Dartmoor Zoo

When you have a toddler who squeals with excitement every time they see an animal (yes, even garden statues), then a day out at a zoo is always going to be popular. Even on an extraordinarily hot June day.

Dartmoor Zoo is a few miles East of Plymouth, but still within easy reach if you are in East Cornwall. Unlike Paignton and Newquay zoos it is set back into the countryside so make sure you know the directions well as it is not so easy to find.

Goats at Dartmoor Zoo

Looking toasty in that long fleece!

We were greeted on the walk up to the zoo from the car park by some very hot looking goats. Which was a great excuse to stop and catch our breath as pushing the pram up that steep path was making me feel rather hot too!

Capybaras at Dartmoor Zoo

Capybaras sensibly chilling by their pond.

I’m not kidding about it getting hot. By this point in the day it was getting up towards 30 degrees Celsius, which is a full ten degrees hotter than my comfort zone!

Unfortunately some of the animals were as keen to find shade and shelter as we were. Because they have fairly big and wild enclosures this made them hard to spot. On the other hand I’m pretty sure the big cats were having the time of their life thinking that finally they were getting some decent weather!

Jaguar at Dartmoor Zoo

Chincha the Jaguar posing for the camera.

We happened to get to the cheetahs just as they started feeding them. For anyone squeamish about carnivores the meat was tucked away in cardboard boxes that the cheetahs demolished in seconds.

Speaking of feeding, the tiger lay next to the fence so close to us, with his nose just at the toddlers eye height. The toddler was super excited about this, not realising that the tiger probably thought she was lunch.


Despite the weather it was a really good day out, and it was nice to see a zoo where the animals seemed to have a bit more space. However there were a lot of empty enclosures and it just isn’t as well laid out as Paignton or Newquay zoos. They are also missing a trick by tucking the shop behind the cafe as I escaped without having to buy yet another toy for the toddler. Actually that’s probably a good thing!

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