The Dear Zoo experience at ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo has been enchanting and educating young and old alike for 170 years. The world’s oldest scientific zoo, it has given to the English language the word ‘jumbo’, meaning extra-large, after the name of the huge elephant transferred there in 1865; the Winnie-the-Pooh stories were inspired by the zoo’s bear beloved of AA Milne’s young son, Christopher Robin; and a resident of the Reptile House had a starring role in Harry Potter.

This month, young visitors are promised a special treat: Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell’s classic children’s book, is brought to life in a brand new family experience (1-17 Apr). For the past 35 years Dear Zoo has been loved by generations of young kids not just for its cheerful illustrations but also for its engaging interactivity, with readers encouraged to lift the flaps in search of their perfect pet. Now children can recreate that experience on an adventure trail through the zoo, discovering the animals behind the story.

Penny Hamilton, head of marketing at ZSL London Zoo, says: ‘Rod Campbell’s tale of a child who writes to the zoo to send them a pet has enchanted children for more than three decades – now everyone can be part of the story.’

As befits the book, this will be a hands-on experience: children can collect stamps across the zoo and participate in exciting activities at eachstop, including reading sessions in a specially created storytelling hub. To get you in the mood, you’ll find a lion mask, colouring-in sheets and join-the-dot animal pictures online. 

ZSL London Zoo brings you closer to wildlife from all around the world. From Land of the Lions, an adventure through the village of Sasan Gir in India, where lions live alongside humans in a peaceful coexistence, to Penguin Beach where the Humboldt penguins delight visitors in England’s largest penguin pool. Combine this with the trail, and you’ll find out why they put the ‘oo!’ in ‘zoo’.

Save 10% by booking tickets online. Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. T: 0344-225 1826.

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