Sealife Adventure (< 1 mile)
Southend on Sea
From sharks to seahorses, starfish to stingrays, it’s all here in a family friendly environment with fascinating talks and presentations by their knowledgeable aquarists throughout the day.
Belfairs Nature Reserve and Woodland (3 miles)
Leigh on Sea
Belfairs Nature Reserve and Woodland
Get away from it all at this nature reserve and woodland centre and enjoy the wildlife and scenery. Lots of plants and animals to see, plus exhibits and displays in the woodland centre.
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife (9 miles)
Tropical Wings World of Wildlife
All weather fun for the whole family, it is set within acres of attractive gardens and features one of the finest tropical butterfly houses in the UK. Throughout the day the Zoo offers a programme of animal encounters, animal feeds and fun activities, plus Monkey Run for older children and Meerkat Lookout for...
Wildwood (23 miles)
Wildwood is a great day out where you can see amazing British wildlife including wolves, foxes, deer, badgers, owls, wild horses, lynx, beavers, wild cats, bison, squirrels, wild boar and many more. Plus, kids can go wild in our amazing adventure play park featuring Kentâs tallest vertical drop slide.
Colchester Zoo (23 miles)
One of the finest zoos in Europe with over 250 species of animals set in 60 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes. Includes the unique chance to help feed the elephants and giraffes yourself, plus the new Bears of the Rising Sun exhibit for 2014.
Eagle Heights (25 miles)
A small animal park based in the beautiful Darent Valley, near Brands Hatch in Kent. There are over 100 Birds of Prey to see, plus Reptile House, Meerkats, Otters, Goats, Donkey, Pony, Pigs and much more. Playarea, Gift Shop and Tearoom. Free Parking. Experience Days available.
Seaquarium at Clacton Pier (26 miles)
Clacton on Sea
Seaquarium at Clacton Pier
An informative, educational, fun learning opportunity to appreciate from an up close perspective some of the intriguing creatures surrounding our coastal areas.
Howletts Wild Animal Park (27 miles)
Howletts Wild Animal Park
The famous animal collection is set in 90 acres of ancient parkland. From close encounters with tigers at the glass-fronted enclosures to a high ropes adventure on the Treetop Challenge and a walkthrough Lemur paddock, you'll find surprises around every corner.
Wingham Wildlife Park (29 miles)
Wingham Wildlife Park
Butterfly house, refurbished reptile house, oodles of monkeys, parrot house, meerkats, new adventure play area and picnic area, lots more. A full day!
Rare Species Conservation Centre (33 miles)
Rare Species Conservation Centre
A great chance to see and learn about the captive breeding and conservation of lesser known rare species of animal from around the world.
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park (34 miles)
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
A safari adventure set in 100 acres where animals roam free together as if on the plains of Africa: plus the world’s largest gorilla enclosure and big creepy crawlies in the Discovery Zone.
Beaver Water World (35 miles)
Beaver Water World
An animal rescue centre charity with loads to see and learn about. Quiz sheets available for the kids, plus tours and handling. Reasonably priced and open daily except for Christmas Day.
Sea Life London Aquarium (36 miles)
Sea Life London Aquarium
Home to one of Europe's largest collections of global marine life and the jewel in the crown of the 28 Sea Life attractions in the UK and Europe. Situated in the heart of London, the experience takes visitors on an immersive and interactive journey along the Great Oceanic Conveyor. Newest feature is the...
Paradise Wildlife Park (36 miles)
Paradise Wildlife Park
The most interactive zoo in Britain with over 400 animals, the best collection of big cats in the UK, penguins, crocodiles, gibbons, wolves, anacondas, meerkats and more! Also, a large indoor soft-play area, 3 adventure playgrounds, Dinosaur Woodland Railway, Crazy Golf, Paradise Lagoon paddling pool and the...
Groombridge Enchanted Forest (37 miles)
Groombridge Enchanted Forest
There are exciting playgrounds, stunning views, unusual animals, fun activities, quiet seats, beautiful flowers, hugh swings, strange plants and shy deer - and a zedonk?!
London Zoo (37 miles)
Over 720 species including some of the world’s most impressive and inspiring animals. Enjoy interactive, immersive exhibits the family can explore together including Rainforest Life, Gorilla Kingdom featuring their newest addition Kumbuka the silverback, and the popular Animal Adventure Children's...
Battersea Park Childrens Zoo (38 miles)
Battersea Park Childrens Zoo
invites you to check on the monkeys, crawl down the tunnel to see the meerkats, talk to the parrots and mynah birds, on to the farm to say hello to the goats, donkeys, pigs, emus etc. Playground which includes climbing frames,large sandpit with water toys, swings and roundabouts etc.
The British Wildlife Centre (42 miles)
The British Wildlife Centre
A peaceful, relaxing place to see and learn about Britain's wonderful wildlife, from tiny harvest mice to magnificent red deer and everything in between! Over forty different native species are displayed in natural surroundings.
Linton Zoo (43 miles)
There is a wealth of rare and exotic creatures to see including Grevy's Zebra, Snow Leopards, Tigers, Lions, Tapirs, Lemurs, Binturongs, Owls, Parrots, Giant Tortoises, Tarantula Spiders and many others.
Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings (48 miles)
Blue Reef Aquarium Hastings
Take the ultimate undersea safari at Blue Reef Aquarium. Enjoy close encounters with seahorses, native sharks, giant octopus and hundreds of other amazing aquatic creatures. Don't miss the amazing tropical underwater walkthrough tunnel! Informative, entertaining talks and feeding displays throughout the...
Butterfly World (48 miles)
- is a fun and educational place to see hundreds of Tropical Butterflies, watch colonies of leafcutter ants walk across ropes, hold creepy crawlies, and let off steam in the natural play area. Educational, environmental and great fun! Enjoy a full programme of school holiday activities.
Havergate Island (48 miles)
A haven for large numbers of ducks and wading birds, also a great place to see brown hares at close range. Access is by boat only and pre-booking is essential.
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary (49 miles)
Suffolk Owl Sanctuary
Meet some owls, meerkats and enjoy other wildlife. Over 80 raptors to see, some flying in display. Woodland walk with bird hide, Raptor hospital and Sensory Garden. Experience days and parties available.
Shepreth Wildlife Park (49 miles)
Shepreth Wildlife Park
See animals of all kinds, from tigers to creepy crawlies. Get hands on in our Discovery Centre. There are two indoor soft play areas and a cafeteria, as well as an outdoor adventure play with pirate ship and fort. Keeper talks run throughout the day.
Drusillas Park (55 miles)
Widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country - with brilliant play areas, Thomas the Tank Engine and close encounters in Lemurland and Lory Landing. Hello Kitty Secret Garden also offers the UKs first themed Hello Kitty attraction with 3 theme park rides, a Hello Kitty bedroom and a beauty parlour.
Huxleys Birds of Prey Centre (55 miles)
Huxleys Birds of Prey Centre
A wide range of birds from hawks to eagles, falcons to owls, and vultures to kites! Plus a gorgeous Japanese Water Garden. Note limited opening times.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (58 miles)
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
There’re loads of reasons to be wild about ZSL Whipsnade. Home to more than 2500 species, a visit can get you close to some of the world’s hairiest, scariest, tallest and smallest animals. Set on 600 acres, in the rolling Chiltern Hills, there’s epic adventure awaiting you at ZSL Whipsnade...
Surrey Hills Llamas (59 miles)
Surrey Hills Llamas
Gentle and friendly llamas will carry your picnic as you lead them through the spectacular North Downs. Llamas are affectionate, intelligent and alert and kids really enjoy their company. For over 8s.
Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park (8 miles)
South Woodham Ferrers
Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park
Meet all your farmyard friends, Tractor and Trailer Rides, Indoor and Outdoor Play, Animal Interactions, Pesky Pet Show, Birds of Prey, Pet Barn, Milking Demonstrations and much more!
Barleylands Farm Park (12 miles)
Barleylands Farm Park
Get ready for all weather free range family fun. Say hello to cuddly farmyard friends, join in animal activities, meet birds of prey, run wild in the indoor play or jump aboard the tractor and trailer ride or miniature railway.
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary (19 miles)
Hopefield Animal Sanctuary
is a child friendly sanctuary provides a safe haven to animals that need it. They include horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, chinchillas and Max the bull, who loves nothing more than being tickled between his horns!
Clacton Zoo (25 miles)
Clacton on Sea
- a children's petting zoo with animals you can feed, stroke and interact with. We have many different friendly animals that the children can learn about including alpacas, goats, micro pigs and various birds. 80 metres from Clacton sea front and 200 metres from Clacton pier.
Boydells Dairy Farm (29 miles)
Boydells Dairy Farm
Provides a fun-packed and educational visit for children and adults alike. Try your hand at milking a cow or sheep, feeding hens, riding a donkey cart or outstaring a llama!
Lee Valley Park Farms (33 miles)
Lee Valley Park Farms
If you want to get the kids out of the house and are looking for something that is fun, interesting and educational, Lee Valley has all of this and more! With lots of different farm animals to meet and others you wouldn't expect to meet: charming meerkats, cheeky marmosets, reptiles and llamas!
Central Museum (< 1 mile)
Southend on Sea
Houses the collections of local and natural history and archaeology, and tells the story of Southend’s growth as a major seaside destination.
Southend Pier Museum (< 1 mile)
Southend On Sea
Southend Pier Museum
boasts an exciting range of vintage train and tram carriages plus pictorial memorabilia, penny slot machines and period costumes.
Castle Point Transport Museum (4 miles)
Castle Point Transport Museum
Home to over thirty old and rare buses and coaches alongside vintage commercials, military and emergency vehicles. Great for kids into all things 'vroom'!
Battlesbridge Antiques Centre (8 miles)
Battlesbridge Antiques Centre
Over 80 dealers housed in a variety of old buildings and courtyards, and a vintage motorcycle museum. Great for quieter kids who'll just love all the mysterious stuff!
The Cater Museum (14 miles)
The Cater Museum
A series of accurately set up Victorian rooms which is great to help kids studying the period visualise it better. They also host displays on local history and have a World War II exhibition room and Victorian garden.
Chelmsford Museum (17 miles)
Set in a park with an adventure play area, the museum offers a nice variety of exhibits, from a fine collection of fossils, a living beehive and British wildlife galleries, to the history of the Essex Regiment and the Essex Yeomanry.
Essex Police Museum (17 miles)
Essex Police Museum
Find out about the police and what they do in this fab little museum that is free to visit. Get your fingerprints taken and check out the recreation of a police cell.
Thurrock Museum (17 miles)
Learn about 250,000 years of Thurrock's past through their fascinating displays and extensive ranges of locally discovered artefacts.
Essex Fire Museum (17 miles)
Essex Fire Museum
A fascinating look into the history of Essex Fire Service with historic engines, uniforms, equipment and photos. Try on different helmets, have a go on the water hose and if you are lucky, climb aboard an engine!
Natural History Museum Colchester (26 miles)
Natural History Museum Colchester
Find out about wildlife habitats and climate change in a family friendly environment full of hands on activities, all of which are free! Best bits: crawling through a super sized badger sett and using their microscope!
Hollytrees Museum (26 miles)
Examine 200 years of clocks, study a dolls house replicating the house you're standing in, interact with the hands on exhibits like period dress up and see if you can spot a live costumed character to talk to!
Colchester Castle Museum (26 miles)
Colchester Castle Museum
Lots of hands on exhibits of appeal to children and adults alike. Displays on castle prisons, medieval and Norman Colchester, lots going on.
North Weald Airfield and Museum (27 miles)
North Weald Airfield and Museum
Still a very active airfield and on most summer weekends visitors can see some of the veteran and classic aircraft based on the airfield in action. The museum focuses on local service personnel and civilian histories.
The Museum of Harlow (30 miles)
The Museum of Harlow
Four galleries focusing on local history within major time frames, plus temporary exhibit gallery. Time Detectives kids' history and archaeology workshops at weekends, plus a walled garden to explore with picnic area.
The House on the Hill Toy Museum (33 miles)
The House on the Hill Toy Museum
This is the largest privately owned toy museum in Europe with over 80,000 individual items
of mixed antiquity toys on display. Plus Palaeontology House and Haunted Manor for older types!
Saffron Walden Museum (39 miles)
Saffron Walden Museum
We are a family friendly museum where you can have fun exploring ancient history, natural history, local history and world cultures. We have an archaeological sandpit, where you can come and excavate, animals to stroke, microscopes to peep through, fossils, quizzes and much, much more.
Thanks for all the great things to do and Zoos and Wildlife Parks near Southend with kids you keep sending in.
Now we have the easter and summer holidays fast approaching, we're trying to find the best days out and as many fun things to do with kids as possible, especially cheap and free family friendly places to visit this year - theme parks, waterparks and swimming pools, museums, indoor playcentres and softplay for toddlers, petting farms, wildlife parks and zoos, aquariums, horse riding, castles, steam railways, pottery making and ceramic cafes, roller and ice skating rinks, karting tracks, snowdomes, dry and indoor ski slopes, climbing walls, activity centres, outdoor play at the best local parks, ten pin bowling alleys and all the other best family tourist attractions, that you can visit at the weekend.
Also teachers may find the site useful for ideas for the best places to take their classes on school journeys with many historical and educational atractions listed
So, if you've been for great days out with the kids, or a school trip, which isn't shown above, just send in an email and we'll add it on so people visiting on holidays and all the other children in Essex can enjoy the great day out as well.
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