Norfolk has a fantastic variety of zoos and animal attractions, from the conservation-committed Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens to Amazona Zoo, where you can get up close to South American animals. Here’s a roundup of the top spots to visit during your stay.
Top animal attractions and zoos in Norfolk
For fans of the ocean and aquatic life, the popular SEA LIFE centre in Great Yarmouth sits on the seafront and is filled with sharks, penguins and all types of fish! Those who want to get up close and personal with the sea life can make the most of the centre’s interactive rock pools, where you can stroke a sea anemone or touch a starfish. Meanwhile, there’s a fantastic Tropical Ocean display, where you can walk through the Ocean Tunnel to see the inhabitants of the centre’s very own ‘Lost City of Atlantis’ – complete with sharks and a huge green sea turtle!
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Filby is home to a number of rare species, including the Amur leopard, Sumatran tiger and red panda. There are also many other animals at Thrigby, including crocodiles, alligators and snakes in the Swamp House. There are 2 different types of gibbon and other wild cats, including snow leopards and Asian golden cats. Other highlights include oriental small-clawed otters, meerkats and a variety of birds. A fun day out for all the family!
Just half an hour’s drive from Hemsby Beach Holiday Park is Pettitts Animal Adventure Park. Especially enjoyable for little ones, Pettitts has gentle rides, outdoor adventure play and, of course, lots of animals to see and to get up close to in the petting zoo area. From domestic animals such as horses, alpacas and ferrets, to exotic ones such as ring-tailed lemurs and raccoons, kids will love meeting all of the inhabitants of Pettitts!
Redwings Horse Sanctuary is devoted to the care and rescue of horses, ponies and donkeys. The Aylsham branch of this Norfolk-born-and-bred sanctuary is home to almost 90 residents, and is just a 45-minute drive from Hemsby. The whole family can get up close to the rescued animals at Redwings and learn about the important work the charity does for horses and donkeys across the country. Perfect for horse lovers!
Based in Cromer – less than an hour’s drive from Hemsby Beach Holiday Park – Amazona Zoo is a wonderful place to visit for a day out. More than 200 animals call the zoo home, so there’s plenty to discover, from flamingos to caimans, and Geoffroy’s spider monkeys to pumas. There’s also an educational yurt where you can learn all about South America and the animals that live there.
A great day out for all the family, Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is 3 parks in 1! With animals, rides and live entertainment, there’s plenty to see and do. From the small guinea pig to the long-necked alpaca, there’s a wide range of animals for you to meet. Some can even be cuddled during dedicated sessions! A series of gentle rides are perfect for kids, including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, Alice in Wonderland Ride and Little Explorers Balloon Ride, plus a slightly more adventurous roller coaster. Finally, outdoor play and live shows in the park’s theatre complete a full day’s entertainment.