We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“brilliant day out”

Dartmoor Zoological Park
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Sparkwell
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Small friendly wildlife park/zoo on edge of Dartmoor featured on BBC TV series and the home of Hollywood movie, We Bought A Zoo starring Matt Damon.
Bodmin, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“brilliant day out”
Reviewed November 2, 2013

We had a great day out, considering the weather was really bad.
The animals were in wonderful conditions, and the enclosures where really big.
We bought our own packed lunch, there where lots of nice places to sit and eat. The cafe looked
Nice and clean.
Very good value for money day out.
We travelled up from Cornwall and would definitely go again, and would recommend going.

Visited November 2013
Thank Lesley F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,004 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Looe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Big cat keeper for the day”
Reviewed October 29, 2013

Speechless. One of the best days ever
I purchased the experience for my daughters 30th birthday and it exceeded all our expectations . It was the day after a storm and all the keepers we're keep busy checking for damage and with lots of extra work to as the large carnivores had been locked in due to the high winds
Hannah and Laura our keepers for the day evolved us fully in the real job of a keeper, checking the fences , cleaning the enclosure, putting out the meat cleaning up the poo etc . Hannah and Laura were constantly looking at and checking the health and general well being of the animals and telling us what they were looking for. We were able to see the animals very close up with Hanna and Laura keeping a very close eye on us. All in all fantastic insight into large carnivores and the day to day job of a keeper at a modern zoological park . Many thanks to all involved in making this possible and if any one is considering the big cat keeper for day ---- just do it !!!!!!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank John E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St Helens, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Had a great day out at DZP”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

After im sure many others do we visited the park after enjoying the film We Bought a Zoo. For us travelling 280 miles to Plymouth we had high expectations for the day and we weren't disappointed. We really thought we where on set in certain parts of the park and it was great to see a small family run park with many passionate people supporting the operation of the park. We where impressed with the stock of animals they have and the fact that the volunteers who are plentiful throughout the park know a great deal of detail about the animals and told great stories about them.

It was at lunch though that our visit was made extra special as we met Ben, Milo and briefly Amelia, with Ben taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us and sign our "We Bought a Zoo" book.

Its not often you can read the book, see the film, go to the location and meet the real characters (human and animal) that make this day out truly worthwhile.

Understanding the story behind it makes this a day out to remember, which our children loved.
Well done to all at DZP and thankyou Ben and family for making our trip one to remember.

Visited October 2013
3 Thank Jackostorm12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
69 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A true family zoo, wonderful.”
Reviewed October 22, 2013 via mobile

So don't go there expecting Paignton Zoo, Longleat, Marwell, London Zoo... This is not what this place is about. It is (in our opinion) the best zoo in the country. Run by Ben and his family, this place is run on a shoestring, the enclosures are old, the setting is lovely, the keepers are superb and they care passionately about the animals and the park.

It has more character than any other zoo we know. It is the best zoo I know of for viewing tigers (there's nothing between you and them... no glass, no mesh fence, no obstructions, just a large moat and wall).

We did the Tiger Experience today... literally up close to the tigers (within 6 inches... so wanted to touch...). To spend half a day with the head keeper (Mike, great job sir...) was terrific, to get the background behind the animals and the park was fascinating.

For those reviewers who criticise this place, sorry but you don't get it. It's not posh and pretentious, it's not pretending to be something it isn't. If you want lots of animals and lots of people and screaming kids, go to Paignton Zoo (...don't get me wrong that's great as well...), if you want character and well looked after animals with passionate staff, come here. If you don't understand why the cheetah looks a little scruffy, ask the staff, don't just write uneducated critical reviews on Trip Advisor...

The Hollywood film doesn't do it justice, just go see for yourselves.

Visited October 2013
3 Thank IJCooper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Vlad, Blotch, Stripe and DZP you Rock!!”
Reviewed October 13, 2013

Took my husband for his 65th birdthday surprise, well what do you buy for the low maintnenance man who never makes demands and enjoys a bit of fun with a sense of adventure thrown in!! We had read the book (skipped the film) and had never been to Plymouth (though we could have chosen any number of zoos in different locations) - so what better way to enjoy a special birthday......I had bought a "Meet the Tigers" experience (took my daughter and her boyfriend too). We arrived at 11 and met Laura the Senior Volunteer who gave us the guided tour, I realised this really is the best way to see the zoo (any zoo for that matter)- she gave us lots of information and obviously knew her way around. We all loved the way the zoo was spread through what appeared to be a natural wood, no contrete jungle here which of course is great for the animals. There was a good selection of animals from loveable meerkats and their babies to the exotic tigers/jaguar, lynx etc. We loved the ones we had never come across before,and enjoyed the big, tall, small, noisy and shy ones which made our day so much more enjoyable. We had lunch in the restaurant and my husband was presented with his certificate. A good day out - if you are looking for a cold and impersonal zoo then maybe you should try a different one. If you want easy going, laid back and a walk through the woods to find the next animal then DZP is a good day and as zoos go - a cheap day out. You can take a picnic - there are plenty of picnic tables and the restaurant is made for ease, no frills, a little like a school canteen but equally it is expecting "small people" visitors and therefore no standing on ceremony. A great day, well kept animals and pleasant staff. Please support these hard working people - the animals are in the zoo (whether or not you agree with it) the animals need to be looked after and DZP is doing its very best. The disabled toilet was being upgraded whilst we were there - I can only imagine the zoo is a "Forth Bridge"......always a work in progress and surely this is a good thing,

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Janet D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Dartmoor Zoological Park also viewed

North Bovey, Dartmoor National Park

Been to Dartmoor Zoological Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing