Last weekend me and my mum and dad went to visit Dudley Zoo and Castle, check out what we got up to during our visit.
Dudley Zoo and Castle is a very popular attraction for people within the West Midlands, and is a right of passage for most schoolkids in the area though it is actually an attraction we never visited when I was growing up so this was my first time visiting.
About Dudley Zoo
Dudley Zoo is a very old attraction, first being opened to the public in May 1937 by the then owner of the Castle, the third Earl of Dudley. The zoo was built to the Modernist style and many of the features built in 1937 continue to stand today, including the entrance from The Broadway, the café and the Sea Lion pool all having features from that period.
The zoo is set within 40 acres of a 200 acre wooded site around the 11th Century Dudley Castle. The zoo houses over 200 species including a number of endangered species.
When you arrive at the zoo you are pretty much at the bottom of the hill form the Castle with the majority of the walk being uphill from this point which is what we decided to do.
Please note if you do struggle with hills, there is a chairlift at the bottom which takes you straight up to Dudley Castle which culminated our visit but in future visits we would recommend starting at the top as though there are still some uphill slopes there aren’t as many as most of the walk is downhill.
A few months ago I did visit Colchester Zoo which is 20 extra acres sand this zoo does feel a lot more compact with many of the enclosures quite close together and there plenty of animals to see although when we went the vast majority seemed to be sleeping!
There are also various talks at different animal enclosures throughout the day – one we managed to catch was the tiger talk and I did learn some interesting facts about tigers which I didn’t know.
The two tigers Dudley Zoo have are Sumatran, a boy and a girl with the intention of them hopefully breeding in the zoo as they are critically endangered. One fact which did fascinate me is the orange and black stripe coat is actually for camouflage and works because many of the tigers prey, deer and so on are red-green colour blind so they can use these colours to keep hidden from their prey.
As well as the various talks there is a funfair near the entrance as well as face painting and a be a zookeeper experience day which will surely keep the kids entertained and help them burn off some excess energy.
Unfortunately down by the fun fair there is also the chimpanzees and camels which we missed as the route from the lemurs down to them was closed off for repairs when we visited and we just thought all that was down there was the funfair but we will be sure to go down there on our next visit.
Below are some photos of the animals we saw and all in all the walk around took about 4 hours, walking very slowly.
The Lemur Enclosure
One of our favourite parts of the zoo came halfway around in the lemur enclosure where you an actually walk in and around the lemurs. It is a great moment which is entertaining for all the family and being with the animals definitely makes it an enriching experience.
Here are a couple of photos from our time in the enclosure.
Here are some facts about the lemurs.
Black-tailed Lemurs (Eulemur cinereiceps):
Habitat: Black-tailed lemurs are native to the island of Madagascar, specifically found in the northwestern regions. They inhabit a variety of forest types, including dry deciduous forests and montane forests.
Appearance: These lemurs have a striking appearance with a mix of colors. Their bodies are covered in soft, gray fur, while their faces, ears, and distinctive bushy tails are black. Their eyes are bright yellow, which adds to their unique charm.
Social Structure: Black-tailed lemurs are highly social animals and live in groups, known as troops. Troops usually consist of several adult males and females along with their offspring. They communicate using various vocalizations and scent markings.
Diet: Their diet primarily consists of fruits, leaves, flowers, and occasionally insects. As frugivores, they play an essential role in seed dispersal, contributing to the health and diversity of their forest ecosystems.
Conservation Status: Black-tailed lemurs are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Deforestation, habitat loss, and hunting for bushmeat have led to population declines.
Ring-tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta):
Unique Tail: As their name suggests, ring-tailed lemurs are easily recognized by their long, ring-striped tails. These tails are longer than their bodies and serve various purposes, such as communication, balance while leaping, and forming “stink fights” during the mating season.
Diurnal and Arboreal: Ring-tailed lemurs are primarily active during the day (diurnal) and spend most of their time in trees (arboreal). They are skillful climbers and can cover considerable distances with their leaping abilities.
Sociable Animals: Similar to black-tailed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs also live in social groups, called troops. These troops can consist of up to 30 individuals and are matriarchal, with females leading and dominating the group.
Varied Diet: Ring-tailed lemurs are omnivores and have a diverse diet. While they primarily feed on fruits and leaves, they also consume flowers, nectar, tree bark, small vertebrates, and insects.
Distribution: Ring-tailed lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and are found in a range of habitats, including dry spiny forests and gallery forests. They are one of the most recognizable lemur species and are often featured in popular media.
Conservation Status: Ring-tailed lemurs are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to habitat destruction, illegal pet trade, and hunting. Their population continues to decline, highlighting the need for conservation efforts to protect these charismatic primates.
Both black-tailed lemurs and ring-tailed lemurs play crucial roles in their ecosystems, and efforts to conserve their habitats are essential to ensure their survival in the wild.
Once you reach the top of the hill you can enter Dudley Castle which is 11th Century and inside there are open-air historical demonstrations, ghost walks, children’s displays and birds of prey show.
When we got there there was a bungee jump attraction and it looks like a re-enactment was being setup though we did miss this.
You can also take a walk up the Castle Tower for a view of Dudley, though the steps are steep and also it is one way up and one way down so you may have slide past people on the winding staircase.
Other useful info
There are various places to eat around the Castle, with kiosks in quite a few places on the map, there is also The Oak Kitchen and Courtyard Café which are both near the top by the Castle and sell a range of food and drink and the Watering Hole which is near to the gift shop.
We did take our own food with us but we ordered a Hot Chocolate from the Oak Kitchen which was very nice and also was a good size for the price.
Parking at the time of writing is £3.50 for the whole day and is operated by token which you will need to exit the car park. Overall this is good value as you will definitely spend at least half a day to a full day exploring the Zoo.
Overall Dudley Zoo and Castle is a fab day out we would definitely recommend for the family during the summer holidays.