Days out Paignton zoo - Bubbablueandme

Meeting the animals at Paignton Zoo

We’ve been away to Torquay, Devon for a few days holiday.  It was just N and myself, because it’s calving time on the farm, so the OH was busy. We had a lovely time, shown by the 500 photos I took!  

Days out Paignton zoo - Bubbablueandme

Our first full day there, I decided to take N to Paignton Zoo.  I’ve not been to a zoo for years (I suppose Cotswold Wildlife Park is really a zoo, but I never think of it as one because of its name), and N’s never been, so Paignton looked really good to try out.  It’s not a long drive from Torquay, and there’s plenty of car parking.  The walk down from the car park is quite steep, and even disabled parking isn’t on the flat level to the entrance, although there is space to drop off and pick up if needed.

Of course, N didn’t want to go and look round at first…until he saw there was a train.  To placate him, we went on that first.

excited to be on the paignton zoo train

At 80p a person, it’s the most expensive little train we’ve been on at any days out type of place – mostly kids under 5 go free, and adults are 50p, so this was a bit steeper.  It just went round the wetlands area, and we didn’t see much other than birds (and a flicker at the lions).  But N enjoyed it, and obviously the trip was for him.

the wetland birds at Paignton Zoo

It was a pretty chilly day, so after the train ride, we headed for the desert and tropical indoor areas.  N wasn’t that keen, and decided that he wanted to pee – I’m never sure whether he says that to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do or if he really needs to go.  Luckily around Paignton Zoo, there’s plenty of toilets everywhere you turn so you never have to go far.

The zoo is really well signed, pointing to the different animals, and we used them well, rather than just ambling aimlessly.  Every time I asked N what he wanted to see, he said ‘nothing’.  But then changed his mind once he arrived at another enclosure.

paignton zoo map

He turned his nose up (literally, smell-wise) at the gorillas, but then spent ages watching them.  Maybe he hoped to take notes from the gorilla sleeping upside down on a rope?

There was a new siberian tiger bedding in, but we still got to see her.

siberian tiger at paignton zoo

The lions however, refused to look in the right direction for photos.  They were just snoozing and being lazy.

lions at paignton zoo

Being near the coast, the zoo is hilly so with younger children, definitely don’t forget the pushchair.  We did manage to get round most of the animals we wanted to see, although N had had enough and didn’t want to see the elephants and giraffes.

The one thing (or two) that he loved were the children’s play areas.

walking the bridge climbing frame

At the moment there’s an area with picnic tables and a big tower with a curly slide.  The peacocks were putting on quite a show there for us, and anyone else with a camera.

backend of a peacock
strutting peacock

There’s a new climbing frame are being built elsewhere that we noticed, but the best play area was a a smaller more enclosed area with a wooden ‘obstacle’ course.  N loved this so much, we had to return a couple of times so he could play there.

doing the obstacle course

There’s plenty of picnic areas, but we ate in the restaurant.  It was busy, being a Sunday, so I dread to think how full it would get during the peak summer months.  We didn’t check out the hot food, but if we went back, I’d opt for that over the sandwiches.  

Kids have the usual lunch box – a bargain at £3.50, but there was no choice, so if you’re dairy free you’re stuck with a yoghurt or fromage frais – I did manage to get it swapped for a piece of fruit.  I do prefer a choice of items.  Here they only include a small roll (and I mean, a small roll) either cheese or ham, dried fruit, a carton of drink, and the fromage frais.  My panini was a shocker.  Half of the filling falling out, cut skewed, so it was hard to eat neatly, and although I could see the pesto, it was just bland.  No taste whatsoever.  So poor lunch on both accounts.

children's play area port holes

After another go in the play area, we headed back to Torquay for a rest, and planning time for the rest of our stay.  I think the zoo visit was a success, and N talked about the animals he’d seen all the way back to the hotel.

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  1. Great photos, I haven’t been to a zoo in too long! Stunning peacock 🙂

  2. We lived in south Devon for a while (before kids) and visited Paignton Zoo whilst we were down there. I seem to remember enjoying it – it certainly looks like N enjoyed it (or the playground at least!) #countrykids

  3. Shame about the lunches but having been on a large number of trains of all sizes I’d say you got a bargain price. Whipsnade is def more than that. Not been to Paignton Zoo before but love that part of the world, another place on our ‘to do’ list.

  4. We have family in Paignton so the zoo’s been on my radar for our next visit – I love the photo’s of the peacock and great tipo about not risking it without the pushchair! #countrykids

  5. It’s great that in the end N enjoyed his trip to Paignton Zoo, despite him being against it at the start! It sounds like overall you had a great day exploring the zoo and learning about all the different animals, even if there were some downsides. N looks like he’s really enjoying the obstacle course. Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

  6. Sounds like a lovely day out. I find after being away there is always too many posts I want to write, but some slip through, so don’t blame you for not keeping them in order.

    Kids always know how to get out of things they don’t like, don’t they?


  7. We love Paignton Zoo! We used to have membership so could pop there a lot, which was great as I found it too large to cover in one go with a toddler. Our favourites are all the monkeys & the crocodile swamp 🙂 We’ve not been for a good year now & my 3 year old is requesting a visit so you’ve reminded me we have to go back soon! #countrykids

  8. Hubby is from Devon, so we go to Paignton regularly, but we’ve never been to the zoo. It looks like a great day out, and the lunchbox was reasonable, too. #CountryKids

    1. The zoo’s really good. Big enough without being massive – it’s one of the biggest in the UK. Definitely lots to see, and we didn’t even do any of the ‘educational’ activities.

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