Thompsons Lane South Downs National Park, Winchester SO21 1JH
Located just inside the South Downs, across the motorway from Winchester, Marwell Zoo is home to 170 exotic species. Explore 140 acres, including talks, events and café.
The zoo was founded by John Knowles in 1972. It was one of the first zoos to place an emphasis on animal conservation. As such, it became an important breeding centre for several species, some already extinct in the wild and others close to extinction, such as the snow leopard.
The zoo is divided into a number of themed areas. These include:
- Roof of the World
- World of Lemurs & Lemur Loop
- Penguin Cove
- Aridlands & Desert Carnivores
- Fur, Feathers & Scales
- Australian Bush Walk
- Life in the Trees
- The Valley Field
- Wild Explorers
- Formal Garden Energy For Life: Tropical House
Each area focuses on a different environment or animal species. Lemur Loop and the Bush Walk are interactive, walkthrough experiences that allow you to get up close with the animals. Roof of the World is themed around the Himalayas and exhibits the snow leopards.
In addition to these permanent attractions, Marwell Zoo hosts seasonal events during summer and Christmas. There is also an adventure playground for kids and train track to take you on a scenic tour of the zoo.
The zoo also has a spacious café to recharge your batteries during your visit. It is open all year round and sells hot food and drinks, snacks and more. The café has views into the valley and the meerkat burrow.
Getting to Marwell Zoo is easy. Just take junction 12 off the M3 and follow the signs through Colden Common. If you are staying in Winchester, you can take a shuttle bus direct to the zoo.