We had planned a chilled-out Sunday, after the madness of Christmas, just a girl’s day whilst Daddy was playing golf. By 10 o clock my house was littered with gel pens, play doh and half the contents of a box of rice crispies which Elsie decided to pour all over the kitchen floor. It was going to be one of those days! I started looking online at local things to do and just as I heard Daisy saying, ‘let’s do karaoke’ I made the quick decision to go to ‘Crocodiles of the world’, the UKs only crocodile zoo (because let’s face it there’s only so many times you can listen to your children belting out renditions of the greatest showman). The reviews I had seen online were not great, but it was only a thirty-minute drive and it beat facing an overcrowded soft play area on a Sunday.
We ordered tickets online (www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk) before leaving. The cost for an adult ticket is £8.95, a child aged 3-16 is £6.50 and under 3’s go in free. As we’re based in Oxfordshire it was a quick and easy drive, and we arrived just before midday. There is a reasonable sized car park, and even with it being the weekend, there was plenty of space to park.
When you arrive, you are given a timetable of feeds/talks happening throughout the day. There is an indoor area with various species of crocodiles, alligators and lizards. It’s very small inside but there are lots of facts that kept Daisy interested. (Did you know an American alligator has a bite stronger than a lion, tiger and even a great white shark?) They have some American alligators in a pool type enclosure. You can stand on a bridge and look into it, which sent me into a slight panic! ‘Don’t get too close’ ‘Get your hands in’ ‘NO CLIMBING!’ They were impressive to see so close up (not that I would want to get any closer).
Outside you will find a small selection of other animals such as meerkats, tortoises and monkeys. We watched the meerkat feeding time, which was essentially just a man throwing a box of grasshoppers into the enclosure. Even the girls lost interest after a minute or two! There is an education room with a large TV and seats, which I am guessing shows documentaries about the crocodiles, although this wasn’t on when we were there. The alligator feeding time was held in another building, and unlike the meerkat feed, you are given a talk with lots of facts about the alligators and how they feed.
As well as the animals, you will also find a play area with picnic benches which would be a nice place to sit when the warmer weather is here. You can take your own food or buy food from the café. You can purchase drinks, kids cold/hot lunches, jacket potatoes, baguettes etc, all for a reasonable price. Just before you reach the exit you will walk through a gift shop selling novelty crocodile keyrings, teddys and cups. Great for a game of ‘whoever gets out of the door without asking for a toy wins’. A crocodile photo experience is also available. You can hold a bay crocodile and buy a photo package for around £30, as a result it was not surprising that there was not a single person having their photo taken whilst we were there!
Overall, we spent around 2.5 hours there, although if the weather was warmer, I would’ve happily stayed longer and taken a picnic.
Would I recommend Crocodiles of the world?
If you’re local I absolutely would recommend it! The kids had a great time and I’m glad I ignored the negative reviews. As long as you don’t go expecting a huge zoo, because as I mentioned it is very small. If you don’t live locally (under 40-minute drive), I personally would say it’s not worth driving out to. On the way home, Poppy said ‘that was the best day ever, thanks mummy’, so that to me is money well spent.