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“A Perfect Morning”

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Ponteland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Enjoy a great day out for all the family at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens with over three hundred species of animals including emus, wallabies, marmosets, pygmy goats, donkeys, meerkats, lemurs and many more.Visitors can meet the keepers and learn about the animals and their habitats. With a rolling programme of kids' activities and play areas, forest trails, garden walks, picnic areas and a brand new tea room and gift shop, there really is something for all of the family.
Level Contributor
166 reviews
131 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“A Perfect Morning”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2014

My husband and I visited Kirkley Hall and Gardens at the weekend. We arrived quite early, just after ten, and after paying our very reasonable entrance fee (only £6 per adult) we entered the zoological side of the attraction. It was a little noisy and the animals were very excitable as we had just caught them having breakfast. It was lovely to see the capybara munching on whole apples and wholemeal bread as we wandered past. There are several peacocks wandering around the park freely and one just happened to float down into the capybara enclosure to help himself to some grapes as we watched.

We then continued around the park at a calm leisurely pace taking in all of the animals. The reptile house was very nicely designed with sometimes enclosures right to the floor, a little awkward for older people I would imagine but perfect for children. The enclosures were clean and well lit and the animals all seemed happy and comfortable. The information panels too were of a great standard and these themes continued throughout the park.

As we walked around the park with the guide of the map, we realised we were just about to miss lemur feeding so headed on over. The keeper was polite, cheerful and informative (Sammy I think her name was) and I learned the difference between the colouration of the male and female ruffed lemur. Dynamite was particularly energetic when being fed and a pleasure to watch, I really wanted to help groom him as his new girlfriends aren't quite interested yet (poor thing, lol).

We enjoyed seeing the baby ring-tailed lemurs too who were kept inside as they were still so small but my favourites were the pygmy marmosets which have to be the smallest monkeys I have ever seen; so timid yet inquisitive and just beautiful.

My husband went to see the aquarium while I waited outside as I really don't like fish. However, there were gorgeous little poison arrow frogs inside so I braved the aquarium as it is quite small. As we went to leave out of the exit we found it locked and a large group of children were entering via the main door so I did have a little bit of a panic being so close to the fish, however this is my issue I just wish the exit had been open, lol.

After looking at all of the exhibits we enquired at the entrance and found that our tickets lasted all day so we decided to have tea in the Orangery and explore the grounds before returning to the zoo a little later. Service in the Orangery was good and excellent value for tea, treats and gifts. The gardens were beautiful and we really enjoyed our river walk through the red squirrel conservation area although we were not lucky enough to see any red squirrels.

We then returned to the zoo and had our picnic and were surrounded by the free roaming peacocks. It was a little unnerving as they were perched on the roofs around us but they were calm and peaceful and did wander off on their own.

The birds at Kirkley hall are amazing. The pond was undergoing a refurbishment but this did not affect the animals. You really have to go to see the 'Zombie Bird' roaming around in there, very strange looking and a sight to see, and the grouse looking bird that looks like he's trying to be a superhero. (Sorry I can't remember their actual names).

We had a fantastic time at Kirkley Hall and recommend it for a family day out. Take a picnic and time your days walks with the animal encounters to make the most of your day.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Danielle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KirkleyHallZoo, Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, responded to this review, 15 July 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed and informative review, we really appreciate it as reviews such as this encourage other customers to visit us. You sound like you had a brilliant family day out and you experienced so much of what we have to offer here at Kirkley Hall. You are clearly an animal lover and it is so lovely to hear that you managed to catch the feeding and handling sessions as well as enjoying all the animals in their enclosures.
We really look forward to opening our doors to you again in the future.
Kind regards
Jenny Cairns
Operations & Events Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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374 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Nice afternoon out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014

We've been twice, once on a family visit and the second on a school visit. Both days were very enjoyable. My eight year old son is animal mad so here is perfect for him. Our guide on the school visit was fantastic and very informative whilst still making it fun for the kids. Will definitely be back for a third visit.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Andrew N Kerry A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KirkleyHallZoo, Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, responded to this review, 15 July 2014
Thank you for your review, it sounds like you had a great time and it is nice to hear you have experienced it both from a family and an educational point of view. We look forward to welcoming you again in the near future and I hope you have an equally brilliant visit.
Kind regards
Jenny Cairns
Operations & Events Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Pleasant afternoon”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014 via mobile

We took our 3 year old daughter to this mini zoo for a Sunday afternoon out. We managed to catch the meercats and lemurs being fed which was lovely to see and the staff were informative. It is clear to see that Kirkley Hall have paid careful attention to making the animals happy in their enclosures which was lovely to see, it also means that visitors have to spend longer trying to find them but that wasn't a problem. Also we were allowed to stroke a bunny and a goat.
The zoo was small but well cared for, our only complaint is that we were led a merry dance trying to find the play park. The zoo and gardens are in a college so it really wasn't clear which areas were off limits. On one occasion we had to squeeze past a generator and through the college building... It felt wrong but that was were the signs were sending us. Managed to get to the walled gardens and hunted high and low but couldn't find the park. Also found another family looking for the same park. There was a forest walk play area but it wasn't suitable for our 3 year old.

Helpful?
1 Thank ZoeDurham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KirkleyHallZoo, Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, responded to this review, 15 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write a lovely review, we are delighted that you had such an enjoyable visit. It sounds like you managed to experience a lot of the activities we have to offer including the animal feeding. I am sorry to hear that you struggled to find the play park, this can be found just outside the walled garden next to the glasshouses however, we will look to improve signage around this area. Unfortunately we have had some issues with power recently which is why we have the generators on site and I agree they are rather unsightly so I hope that if you visit again they will no longer be there.
We really hope you will come back and visit us again to see our ever growing collection of animals.
Kind regards
Jenny Cairns
Operations & Events Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Elaine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014 via mobile

My son took part in the zoo school and loved it. Would definitely recommend for any animal lovers. Well organised and the staff were knowledgeable.

Helpful?
2 Thank andersonedj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KirkleyHallZoo, Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely review, we are delighted that your son had such a good time and zoo school and we hope to see him again soon.
Kind regards
Jenny Cairns
Operations & Events Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
90 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Waste of Time and Money”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

Took my niece and her friend here for the day and was around the place in under half an hour. Found that a lot of the cages had signs up to say something was in there when it wasn't. Watched one of the feeding shows but the women repeated the same few seconds over and over again and the kids got quickly bored. We decided to walk to the park which was really just a few swings. Disappointing day out will definitely not be returning.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank imagewin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KirkleyHallZoo, Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Thank you for your review however, I am obviously disappointed to hear your comments. With regards to your visit only lasting half an hour I don’t feel you have spent long enough at the attraction to enjoy everything we have to offer. We have animal encounters, lemur talks, Shetland pony grooming, animal handling and on most weekends we have a themed event such as reptile weekend or Madagascan weekend where we run additional activities. In addition to this we also have out woodland walk, outdoor play area, walled garden and zip wire. I really hope you will visit us again and enjoy everything that the site has to offer as I feel you have unfortunately missed a lot on your original visit.
Kind regards
Jenny Cairns
Operations & Events Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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