You might think of a zoo as being a huge place with loads of different animals, but if you know Shaldon, you'll know it isn't quite big enough for that. The zoo is primarily home to monkeys and apes, with some birds, frogs and interesting insects thrown into the mix as well. It's tucked away near The Ness Restaurant and Hotel, so it is a case of following the signs to get there.
Entry to the zoo is fairly reasonable and you're able to gift aid it so the zoo doesn't need to pay tax on it. This costs a little bit more to do, but it's well worth it as it means that all of your entry fee goes towards looking after the animals. Considering how small the zoo is, this is really important when it comes to keeping the place running.
As soon a you enter the zoo, you get to see animals. While some of the animals they house are a bit shy, most of the monkeys are happy swinging about and playing for your attention. There are loads of different species to see and some of them are incredibly beautiful - I was a big fan of the Golden Lion Tamarin. Many of them are also quite loud and seem to like to try and get your attention by swinging around and making a lot of noise.
One monkey absolutely loved my husband and I got a great video of them playing peekaboo, which then made other monkeys want to join in.
Once you've explored outside, you can go in to see the spiders and reptiles. As I'm really scared of spiders, I gave a wide berth to the eight-legged critters that were housed in the indoors area, but I was fascinated by the frogs. Loads of them are absolutely tiny so you have to really struggle to find them in their tanks. Luckily, a few of them are really bright colours, which makes it a lot easier to find them.
While the selection of reptiles isn't the biggest, there were a few I haven't seen before and all the tanks have good explanations about what's inside them so it was really interesting. Not to mention this part of the zoo was nice and warm so we may have stayed inside for longer than we needed too!
I also couldn't see much in the way of animals, although my husband and sister assure me there were some in there. They also said that some of them were super cute, but I'll have to take their word for it!
All in all, we were at the zoo for around an hour and that was with us exploring very slowly and going back to see our favourite animals a few times. You can't expect to go for a full day out, but it's a great place to stop with kids or if you just need to kill some time. Plus, all the admission goes toward looking after the animals, which is the most important thing.