“No Ordinary Zoo!” claims Drusillas on their promotional material, and therein lies the appeal of this attraction: while most children love looking at animals, it’s all too easy to get a bit fur-fatigued. The joy of Drusillas is that it is a zoo and play park rolled into one, and the compact nature of the site means you can happily hop between the two.
There aren’t any lions, tigers or bears here, but instead, plenty of cute and cuddly creatures that families can get up close to, not least in the walk-through Lemurland, which is populated with friendly ring-tailed and black lemurs. It is possible to pop up in a glass dome in the middle of the meerkat enclosure too. The penguin feeding session is delightful. Subtly woven in, education is part of the package. The zoo is peppered with “finding-out facts”; kids can stamp their animal-spotter guides; and activity points around the park – the Zoolympics Challenges – test human skills against animals. Can your children hold their breath as long as a penguin? Either way, they’ll definitely enjoy monkeying around in the outdoor animal-themed and soft indoor play areas.
Throughout the attraction, access is good. Paving is concrete or tarmac, there aren’t any steps to negotiate and there are places to rest. A sensory trail has been designed for visually impaired visitors (50p at entrance kiosk), and all the enclosures have low-level viewing, which is great for wheelchair users and small children. How much of the play equipment is accessible depends on a child’s individual mobility, but the trampoline in the Go Bananas area is flush to the ground, and there are two round team swings and some boat-style swings that a smaller child could lie in. The small Thomas the Tank Engine steam ride – that can be enjoyed endlessly! – has an accessible carriage and because there is a separate queue for this, there is potentially less wait for a ride. There are a number of accessible toilets around the park but by far the most spacious are in the main toilet block next to Amazon Adventure. Wheelchairs are available to borrow (£20 refundable deposit): to book, call 01323 874100 in advance. Hearing induction loops are fitted to the admission gates and the park’s signage is in large, contrasting colours.
Food & drink: The Explorer’s Café and Restaurant provides decent family meals, such as pasta, jacket potatoes, pies, curry, sandwiches, salads, soups, fish and chips or sausages, at a reasonable price – expect to pay about £30 for a family of four, including drinks.