Brent Lodge Animal Centre, often called the Bunny Park, is tucked away in Brent River Park, Hanwell. Home to more than 40 species of animals, birds and insects, it is west London’s only official, free zoo. Have you been recently?
The animal centre has more creatures than ever, ranging from rare red crowned cranes and an amusing gaggle of meerkats to a colourful collection of chickens and a pair of roaming peacocks.
You can also enjoy the tranquil butterfly house – watching them feed, fly freely and even land on you if you stand still long enough. The tropical rainforest walkthrough, meanwhile, brings you closer to the snakes, bearded dragons and poison dart frogs.
They are joined by sulcata tortoises and Pashto, the leopard gecko.
There is a park gift shop for visitors to buy small pocket-money toys and make donations to the animals’ upkeep and conservation in the park.
Five furry friends
The mob of meerkats lives with a pair of porcupines in a specially-made enclosure that you can enter with a zookeeper. For £35 per person, or £60 for two, you can go behind the scenes and get up close to meet them in their own environment while the zookeeper gives you the lowdown on these friendly critters. You can even ‘adopt’ one – which you might find hard to resist after the playful gang get to know you.
Party in the park
Planning a children’s party can be stressful – why not let the animal centre team take care of all the planning and host your child’s birthday party this summer? Birthday parties at the centre last two hours and will provide the children with an opportunity to spend time with the animals and hopefully learn a little something along the way from an experienced zookepper who will act as their chaperone.
All the money raised goes towards future projects and maintenance at the animal centre.