Getting to meet the penguins was by far one of the most entertaining encounters I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Have you seen how insanely charming they all are? What about those fluffy lil’ baby ones? Cute, right? And please let’s not ignore the fact that penguins mate for life! I am sorry but that is just too adorbs.
There is something special about these stunning animals that I’ve always found incredibly captivating. In fact, the Meet the Penguins experience at ZSL London Zoo was part of my Ultimate London Bucket List for a really long time. So naturally, Sam and I couldn’t believe our luck when the amazing ZSL London Zoo team retweeted our Friday night escape to Zoo Nights and crowned us as the (ehem, ultimate) winners of that week’s Meet the Animals competition!
So what was it going to be? Meet the penguins, the rain forest animals or the giraffes? Our decision was already made even before our beloved Meet the Animals Gift Pack reached our home. Although we wouldn’t get to “P-P-Pick Up a Penguin” *insert 80s tv ad theme here*, how could we resist meeting plenty of them?
The penguins at ZSL London Zoo
A colony of Humboldt penguins call London Zoo’s Penguin Beach their home. In the wild, these splendid medium-sized aquatic birds live predominantly on the coasts of Peru and Chile and enjoy salt water and rocky landscapes. Penguin Beach tries to recreate exactly that – with plenty of nests and a 450,000 litre/1200 sqm penguin pool (the biggest one in England), this South American inspired oasis features a chick incubation area, a nursery and even a pool where the lil’ penguins can learn how to swim.
Penguins are all about that salt moana life. They absolutely love dipping into the large pool, especially when it is lunch time. Penguin Beach Live! shows visitors how these little cuties fly underwater to catch their yummy seafood every day. In fact, one for them takes place at 1.30pm, just moments before the daily Meet the Penguins experience starts. From October to July, you can book access to a restricted area of Penguin Beach, where an expert zookeeper will introduce you to the curious penguins and answer all of your questions.
With a maximum of 6 people per visits, the 20min experience provides an informative way to get to know more about these extraordinary animals. You will soon realise how different they are to one another. In fact, penguins show really different personalities from the very beginning. Some are shy or won’t trust you straight away; others, on the other hand, are inquisitive and extremely interested. They all enjoy being pet and will hunt all of your shiny possessions. And, if you are wearing a skirt or a dress like I did, they might cheekily try to get under it!
Some tips: try to make the most of your 20min visit. You don’t get to spend much with the lil’ ones so make sure you experience it to the fullest. Take as many pictures as you can, but always be respectable of the penguins. Like with any other animal, let them trust you first. Of course, don’t be afraid to ask the zoo keeper any questions that you may have, they will be your best guides! The penguins might decide to nibble your toes so it’s advised you wear closed toe shoes. Oh! And arrive 10-15min before the experience starts at 1.50pm (or be there beforehand to see the Penguin Beach Live!). Zoo entry tickets are not included in the experience, so make sure you have purchased separately.
Once the experience has finished, feel free to spend the rest of your day exploring London Zoo. It’s a lovely place and is full of wonders all over. Live talks take place daily and you get the opportunity to see and learn about other animals as well – like we did with this cheeky giraffe!
If you could meet any animal which one would it be? Have you been on a Meet the Animals experience before? Let us know in the comments below!
ZSL London Zoo | Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY, London
Want to know more about things to do in London? Then check:
- My Ultimate London Bucket List
- ZSL Zoo Nights – London Zoo After Dark
- Sky Garden, The Best Free Views of London
- Afternoon Tea at Sketch, London | REVIEW