Daytrips can be the highlight of a holiday and zoos and animal parks are always popular with the whole family. From aquariums and seal sanctuaries to monkey centres and alpaca trekking: there’s something for every age and animal fan.
Whether you’re visiting our Tregoad Park for Cornwall caravan holidays or have chosen one of our Dorset destinations, you are never far from a zoo or animal park. We’ve selected some of our favourites to inspire some wild days out during your break!
If you want to try something a bit different, alpaca trekking is the thing for you! Head out for a walk while enjoying glorious views of Bodmin Moor and learning about alpacas and their history. Become ‘your’ alpaca’s new best friend when you feed them some treats… and afterwards enjoy your own treat of a complimentary Cornish cream tea.
Alternatively, if you’ve always wanted to meet a meerkat, join the mob of ‘Meerkats on the Moor’ for playing, feeding and photos as they playfully run all over you! There’s also the opportunity to spend an hour meeting the different sheep on site while learning some basic shepherding skills.
Find out more: https://www.alpacatrekkingcornwall.com/
You’re never far from the sea during holidays in Cornwall and Blue Reef Aquarium lets you get a good look at some of the creatures who live in this amazing aquatic world. Explore 40 themed habitats brimming with sea life from around Cornwall to tropical seas.
There’s something to amaze young and old plus a shop and a café so you can make a whole day out of your visit.
Find out more: https://www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/newquay/
The Seal Sanctuary is a charity that rescues seal pups from around Cornwall. Their aim is to rehabilitate and release, although some animals have become permanent residents as they would be unable to survive on their own.
Support the amazing work of the team while meeting some local seals and their friends: sea lions, penguins, beavers and some farm animals, too. There’s a play area, restaurant, plenty of space for picnics, woodland walk, shop and much more at this stunning location in south-west Cornwall.
Find out more: https://sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org/en/
This wonderful charity rescues and rehabilitates donkeys and is home to over 100 donkeys and horses! They’d love for you to pop in and spend some time strolling the visitor walkways as part of your Cornwall caravan holidays.
There is a vegetarian café, gift cabin and you can book special experience days, learning to care for these noble creatures. Entry to the sanctuary is free but donations are appreciated.
Find out more: https://www.flickafoundation.org.uk/
Spread across 13 acres, Newquay Zoo is home to dozens of different animals including lions, otters, birds, monkeys, reptiles and much more.
Alongside all the wildlife, there’s a play area, gift shop, restaurant, picnic areas and maze to keep you occupied. If you’ve got any time left over, Newquay has got many other sights and attractions, so you can plan a jam-packed day of wild adventures while you’re in the area.
Find out more: https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/
Paradise Park is perfect for a whole day out packed with family fun. They have an incredible range of over 1,200 birds from near and far including Cornish choughs, owls, vultures, penguins and flamingos. Say hello to the otters and red pandas, and don’t forget a couple of pounds for a bag of food for the animals in the petting zoo.
There are flying displays, talks, an outdoor play area, indoor Jungle Barn Play Centre, café, gift shop and so much more to discover!
Find out more: https://paradisepark.org.uk/
It’s only 20mins to this delightful animal attraction: Cornwall’s biggest exotic animal sanctuary. They rescue neglected and unwanted animals from around the world and have 250 residents. You can expect to meet pigs and sheep alongside parrots, reptiles, monkeys, zebra, an ostrich and meerkats!
On site there’s also an interactive children’s farm, café, shop and ancient woodlands. A favourite with families: our guests report that everyone enjoys a visit to this superb wildlife park during their Cornwall caravan holidays at Tregoad.
Find out more: http://www.porfell.co.uk/
There’s much more to Tamar Valley Donkey Park than its friendly donkeys. Meet, feed and cuddle all the animals including goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pig and of course, lovable donkeys. Head to the café for meals, snacks and cream teas, and unleash the children in the indoor play barn, soft play, miniature tractor rides and outdoor play area.
Children under two get in for free and this is a great all-weather destination during holidays in Cornwall.
Find out more: https://www.donkeypark.com/
This delightful sanctuary gives the whole family the opportunity to get close to nature. With 40 rescued individual monkeys, this nine acre destination is smaller than others, which appeals to lots of visitors who find larger parks overwhelming.
The gardens, tea room and gift shop are not to be missed, while younger visitors will certainly want to spend some time in the wild play area, and enjoying the interactive activities and workshops. You can get to the sanctuary from Tregoad in under ten minutes by car, so why not pop along and support their great work during your stay?
Find out more: https://www.monkeysanctuary.org/
Visit the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute swans and see up to 600 swans as you stroll around the beautiful landscape. If you time your visit right, you can even join in the mass feeding sessions.
On site you will also discover a flower meadow, willow maze, children’s play area, pedal go carts, coffee shop and gift shop. Why not consider pairing your visit with a trip to Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens? You can get discounted tickets when buying tickets for both attractions at the same time.
Find out more: https://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/swannery
Bournemouth Beach is the perfect place for an aquatic destination and is a popular attraction during holidays in Dorset. Meet otters, penguins and over 150 different species of fish, a stone’s throw from the sparkling sea. Visitors of all ages love the walk-through tunnel, and there’s something surprising and exciting to discover at every turn.
There’s a great restaurant and shop, and small play area for young children, not to mention the beach on the doorstep.
Find out more: https://www.oceanarium.co.uk/
Marwell Zoo is a little further from our parks than some of the other animal attractions, but is worth the journey for a full day out. The 140 acre park is home to 100s of animals including giraffes, tigers, meerkats, penguins, leopards and many, many more!
Let the kids go wild on the five adventure playgrounds; grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants; hop aboard the rail train for a 15min tour; and/or rest your legs and make use of the land train which stops at four places around the zoo.
Find out more: https://www.marwell.org.uk/
Monkey World is a huge, 65 acre centre which rescues and rehabilitates a range of primates. You’ll love meeting and learning more about the residents at this unusual animal attraction, and you may even recognise a few faces from the ‘Monkey Life’ TV series which was filmed here.
There are three fantastic play areas, several restaurants/kiosks and a great gift shop. A trip to Monkey World makes a great excursion during holidays in Dorset.
Find out more: https://monkeyworld.org/
Set in the stunning New Forest, this attraction offers a fabulous range of animals. You’ll find tiny harvest mice, otters, bison, wolves, deer, owls, ferrets, wild boar… and much more! The children’s play areas are excellent and there are plenty of places for picnics/a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat.
Find out more: https://newforestwildlifepark.co.uk/
This superb sea life centre is close to all of our parks during your Dorset caravan holidays. Explore the themed zones on a journey that takes you around the world meeting otters, turtles, sharks, seals, countless fish and other sea creatures.
At the Sea Life Centre there’s also mini golf, play areas, a splash zone, sensory garden and several food outlets. Rain or shine: a visit to Weymouth Sea Life Centre is fun for all the family!
Find out more: https://www.visitsealife.com/weymouth/
We hope this guide to animal attractions in Cornwall and Dorset has given you plenty of inspiration for activities during your holidays with us. If you’re looking for more ideas, read our other guides to discover other attractions near your chosen park, and start planning your dream holiday, today!
As always, if you’ve got any questions about your break, get in touch with our dedicated team who are always happy to help.