What are the best summer activities for kids at London Zoo?

Penguin waddle and lemurs. Picture: Tony Bates

Penguin waddle and lemurs. Picture: Tony Bates - Credit: Archant

From sponsored waddles to meeting monkeys, Bridget Galton found plenty to entertain her young ones when they took a trip to the zoo.

Earlier this month my kids and I took part in a sponsored penguin waddle at London Zoo to raise money for their brilliant conservation work both home and abroad.

ZSL supporter Gaby Roslin was on hand to lead the group of children and parents - dressed in penguin costumes - on a short waddle around the Regent’s Park attraction.

Raising more than £2,000, it ended at the Penguin Beach where we had a talk on the flightless birds, how they live and survive in the wild.

The Queen’s Park resident praised the work of the Zoo - not least in helping thousands of young visitors a year to understand more about the animal kingdom and the threats to many of the species on display.

“I am thrilled to be supporting this waddle,” she said.

“I take my kids to the zoo whenever I can. It’s a brilliant day out and teaches them the importance of protecting our world’s amazing animals. Where else in London could you spend your morning with a colony of penguins?”

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Founded in 1826, The Zoological Society of London carries out vital breeding programmes and projects to protect endangered animals; it recently bred a critically endangered Lake Oku Clawed frog, and its pair of Komodo Dragons are part of a European Conservation Breeding programme.

It also continues to innovate and improve its exhibitions.

With a major redesign of the lion enclosure due to re-open next year, the latest walk-through attraction is In With The Lemurs.

Last month, 16 of the black and white tailed primates, which hail from Madagascar, gained a new home where they are free to roam in an enclosure designed with basking platforms, climbing ropes and scented shrubbery native to the Indian Ocean island.

Wandering around after our waddle, it was the chance to get up close to many animals that was the highlight of our day.

Whether it was encountering an exceptionally curious anteater on a walk with his handlers through the tropical heat of the Rainforest Life exhibit, stroking the donkeys and alpacas in the petting zoo, or remembering to put away our packets of crisps in the Meet the Monkeys enclosure where the animals frolic in the bushes and branches overhead, kids will get a thrill from being able to see animal behaviour up close and in detail.

Even when the exhibits are behind glass, the eerie batcave in the Nightlife section or the tunnels where kids can emerge in a plastic dome at the heart of the meerkat enclosure still get you up close. We loved too, the pygmy hippos luxuriating in their ‘hot tubs’ in an enclosure that opened last year.

Annual passes to the zoo also get you unlimited visits to Whipsnade Zoo and cost from £86 per adult or £58 per child.

Further info at Zsl.org