it looked like an abandoned fairground. There were several construction sites, building works and road signs every two meters – but it seemed lifeless.

Apart from one or two children with their parents, there was hardly any human civilization in sight. On top of that, the cafe and gift shop were pretty much deserted.



“Going to Asia, I was desperate to get my money’s worth and see some tiger action”

Quickly I realized that the zoo was big – bigger than I ever imagined – and was built to accommodate the swarms of tourists who come to the zoo at the height of summer. And I know it all sounds very dark, but in all honesty, I enjoyed having the place all to myself.

But what about animals, you ask? Well dear reader, prepare to be both disappointed and amazed.

My itinerary started off on a somewhat disappointing tone when I failed to spot any lions, which is really the least you can expect from a lion enclosure. I literally laughed – was I taken for a fool?



“Curled up like a cat, I felt like I was the only person in the world next to this majestic creature”

However, just before continuing, I found a sleeping male lion hiding in the shadows. Curled up like a house cat rather than a 200kg killing machine, I felt like I was the only person in the world next to this majestic creature.

Moving on to the part of the zoo that focuses on Asian animals, I was desperate to get my money’s worth – and witness some tiger action. After what seemed like an age of waiting, my prayers were finally answered.

Two adult tigers and a baby cub appeared at the same time. It was truly magical and beats every David Attenborough documentary I’ve seen. Other animals I managed to tick off include giraffes, zebras, hippos, camels, crocodiles, pelicans, turtles, snakes, and even gorillas.



‘Realizing that I was running out of time, I was desperate to see one of my favorite furry friends: the penguin’

Realizing I was running out of time, I was desperate to see one of my favorite furry friends – the penguin. Thank goodness I decided not to leave early, as I practically had an audience of penguins all to myself.

Even one of them greeted me. If it hadn’t been for the glass barrier, I would have been attacked and bitten to death.

If you’re going to London Zoo this year, do yourself a favor and go on a weekday.



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Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll have all the time in the world to marvel at these amazing animals. You will thank me later.

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