Hamerton Zoo Park
Address: Hamerton, Nr Sawtry, Cambs, PE28 5RE
When it comes to writing these pages, it is my intention to give the public as much information I can which is already in the public domain, whether it be from a zoos website or on google, about the zoo in question. This can include opening times, zoo maps, catering options and entry costs.
Unfortunately, my request to be able to display these details on this page so that members of the public could benefit from all this information being found in one place was declined. They advised me it was strictly forbidden to display their logo or information obtained via their website. This is of course their own prerogative, and reluctantly I have no option but not to provide this information. If at any point in the future, Hamerton Zoo Park decide to allow me to upload said information, I gladly will. For details on opening times, entry prices, animals held at the zoo, and other information, please use the Hamerton Zoo Website, which is linked at the top of the page.
Hamerton Zoo Ticket Notice
Before I pass on my thoughts and opinions about the zoo, I want to make people aware of one thing, I think is valuable to know. If you book a trip to Hamerton and for whatever reason, you are unable to make it, the zoo will NOT allow you to use your tickets on another day, and they are strictly for the date on the tickets only. I found this out, earlier in the year when I purchased two passes for a couple of people to enjoy a day at Hamerton, but due to personal circumstances, they were unable to attend on that day. I emailed the zoo, and thought they may allow me to transfer the date on the ticket, but sadly they quoted their terms and conditions, that purchased tickets are for that day only, and can't be moved to another date once purchased.
Whilst this is not ideal, and was a shade disappointing, you have to respect a business' terms and wishes, so I had to buy two more tickets for my friends on a day they could attend.
There is a £1 difference in price between E-Tickets and walk in prices, and for the sake of £1, you may be better off paying on arrival, than taking the chance of buying in advanace to save a pound, and something happening which means you wouldn't be able to visit and losing your money.
I just wanted to make all readers know of this policy, which is also displayed on the ticket page of the website, but is at the bottom of the page, and may not be easily seen.
The Zoo is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day & Boxing Day.
Hamerton Zoo Review
When you love zoos as much as I do, and are animal mad, I am not going to lie, Hamerton Zoo for me is one of the best days out I have. When you want to see the weird and the wonderful and see animals not held in many other collections in the UK or even in Europe, then Hamerton ticks a lot of boxes.
It is not a big collection, but it is a collection, I can comfortably spend a whole day at and 5pm, will often come way too soon.
The zoo is relatively flat, and open, although there are some indoor areas for if the weather is on the wet side. It is well pathed, animals are well signed and the exhibits are on the whole of a decent size, although some of the smaller, older exhibits at the start of the park are a little on the smaller side. These house White-Bearded Masked Palm Civet (Paguma Larvata Leucomystax), Collared Lemur (Eulemur Collaris) and Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur Catta), and lead you into the main park.
A house containing Marmosets and Tamarins follows after the toilets, before a number of avairies with mixed species of birds in, and in a couple of these you will find Long-Nosed Potoroo (Potorous Tridactylus), whilst along this section, there is a newly developed Tortoise house, and a paddock which now holds Kirks Dik-Dik (Madoqua Kirkii). As you come to the end of this section, you will see a new development for the Meerkats, which is due to be finished during 2023, as well as a Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga Tridactyla) exhibit, and an area that holds Southern Pudu (Pudu Puda).
The zoo has a Outback Aviary walkthrough which was closed at the time of my most recent visit, but I believe this has now re-opened after the lifting of Defra imposed "Avian Flu Restrictions". The highlight of this walkthrough has always been the Common Wombat (Vombatus Ursinus Hirsutus), one of only two zoos to hold them in Europe and hopefully with the walktrhough reportedly now open, I will be able to see them on my next visit.
As you move away from this area, the zoo opens up with larger aviaries containing storks, cranes and vultures, as well as Cassowary (Casuarius Casuarius Johnsonii), as well as a reptile house, which houses a few interesting Australian reptiles.
It is now in this area, where there is a large picnic area which is opposite a number of Cheetah (Acinonyx Jubatus Jubatus) exhibits and a large play area for children, which is open except when the ground is far too wet.
There is also construction work in this area for a new area for animals, which backs on to exhibits holding Ground Cus Cus (Phalanger Gymnotis Leucippus), Echidna (Tachyglossus Aculeatus Lawesii), and Cacomistle (Bassariscus Astutus). I have not seen a time frame for this area, but I often notice that there is always some building work going on at the zoo, which shows they are always looking forwards.
The cafe, which sells a number of hot and cold options and also has vending machines outside, has indoor and outdoor seating and is closely situated to the playground. I have always found the food adequate, and the choice has improved over time. In the cafe, there are a couple of vivariums, in which you will see lungfish (Neoceratodus Forsteri) and Australian Water Dragon (Intellagama Lesueurii). As you head away from the picnic area, the zoo works in a loop, which can be walked in either direction. I normally take the anti-clockwise route which passes, Corsac Fox (Vulpes Corsac), Serval (Leptailurus Serval), Dingo (Canis Lupus F. Dingo), Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon Brachyurus), White Tiger (Panthera Tigris), Malayan Tiger (Panthera Tigris Jacksoni), Syrian Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos Syriacus), Farmyard animals, Bacrtian Camels (Camelus Ferus F. Bactrianus), Tayra (Eira Barbara), Oncilla (Leopardus Tigrinus), Rusty Spotted Cat (Prionailurus Rubiginosus Phillipsi), Lynx (Lynx Canadensis), Binturong (Arctictis Binturong Binturong) & Asian Small-Clawed Otter (Aonyx Cinerea), before you are back at the play area/cafe.
Hamerton is a charming park, which realistically can be walked around in an hour or so, but given a number of the animals are the zoo are either nocturnal or crepuscular, I have found afternoon visits have been more fruitful when it comes to wanting to see some of the rarer and more unique animals that Hamerton has.
For me, the highlight of the collection, is the four species of Possum, that they hold and after many a trips of seeing no Possum's, one of the female keepers was very helpful in saying to me, that the Golden Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula Fuliginosus) who look very much like the Pokemon character Pikachu, are often cleaned and new food placed in the exhibit around 10.30-11am, and that usually when they've finished in the exhibit, the male comes out to eat the best stuff, before snoozing the day away again. This helpful advice led to me seeing the beautiful possum (pictured below) for the first time, and sadly I have had little luck since!
What I love so much about Hamerton, is the range of unique animals housed, and when you are a zoo enthusiast, it is these animals you love to see.
One of other animals I love to see is the Lesser Spot-Nosed Monkey (Cercopithecus Petaurista Petaurista), and also the Greater Grison (Galictis Vittata), who is another elusive animal at the collection.
Hamerton give excellent keeper talks on busier days, and these focus not just on the animals at the zoo, but those from places Hamerton work hard with in the field to support. The keeper will often have a donation box on them and it's clear from the zoo and the signage and the website, they support a number of conservation projects.
The Zoo also does themed days, and when I visited recently, it was World Bear Day, where 60 people got the chance to pay £20 to meet and feed the Syrian Brown Bear and help Hamerton raise money for conservation projects supporting this species. It was pleasing to see the zoo busy, and there was tradestands selling cakes and a tombola with prizes, which all went towards supporting these projects.
I was fortunate enough to take part in the Bear feed, getting to offer Honey Water to the Syrian Brown Bear as the video below shows.
Offering these small experiences, is very much appreciated by members and visitors alike, and I have wanted to do the main experiences offered by the zoo, but everytime I have emailed, they are sold out, so its clear the zoo is well supported in this department.
I would definitely advise a trip to Hamerton, it's a lovely zoo, with many cool animals and ones you wont see in many collections.
Keeper talks are excellent and informative and for someone who loves to photo animals like myself, the majority of the exhibits are inviting and allow you to photo the weird and the wonderful.
I also feel it is well priced to visit, and I always make good use of my annual pass, which is £54 a year, and means you only need to visit 4 times, to make it pay for itself.
Hamerton is one of my favourite zoos to visit in the UK, and I find it a shame, they aren't happy to allow me to pass details of the zoo, which are of customer interest, and will help when planning a visit, as I feel it is very much a UK hidden gem zoo.