Sunday 12 May 2019

A Day Out at Marwell Zoo, featuring Brickosaurs! Review

Marwell Zoo near Winchester is one of my favourite places to visit and is somewhere I have been coming to since I was a little girl - in fact, one of my earliest memories is a school trip here when I was around 5/6!

Recently Marwell launched their world exclusive Brickosaurs event and we couldn't wait to visit. Brickosaurs is an amazing interactive showcase of over 2 million Lego bricks creating a whole host of colourful dinosaurs around the park. It's a perfect day out for the kids - animals and Lego, a match made in heaven!

I knew we would have a lot to see so we left nice and early and arrived at Marwell at 10 when it opened. We picked up our Brickosaurs trail map and off we went. It wasn't long before we spotted our first dinosaur although this one was obviously far too dangerous to be out and about in public!

he's behind you! 
As it was quiet we decided to hop on the little train that goes around the park and it's a great way of seeing the park and getting your bearings.

The zebras were full of the joys of spring and the younger ones were skipping around all over the place!

After the train dropped us back at the station, we grabbed a quick coffee from the gift shop/cafe and spotted a rather colourful velociraptor lurking in the corners. One to tick off our list!

One of the best tips I have for anyone visiting Marwell is to consider walking the park in an anti-clockwise direction. Most of the crowd will generally head past the penguins in the direction of the giraffes but we found that by heading in the opposite direction, it was a lot quieter.  We had the snow leopards to ourselves for a little while!

The Brickosaurs are scattered all over the park and easy to spot. Each dinosaur is accompanied by a sign full of fun facts like how many Lego bricks were needed to build it, and how much it weighs etc. How amazing would it be to have the job as Brickosaurs builder?

The largest touring Lego brick dinosaur model ever made is the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex who we found outside Marwell Hall. At 8 metres long she really is a sight to behold!

Exploring the zoo is hungry work so decided to stop for an early lunch - and to stop the continued "I'm hungry!" comments! There are several cafes and kiosks around the park if you want to buy something but there are also lots of lovely areas which are perfect for picnics.

We love to have our picnic on the lawn at the back of the Hall - there are lots of benches plus more importantly, hills to roll down!

Marwell Zoo is currently going through some pretty exciting changes and is part way through a £17m investment programme which promises improved habitats for animals and more immersive experiences for guests.

One of the newest exhibits is the Tropical House which is home to an abundance of wildlife and tropical plants - and they have a sloth! I absolutely love sloths and I was really hoping to spot him but he was tucked away out of sight. Maybe next time! If sloth spotting wasn't enough to keep Elliot busy, he really enjoyed playing with the interactive tablets that can be found throughout the house.

The Tropical House spans two levels and is totally wheelchair/buggy accessible - just as well, Erin slept her way around this one ;) Colourful birds and butterflys swoop above your head whilst at ground level, you might spot mouse deer, tortoises, lizards and leaf cutter ants. We found the ants fascinating!

According to Marwell's annual audit last year, there were around 2000 animals and 143 species but this year's figure is likely to be higher because of the success of their breeding programmes. There are different things to spot around every corner and we loved seeing our favourites such as the Amur Tigers and meercats.

 I also have a soft spot for the very cute red pandas and it was lovely to see them in their new home.

 As if the animals and Brickosaurs weren't enough to keep the children entertained, there are also 5 adventure playgrounds to explore! My kids are obsessed with parks so we could have spent all day playing on these. Some are suited more for older kids but with a bit of assistance, Erin was able to clamber up most of the play structures and whizz down the slides with her brother!

After a quick trip to the gift shop, it was time to come home - what a brilliant day! Sadly we didn't get to visit the Brickosaurs Base Camp - the previous day had been mega windy so the marquee was shut for safety reasons but at least this gives us a reason to return. Plus there are 12 more Brickosaurs arriving in July!

Overall, Marwell Zoo is a fantastic day out for all ages and it really is value for money. There is so much to see and do and you can literally spend the entire day there! The Brickosaurs event is definitely worth seeing and is running until 1st September 2019.

For more info on opening times and ticket prices, see the Marwell Zoo website

P.S. If you need somewhere to stop for dinner when you leave the zoo, we can highly recommend the Dog and Crook pub which is just a few minutes away in the village of Brambridge. We had a lovely meal on the way home!

*Disclaimer: We were invited to Marwell for the day to visit the Brickosaurs, all words and opinions are my own. 

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