Whilst we were on a little holiday to Lynton in Exmoor, we were looking for things to do, and thought we’d pay a visit to one of the local attractions: Exmoor Zoo.
I’ll be honest, before arriving at the zoo, we didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. When we go away, we tend to just go with the flow. So this little ‘day out’ wasn’t exactly planned and more of a random endeavour. But it didn’t take us long to realise that our time could’ve been far better spent doing something else.
Exmoor Zoo and Zoos In General
I’ll be honest. I don’t know where I stand when it comes to zoos. I know it’s a complicated issue, and I don’t think you can just say “animals shouldn’t be kept in cages” as sometimes I know it’s a necessity to help the survival of the species. But sometimes, it does feel wrong. Not so much with prey animals. I’m not going to argue that a giraffe isn’t loving the idea of having no lions knocking about. But Exmoor Zoo, and most zoos in general, have a lot more than prey animals on display.
I also don’t feel that I would mind as much if they had a lot more space. Places like West Midlands Safari Park have an open feel to it. But Exmoor Zoo felt tight and quite cramped.
The enclosures felt a little small for some of the animals, especially the cheetahs, they all seemed muddy (might be weather related) and each enclosure felt the same as the next with nothing of interest that ever stood out. Seeing an animal like a wolf just tucked up in a small space just didn’t feel right. They’re pack animals that like to hunt over miles and miles, they’re not animals that merely want an easy feed and nothing else to do.
The same can be said for their main attraction, the black leopards. Or as they like to call them, the Exmoor Beast:
Then you have this, which to me, felt like it was essentially a dog. It’s not. It’s actually a New Guinea Singing Dog. But still. I know I might be being silly with this, but I really felt a little uncomfortable seeing a dog in a zoo. I know it’s a critically endangered species, and it needs protecting. But my gut reaction just didn’t like it.
And the worst part is they were pacing around and occasionally giving the odd whimper. As a massive lover of dogs, and someone who lets the dogs sleep in the bed, I basically just wanted to jump in there and give the damn thing a cuddle.
In the end, it didn’t really take us very long to make our way around the zoo. I’ll admit that we didn’t exactly stop and read each bit of information outside the enclosures, and nor do we stop and watch any of the animals talks. It doesn’t help that Isabelle isn’t exactly of an age where she wants to know what a capybara is. So stopping to tell her about them isn’t something we’re going to do. But that’s totally on us. I wouldn’t criticise a place for not having more things to do for babies when it’s not really a place for them. But with that said, this is a family attraction, and as such should cater for a larger range of family members.
All in all, I give Exmoor Zoo a 4/10. I will admit that perhaps we visited on an off day. Maybe the weather had effected the conditions and made the whole place look a little bit unkempt. I’ll also admit that taking a 9 month old to a zoo is hardly setting yourself up for an interactive day. But still, we’ve been to other zoos with Isabelle and have managed to have a great time.
Either way, I think we’ll give this a miss the next time we find ourselves in the Exmoor area, but if this is something that you fancy giving a go, then you can visit their website and have a look for yourself.