London Zoo recently opened its brand new lion enclosure to the public, Land of the Lions. It’s taken over a year to build and covers over 2,500sqm of land. It’s big!
The old lion enclosure, from what I remember wasn’t the biggest and also included enclosures for other big cats. Now it feels like all the enclosures have been turned into one giving the three females and one male plenty of room to roam. As you enter the enclosure, you are transported to the Indian region of Gir Forest Nation Park in east India, the only location where you can find Asiatic lions in the wild.
The set dressing is fantastic and you really do feel like you are wandering around a piece of India. You start to walk up a rickety looking ramp, past the Hanuman langurs and up into the national forest proper, looking down onto the lions’ enclosure.
There are lots of nooks and crannies through the walls containing offerings and little windows to the view below.
Walk down and around and you come across an old temple, now ruled by the lions.
Then you come to a local town and you can explore a house, barbers, market, train station (where the zoo’s mongoose live in the station manager’s office). There is so much detail in here, so much to see and facts about the animals kept here cleverly displayed on shop signs and adverts.
There are even bikes to ride and tuk tuks to sit in.
And how were the lions themselves? They seemed happy enough, lying in the sun. It’s not the same as being in the wild, but for zoo animals they do seem to have a huge amount of space to roam.
And my little lions had the best time here. We spent so much time exploring and playing we were in this area for a good couple of hours! Quite impressive for just one part of the zoo. It’s so big that even with the big crowds London Zoo receives, it never feels crazy busy as everyone can spread out. It’s an immersive and educational area that never feels gimmicky and pretty much a perfect enclosure.