5 Attractions in Devon for animal lovers

Devon is blessed with a natural abundance of wildlife, which is testament to its varying scenery and climates. The high moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor are prone to cloud snaps while the milder coastal grasslands rarely freeze over. Devon’s sea life is equally as diverse with the coastlines of the choppy Atlantic to the north and the calmer English Channel to the south.

All in all there are plenty of animal attractions in Devon, however on a sunny day with the kids in tow the chances of spotting a Buzzard or Bullfinch from a coop are slim. To help you fulfill your families animal fixation we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite animal attractions in Devon.


Hamadryas-baboons-at-Paignton-ZooPaignton Zoo

Pin Colour: Green

Address: Totnes Rd, Paignton, Devon TQ4 7EU (33.8 miles)

Paignton Zoo opened in 1923 and was one of the first combined zoological and botanical gardens in Britain. The zoo is home to over 2,000 creatures from 300 species and acts as a breeding and conservation center for endangered animals and plants.

The park has 6 animal habitats that include tropics, savannah, desert, forest and wetlands and houses animals that include Cuban Crocodiles, Hamadryas Baboons (pictured), Lions and Cheetah.

If you find yourself captivated by the wildlife you can even sponsor individual animals, the proceeds of which to go towards its veterinary care and food – Paignton Zoo’s weekly shopping list includes 800 lettuces!


Marmoset Monkeys at CrealyCrealy Family Theme Park

Pin Colour: Red

Location: Sidmouth Rd, Exeter, Devon EX5 1DR (9.8 miles)

When Crealy first opened in 1989 it aimed to recreate a country childhood and has since expanded to include over 60 rides, however the animal park remains a key attraction. Animal lovers can pet guinea pigs, feed goats and visit the Meerkat Manor. Our personal favourites are the small Marmoset Monkeys (pictured) which live within the animal kingdom, be sure to pay them a visit .

Crealy is set in 100 acres of glorious Devon countryside and is only a 20-minute drive from Ladram Bay. For more information about the animal kingdom please visit Crealy’s website.


2-donkeys-at-the-Donkey-SanctuaryThe Donkey Sanctuary

Pin Colour: Brown

Location: Slade House Farm, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 0NU (8.6 miles)

The Donkey Sanctuary is the legacy of Dr Elizabeth Svenden MBE and since it’s founding in 1969 has provided care for donkeys and mules that now spans across the world. The site in Sidmouth is set within a beautiful country house with 8 acres of grounds however guests are asked not to feed the animals as they fall into bad habits and expect food from everyone.

Admission is free (with donations welcome) and the site is dog and bike friendly making it an ideal animal attraction for families.


Sheep Racing at the Big SheepThe Big Sheep

Pin Colour: Yellow

Location: Abbotsham, Bideford, Devon EX39 5AP, United Kingdom (70 miles)

If you are looking for a day out in Devon the Big Sheep will excite all members of the family with animal entertainment which includes live sheep shows. The shows introduce various breeds of sheep from around the world and include sheep shearing and duck trials. Children (and parents) are welcome to participate by helping the showman and his dog round up the ducks and guide them through the gate. To brush up on your Sheepdog terminology visit the link – Come-Bye!

We would highly recommend watching the summer season daily sheep racing which see’s 6 sheep and jockeys compete over a 250 yard course overcoming obstacles that include Shepherd’s Brook, Bo-Peep’s Bend and the infamous Ewe Turn in the quest for victory.


exmoor-zoo-cheetahExmoor Zoo

Pin Colour: Purple

Location: Barnstaple, Bratton Fleming EX31 4SG (60 miles)

Exmoor Zoo originally opened as a bird farm but over the past 30+ years has grown in size and shifted its focus to larger animals that now include over 200 species of animals, birds and reptiles.

In May 2015 puma triplets were born at Exmoor Zoo, be sure not to miss them while they are still cubs. For information about ticket prices please visit the Exmoor Zoo website.


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