Hamerton Zoo Park

HAMERTON Zoological Park in Cambridgeshire is a wildlife park with more than 100 species including tigers, cheetahs, wolves, lemurs, marmosets, meerkats, wallabies and a unique bird collection with rare and exotic species from around the world.

There are also gibbons, sloths, wildcats and an adventure playground and its many facilities include a gift and coffee shop, covered picnic area and children's zoo. Keeper talks and animal contact/handling sessions are also held during the main season.

It's been a busy year at Hamerton with many new arrivals, from stork chicks and silvery marmosets to black and white ruffed lemur babies. Further additions are expected during the rest of the summer.

Visitors can get up close and personal with their favourite animals at Hamerton. Private one-on-one appointments can be booked in advance with keepers to meet with and perhaps even touch some of the residents, including cheetahs, tigers, lemurs and reptiles. You can even cuddle a ten-foot boa constrictor!

Anyone taking part in any of these has to be 18 years or over, with the exception of reptiles. The zoo allows children to do this with adult supervision and of course a much smaller snake and other creepy crawlies. A Stroll-a-Safari scheme also allows youngsters access to a family of pygmy goats, which they can also feed.

There's more than just seeing the collection of animals at Hamerton. The park recently built two completely new play areas, one for babies and toddlers and the other for older children, that it is very proud of. The zoo's new and unique system of walkways has also been expanded this season and will eventually serve the whole park..

The new covered picnic areas and gardens give families a great area to relax and enjoy the snacks and drinks served by its coffee shop. The gift shop sells everything from pencils to pictures. There's loads to choose from including a great range of plush animals to take home.

Hamerton Zoo Park is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 10.30am-6pm in the summer and 10.30am-4pm in the winter. Times change with the clocks and admission charges are: Adults - 7.50, Children (aged three to 12) - 5.00, Senior Citizens - 6.50

Hamerton is just 20 minutes from Peterborough, Oundle, Thrapston or Huntingdon. Follow the brown and white signs from the A1 at Sawtry (Junction 15) or from the A14 (B660 Junction). Further details on 01832 293362.