When we heard that Marwell Zoo was finally re-opening its doors after lockdown, it was first on our list for a must-visit.
Marwell is more like a walking safari than a zoo, with 140 acres of parkland to explore. In these current times, they have made some changes to keep everyone safe, but it doesn’t detract from the day itself.
Firstly, you need to book tickets online, in advance as they are strictly limiting numbers on site and all transactions are now card payment only. They are also asking you to keep to the left whilst walking, maintain a 2m distance from other guests and not linger too long in and around enclosures.
There is also a one-way system in place, in some parts of the zoo and around some enclosures.
The kids love Marwell’s brick events and this year is no exception, with their SUPERSIZED animals which will be on display until 1 November 2020.
We were “shrunk” on arrival, by walking through a special tunnel, before meeting toy brick models SUPERSIZED to eye-popping proportions including a three-metre tarantula and a towering red spitting cobra.
You can download the trail before you go, or pick up a map at the entrance to make sure you see them all.
There are 30 models of curious real-life creatures in 25 locations around the park, from sneaky predators such as the venomous blue-ringed octopus to the aptly named assassin bug, these fearsome creatures have been magnified to an eye-popping size.
With each brick model, there is an information board with fun facts about the creature to read, as well as how long each creature took to build, the number of bricks used and how many people it took to make them.
Visiting Marwell during COVID19 restrictions
As I mentioned above, they do have a plan in place to keep everyone as safe as possible which includes one-way systems, hand sanitiser at regular points and the closure of some indoor enclosures.
Marwell is such a big space that it mostly felt very safe, however, there are some busy points and we found long queues to get into the Giraffe House and the Tropical House.
These are easy to by-pass and we found that by revisiting later in the day it was much quieter, with little or no queuing.
For food and drink, Cafe Graze is open for takeaway only and they also have a BBQ stand just outside. There are also ice cream parlours dotted around the zoo and free water stations. We opted to take a picnic as there are plenty of places to stop to sit down and eat.
One of the kids favourite parts of Marwell is the adventure parks, but we found them incredibly busy so we avoided them on this visit. There is a new one that looks near completion that looks epic though!
We found that the majority of other visitors were respectful of social distancing measures, but like most places some were not, but it is a large enough place that you can move on, if you feel uncomfortable.
There were also plenty of staff cleaning and moderating locations where a crowd was likely to build.
I am more than happy to recommend Marwell as a safe and comfortable place to visit in these strange times and the SUPERSIZED event is a brilliant addition to seeing all the animals.
Disclaimer: We were guests of Marwell Zoo for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own