While in Swansea we decided to stop in at Plantasia Tropical Zoo. I wasn’t sure what it would be like – the thought of all the plants was probably going to put N off, but there were animals too, so he was happy enough to go and check it out.
Plantasia Tropical Zoo is on one of the retail shopping parks Parc Tawe, so you can grab lunch, do some shopping and visit Plantasia – there’s 2 hours parking in the car park. The website states that if you need longer, let the staff know and provide your registration to get over 2 hours, or park further away and walk, as it’s all quite compact in that area. We booked tickets the night before, so if it’s a school holiday and you want to go at a specific time, it’s worth booking just to make sure you get to go when you want.
For younger children there was an Easter egg quiz to answer as you went round and you could do the Easter egg trail looking out for the giant eggs. N decided he was too cool to do these.
Plantasia isn’t massive but they do cram in quite a lot to the tropical area. There are different sections you can walk through and there are lots of interactive boards, and displays to find out about the regions or animals.
With 40 different animals from bugs, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds, there will be something you’ll enjoy seeing. For us we love the meerkats and we tried to have a chat with the very quiet macaw. N reckoned most of the animals looked dead, but they were definitely just asleep. Behind the screens you can get quite close to them if you want.
Obviously with tropical temperatures, wearing layers helps but it wasn’t too hot like some similar places are.
You can walk the living rope bridge, and view the waterfall. We liked watching the koi carp, and oddly ‘sunbathing’ turtles.
Apart from the arid region area where the meerkats are, the area we liked best was the killer plants. There were some interactive bits where you could be like flies getting caught in the stamens, and check out the toxic plants kept behind glass.
The caiman crocodile was lazing on the side, but we had to step up to the challenge and see how we scored on the grip meter – compared to the jaws of a crocodile. Pretty badly, although N was determined to score higher each time.
The chipmunks were really cute, and I spent a bit of time watching them.
There’s also an educational table in the last area before leaving where you can find out more about the people who live in the rainforests, with their jewellery, clothing and more. But N was ready to leave by that stage.
We were in Plantasia less than an hour, but looking back at the website, it appears we somehow missed the gloworm tunnel and the treehouse where we could have found out about food webs. I don’t think it was particularly clear where the different areas were or which way to go when walking around. We just seemed to go one way and follow others, so it was hard to tell where we’d been and where left there was to see.
I would have liked a bit more time in there but tweens…
Once you’re in you can go round as many times as you want, and try all the interactive activities. It’s a nice compact attraction which is particularly good for preschool or younger primary age children. There’s also a small cafe and gift shop.
Special events include story telling and talks, you can buy experiences there, and they hold autism quiet hours.
While Plantasia isn’t the biggest or fanciest attraction, we found it better than our previous visit to the Living Rainforest, near Newbury.
Have you ever been? What tropical zoos would you recommend visiting?
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