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A wild day out: 14 best animal parks and zoos in Kent & East Sussex

zoos in Kent

Are you on the hunt for some amazing animal parks and zoos in Kent and East Sussex? Then ‘paws’ what you are doing!

The best animals parks and zoos in Kent and East Sussex – there’s no denying there’s something extra cute about your kids marvelling over animals. Seeing animals at zoos, farms and sanctuaries is super fun and educational for them, and often I find the parents have loads of fun too.

Here’s our run down of the best places to see animals in and around Kent. Have we missed any? Let us know and we will add them into our list. We love sharing local knowledge – it’s what we’re all about.

Blackberry Farm Park

There are cute animals aplenty at Blackberry Farm Park. You can meet and cuddle some of the animals in the small animal barn, and there are larger farm animals dotted around the farm including llamas, alpacas and highland cows. There are also some fab indoor and outdoor play areas to keep the kids entertained.

Bluebell Café at Aspens

What’s better than visiting cute animals and getting to support a worthy cause at the same time? Aspens is a charity that runs the Bluebell Café in Pembury. There’s an animal barn where you can see smaller animals including rabbits and guinea pigs, plus there’s a lovely woodland walk and playground to enjoy. Look out for the hens as well as a pot bellied pig too!

Christmas Tree Farm

A cute and more low-key option to see farm animals is this farm in Downe. You can buy a bucket of food at the entrance and feed the animals as you go around. There are sheep, llamas, goats, pigs and donkeys plus plenty more.

zoos in Kent

More of the best animal parks and zoos in Kent and East Sussex…

Drusillas

Drusillas has more than 100 animals including red pandas, sloths and meerkats. There are also feeding times so you can watch the animals up close. There are also plenty of rides and some amazing play areas including a maze, soft play barn and a splash pad park (bring swimming stuff!).

Godstone Farm

Over in Godstone, this farm is so much more than a farm. Of course there are farm animals to see from the small (rabbits and guinea pigs) to big (cows and horses), which you can walk around and take a tractor trip around. There’s also a really good indoor soft play, a dinosaur trail and an amazing playground with one of the best sandpits in the area. We recommend bringing a picnic and enjoying the afternoon in the playground (there is food on site too).

Have you seen the Zedonk?

Groombridge Place

This estate just on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells has loads to do for the whole family. There is a range of animals within the grounds at Groombridge Place including a zedonk (half donkey, half zebra), peacocks and Shetland ponies, as well as birds of prey shows on selected dates. And once you’re done with the animals there’s an awesome pirate-themed adventure playground and an enchanted forest to explore.

Hobbledown

It’s a bit further away, but we couldn’t not include Hobbledown. There are loads of animals to see here including more exotic animals like meerkats and lemurs. There is also a raptor centre, which hosts a birds of prey show. And let’s not forget the epic play areas – there’s a sandy courtyard village area, Hobbledown Village with underground tunnels and aerial walkways to discover, Zorbing, high ropes, a knight-themed playground with towers, tunnels and slides and a mining village where you little one can search for treasure.

zoos in Kent

Hope you have a roarsome time!

Howletts

This wildlife park in Canterbury is run by the conservation charity the Aspinall Foundation. You can see animals including the largest herd of African elephants in the UK, gorillas, a giant anteater, leopards and monkeys at Howletts Wildlife Park. With babies being born throughout the year, there’s a chance to you might see some super-cute young animals.

Kent Life

Kent Life in Maidstone is a great way to see a working farm and its animals locally. The centre breeds traditional farm animals including sheep, pigs, horses and donkeys, all of which you can visit. There is also a cuddle corner where you can meet some of the smaller animals up close. Kent Life has an outdoor play area, bouncy castle, a land train, trailor rides and donkey rides to keep the kids entertained.

Adventure and fun for all!

Knockhatch

Visit Knockhatch for the children’s farm with cows, donkeys and ponies and giant rabbits, an owl sanctuary and a handful zoo animals. There’s also some incredible play areas including an amazing play castle, huge bouncy pillows, crazy golf, a paddling pool, rides and some amazing indoor soft-play areas including a barn dedicated to some of the best slides we’ve ever seen!

Port Lymphe Reserve

Run by the conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation down near Hythe, Port Lymphe is a fab safari park with animals including rhinos, giraffes, bears, lions, tigers and leopards. The park is set over 600 acres and also includes some awesome accommodation lodges within the park so you can really be at one with nature. Plus the Safari truck ride at Port Lympne through the grounds is one of my favourite parts. I think this needs to be booked ahead for at the moment but it is definitely worth doing it…

Some of our favourite animals parks and zoos in Kent and East Sussex…

Rare Breeds Centre

There are loads of ways to interact with the animals at the Rare Breeds Centre in Ashford. There’s farm animals to see and birds of prey displays and experiences, an aviary to see smaller birds up close, a play barn for children to see and stroke the animals and even pig racing! Once you’ve seen all the animals there’s also a play park, adventure trail and woodland walks.

Wildwood Trust, Kent

Set in 40 acres of ancient woodland, Wildwood offers visitors a chance to see more than 200 British animals in a natural setting. There are wolves, otters, foxes, deer, badgers, owls, wild horses, lynx, beavers and loads more to see as you weave your way through the woods. You can also buy “experiences” here including a keeper tour and a bear experience!

Wingham Wildlife Park

Surely one of the best zoos in Kent? Slightly further afield, Wingham Wildlife Park is near Canterbury, and about 90 minutes from Tunbridge Wells. Wingham is perfect if you want to see more exotic animals such as tigers, lions and bears. There is also a “dinosaur zoo” where you can see realistic models of loads of dinos!