Isle of Wight Zoo

Yaverland Seafront Sandown Isle of Wight PO36 8QB

Built into the remains of a Victorian fort, the Isle of Wight Zoo may not have state-of-the-art enclosures and exhibits, but this interesting and innovative centre of conservation and animal care is well worth a visit, particularly for children. Specializing in big cats, this small low-key zoo has a friendly atmosphere and is run by Charlotte Corney (partner of TV naturalist Chris Packham), who grew up here and inherited the place and its residents from her father in 2003. The zoo has seven tigers, including a rare white tiger, as well as four lions, seven species of lemurs, a jaguar, wallabies, meerkats and several species of monkeys, along with a selection of reptiles and native British animals. Many of the big cats have been rescued from circuses or private collections and are now housed in decent-sized enclosures that are well-equipped with activities and equipment to enrich their lives – the lions, for example, have an old safari jeep in their enclosure to play on. Throughout the day, keepers feed and give informative talks about the various animals.

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