Things to Do with Kids in Hampshire Marwell Zoo | Brickosaurs
By Emma Clark – Ad Press trip
If you are looking for things to do with kids in Hampshire, then Marwell Zoo is currently home to a Brickosaurs Lego event! A collection of 50 Lego dinosaurs. Among them is an imposing eight metre T-Rex, the largest touring LEGO brick dinosaur ever made!
Living locally we have visited the zoo several times, but this new Brickosaurs event had us intrigued. Would it captivate an 8 and 13 year old? Marwell Zoo invited us to visit and provided entry tickets in return for our review and opinion.
How to Get There
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Marwell Zoo is a lovely family day out in Colden Common, near Winchester in Hampshire, a short drive from the M3.
Marwell Zoo Address: Thompson’s Lane, Colden Common, Winchester SO21 1JH
About Marwell Zoo
Marwell Zoo, a registered charity, is home to a whopping 1000 animals, with over 100 species. A usual educational day out focusing on animals and conservation, has a new twist this summer. It’s newest attraction arrived early April and runs right through to September – it’s BRICKOSAURS!
The Zoo itself is a fantastic family day out in Hampshire. You will need a car to get there, but there is plentiful parking which is free.
The park is great for a youngsters and primary age children, and of course any Lego fans! Marwell Zoo is huge and encompasses 140 acres where children can pretty much, safely run free.
Facilities at Marwell Zoo
With the gentle hills and prepared paths, it’s buggy friendly, wheelchair friendly and not too strenuous should any older members of the family wish to join.
If walking isn’t for you or your little ones get a bit tired, there is a free tractor pulled ‘train’ that regularly drops and collects in various areas of the park. If you have a pushchair or wheelchair with you, there is disabled access and a trailer on the back to carry items like pushchairs.
There is also a super little steam train journey (£2.50 pp with under two’s free) – definitely a must for the whole family, and there are five adventure playgrounds for the children to go climbing.
If you are visiting this educational day out with little ones, there are plenty of toilets, changing facilities, eateries (all at reasonable prices I may add) and some well thought out shaded areas if you take your own picnic too. If you happen to visit on a rainy day, there are plenty of indoor respites too.
Marwell Zoo doesn’t have that over commercialised feel and is incredibly engaging for the children. The informative educational approach is incredibly refreshing, everything is really clean and all the animals we saw seemed very relaxed, happy and had plenty of space to run around, lots of food, fresh water and seemed very well cared for.
For us, the meerkats were a winner – they seemed particularly cheeky! Another huge highlight was the penguins – they were so close we could have almost touched them – of course this isn’t allowed, but it’s a reflection of the engagement.
Much to our sons delight, we saw the snow leopard and the feeding of the tigers. The giraffes were all inside so we managed to get up close to them as well.
There are plenty of staff on hand around the park to ask questions that a curious child may have all explained in a lovely clear way.
The new tropical house was abundant with colour and sound: birds, butterflies, insects, frogs, a waterfall and sloths. It is also home to some more engaging activities, including face painting, it’s really clear that there is strong investment in making this a popular attraction in the long term.
Exploring Brickosaurs at Marwell Zoo
So – our sons highlight – Brickosaurs – Does anyone know where Colin is?
The real tug for us to re-visit the Zoo was something different – Brickosaurs. Having previously been to one of their last construction events, we were very keen to see another!
I shan’t give away all the surprises, but the day kept my 8 year old son and his dad very engaged … I mean wild animals, Lego (over 2million bricks) and dinosaurs all in one place, what more could a dad and his lad wish for?
Touring the loop of the Zoo (and the new eco centre), we were given a list of dinosaurs to spot and tick off. Luckily for us, the angry dinosaurs appeared to have been captured for the day and some were not particularly happy about being in crates!
We managed to tick all of them off and entered the competition. We even identified some new dinosaurs, which meant some engaging research once we got home! and, we found Colin! (No, I still won’t reveal who or what Colin is!)
We ended the day in the cute little cafe with a nice selection of foods for even the fussiest of eaters and picked up a couple of gifts from the enticing gift shop. It is where you need to submit your competition entry form, so be prepared for the huge temptation to kids and the inevitable, “please may I have this?”
For those travelling further, there is a rather handy hotel, Marwell Hotel on site too. Marwell Hotel, is a safari-themed hotel with family rooms set in the countryside.
Some family rooms come equipped with bunk beds and a double bed. All rooms have a kettle – which is useful if you need to make up a bottle of milk. Facilities include a large indoor swimming pool, an outdoor play area, free wifi and an activity pack for kids! All very convenient if you are exploring a bit more of Hampshire or perhaps visiting Peppa Pig World, or other children’s attractions in Hampshire.
We arrived at park opening time and stayed until about 2.30pm. Unfortunately for us, we went on a windy day, so we missed out on the base camp, the brick pit and Brickoshop as they were closed for health and safety reasons. But what a great excuse to return!
There are some new dinosaurs being released later this year, and apparently there will be some new members to the Zoo community too! We genuinely had a fabulous time and feel that events such as Brickosaurs enhance the visitors experience.
How much does Marwell Zoo cost?
Currently, children are charged £17 aged 3-16 years and adults are charged £21. Family tickets are available which brings the cost down by about £4. These prices include a small donation, which is optional.
Is Marwell Zoo open all year?
Marwell is open from 10am every day except Christmas and Boxing Day. Closing times vary throughout the year so please check the website for details.
For more details on Marwell Zoo and the Brickosaurs event, see here.