A Day of Interactive Fun – Tropical Wings Zoo in Essex, UK

Butterfly Tropical Wings Zoo

Going to the zoo might seem like the perfect family activity, and it is! But it’s just as good for a day of fun planned and carried out by adults!

On my last day in Essex, just before driving away to Birmingham for an author event (I do that, write books), my friends, Geoff and Saad, took me to the Tropical Wings Zoo. It was a short drive away from the bed and breakfast I was staying at, and somehow we managed to have a bright and sunny day to enjoy our trip.

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I have to say this, there was a kid involved as well, Geoff’s niece, but I am pretty sure no one could have said who was the adult and who was the kid among us, becauseΒ the size of our grins and the wonder in our eyes were pretty much the same If you don’t count the height difference, that is! Even when you look at height, with my towering 5 feet frame, I clearly couldn’t be mistaken for a kid, could I?

Tropical Wings Zoo

Tropical Wings Zoo was my first experience where I’d wander through the place and have birds, butterflies, and other critters flying around. I was terrified I might hurt something for the first few minutes. Then I just lost myself among cicadas, butterflies, bird song, the fish in the pond and the beautiful flowers. After the first immersion in what I thought of as butterfly land, we went outside to visit all the other birds and animals.

Fish Pond Tropical Wings

Saad discovered a bird of prey show and we attended that. We of course got photos with a cute owl. Our luck brought us at the right place just when the lemur show was about to start. Which was pretty much us looking at lemurs walking around for fruit (cute as hell, I tell you!) and being amazed by how fast two huge turtles actually moved.

Tropical Wings Owl and Me

For lunch we headed to the Tropical Wings cafeteria which was pretty cool. Of course, if you plan ahead, you can actually bring a picnic basket and have yourself a merry little picnic outside. The food is good though, so you don’t have to do that.

Turtle Race

When we were done visiting everything, we spent a good half an hour in the souvenir shop. I had trouble deciding what I wanted, because I would have happily bought the entire store πŸ˜€


If you ever are in Essex, I strongly recommend you go visit this amazing interactive zoo. I loved every bit of it and I have plans to visit again the next time I’m in Essex. Which will happen soon, if I have any say in it!


More Tropical Wings photos below (although they are a small selection of the hundreds I’ve taken while there).







62 thoughts on “A Day of Interactive Fun – Tropical Wings Zoo in Essex, UK

  1. Love places where you can have experiences with birds of prey. Looks like a lovely zoo! Chester Zoo is supposed to be amazeballs too if you’re interested.

    1. I love them too, so amazing to watch them fly by and then take photos with them πŸ˜€ Haven’t been to that one, but I’ll add it on the list for my next visit.

    1. Yeah, the lemurs are all awesome πŸ˜€ The monkeys were cute too. And the goats. yeah, totally loved it there, give them a try if you are in the area πŸ˜€

  2. I’m from Omaha, NE: home of the #1 zoo in the US, so this took me back to my roots as it looks to have a lot of the same cool features. You are right, every time I go, it’s like being a kid again!

    1. Yes, and I totally love that aspect of it πŸ˜€ Haven’t been to Omaha yet, but if I go there, I’ll make sure the zoo is on my to-see list πŸ™‚

    1. Yup, more of them were carrying their babies, they were so cute! I’d love to see them again sometime soon.

  3. What an amazingly fun place for a picnic. I would love to spend an afternoon the the lemers and butterflies! I used to belong to the San Diego Wild Animal Park where they had a very successful breeding program and spent many afternoons enjoying the sites there.

    1. Yup, they are very cute and funny πŸ˜€ Probably why the handler had to remind everyone a few times they don’t work as pets πŸ˜€

  4. I love the idea of an interactive zoo – it seems so much more free and any visitor can get a better feel for the various species there.

    1. I am on the fence on this one. This zoo in particular helped a lot with owls (and those specific to the UK which are endangered). I think as long as the animals are kept in an environment that’s close to their actual one, then it’s great. Educationally speaking, it’s good for kids. The fact that they are discouraging people from trying to keep wild animals as pets is also helpful.

    1. Thanks so much, glad you liked the photos. It was an awesome day, because of the place and the company!

  5. AHHHH.
    This looks awesome! I love lemurs they are my favourite. so cute!

    Looks awesome! No idea when/if ever i will be back in the UK but i will definitely hit this up if i am and recommend it to my friends πŸ™‚

    1. I love them too! And the meerkats. I wanted to move in and join their family. Think it would have been nice to type at my keyboard with a bunch of meerkats looking at the screen over my shoulder πŸ˜€

  6. OMG! I am in love with the owl that you had so close to your shoulders! Were you allowed to touch it as well? They look so fluffy! πŸ™‚

    1. No, no touching. I don’t think that’s really advisable in general with wildlife. But I’d think even harder with a bird of prey πŸ˜€

  7. I’ve been to several zoos but I’ve never seen a lemur! I didn’t even know it’s a lemur until today. I learned something here. :))

    It’s great that you had fun, Alina!

    1. LOL, I found out they were lemurs in the Madagascar animations :))) I mean, who can forget King Julien?

  8. Awesome photo of the butterfly and its wings! How did you get so close without it flying away? I always scare off butterflies LOL. Great photos!

    1. It took a few tries πŸ˜€ The little menaces tended to close their wings when I pressed the button. I wasn’t extremely close, but I had my DSLR and I was about a meter or two away, I think. They were everywhere, and I was more scared of them bumping into me and hurting themselves πŸ˜€ But it never happened.

  9. Aw, so cute. And so many beautiful animals/butterflies. I do love getting amongst nature and wildlife so if definitely agree with this being a good day out. I’ll have to keep it in mind for my next journey south.

    1. It was amazing, mostly because parts of it were so immersive πŸ˜€ You should definitely try it out when you visit the area.

  10. I remember visiting Eagles Flying in Sligo Ireland as part of an Animal Care course I was doing. It’s a bird of prey sanctuary, it was amazing to see the owls and eagles. There were also snakes there which was amazing to see.

    1. I loved the birds of prey part of the zoo! And I liked that they were so involved in helping out with endangered owls!

  11. I’m from Colchester, Essex where we have Colchester Zoo- is this the same place or different? Your photos look lovely and I’d love to bring my two little nephews here to explore!!!

  12. One of the greatest reasons to visit a zoo while traveling is getting exposure to animals you likely don’t have back home. This zoo looks pretty cool. I like the different feels of the lush tropical paths and then the drier looking areas. I would’ve worried about hurting the birds or butterflies, too.

  13. What I especially love here is the interaction, and that you can capture that in pictures. It makes the experience not just one of going to the zoo but really learning something about the animals and getting close to them.

    1. Yup, and you can learn a lot from the people working at the zoo during their presentations. They make it fun but educational

  14. Looks like you had a great time in this zoo. I really like the idea to be that close to the animals instead of watching them behind a glass.

  15. The lemur looks so funny and cute lol. And I wonder how you took those photos of butterflies my god they’re so beautiful. Places like these are always a fun place to go for me.

  16. Its always awesome to spend a day amidst the nature overwhelmed by wild life. Your pictures are amazing and we get to see some of the rare animals. We would love to visit the petting zoo which have never visited yet πŸ™‚

    1. The goats were super cute πŸ˜€ But I was more interested in watching the meerkats than in going to pet them.

  17. Very beautiful pics, I didnt know that you can get so up close with the owls. I think its a good opportunity to get to know more about the animals.

    1. Only with the handler there. And you can’t actually touch them, which is the right thing for them.

  18. I love zoos! (As long as they are research-based) That barn owl is beautiful! And I can’t believe you got to see lemurs, I’ve always wanted to!

    1. Yup, the lemurs were super fun to watch. And no one knew I kept expecting them to dance around King Julian πŸ˜€

  19. What a neat zoo! I just checked and turns out it’s only about an hour from us. My kids would LOVE this! And my daughter is obsessed with owls, she would LOVE her photo taken with one! πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, that’s super close then! Well, if she loves owls, make sure you’re ready for the gift shop πŸ˜€ Tons of stuff with owls on them.

  20. What a cool discovery in Essex! I’ve got lots of family that way and so will definitely suggest a visit next time we are in the area. We live in the Cotswolds and not many people know that there is a private zoo – called Heythrop Zoological Gardens – which actually opens once a year to the public. It’s a really good day out if you’re ever in the area!

  21. Wow, this place is in Essex? How great is that! The pictures are amazing and I imagine visiting during the week with not too many tourists around this place really is an experience.

    1. Yup, it is πŸ™‚ It didn’t seem too crowded to me and it was a visit during the week (but it also was the first fully sunny day in a bit), but there were a few people around. You could mostly tell during the bird show and at the restaurant πŸ˜€

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