Norfolk zoos

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

A photographic visit to Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth – a progressive zoo making a contribution towards the preservation of species. Animals include, amongst others, tigers, snow leopard, red pandas, meerkats, panther, primates, birds & reptiles

We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo*

Sorry, couldn’t resist that! For my latest day out with my camera, I found myself with a friend and other photographers at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth. It was the first time I’d been to a zoo in many years and to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy it or not. Well, in a nutshell, I did!  Below is a gallery of photos of my day.  Click on any of the images to open up a lightbox where you can see a bigger picture and click on the arrows to navigate from one to the other (or swipe on a touch screen device).  The story continues below the photos.

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The layout felt quite spacious both for the animals and the humans and the atmosphere of the place felt quite relaxed too. I’m not sure how it compares size-wise to other zoos, not having had recent experience of any but it was a nice size for me. I went round it twice over the course of an afternoon but I know I didn’t see everything. I half expected it to be mainly children (memories of my own school trips no doubt!) but this actually wasn’t the case – it was very mixed.

The first animals I saw were the tigers which, on arrival, seemed quite docile and sleepy. I saw them later in the day at feeding time which was a very different experience! Just before they got fed, it was obvious they were either hungry or knew food was coming as they were pacing and prowling round. You could feel the tension as they waited. I got a spot right next to where they were fed. I was only a few feet away from them and as they walked past and growled, you really got the sense of the sheer size and strength of the animal. I felt the vibration of the growls through my stomach as though it had made the ground shake (or was that just fear!?).

Once they’d had their main feed, the zoo lady fed them a few morsels by hand and the tiger jumped up against the fence with its giant paws. I tried to take a photo but sadly failed as the size, weight & proximity of the animal actually made me jump out of my skin!

I also saw red pandas which were very cute, lolloping like big teddy bears around their enclosure, climbing trees and later on feeding on foliage. There was just a low wall around their enclosure and no high fence so I felt quite close to the animal. They move surprisingly quick though, so i didn’t manage to snap them until they stopped to eat.

The snow leopards had just had cubs and I understand that this was significant as the snow leopard has become extremely rare. Apparently the female was left to choose her own den/home for her cubs and luckily for us it was at the front of the enclosure so we were able to see the mother with her cubs.

The black panther just looked really menacing. Look at my photo – you can’t deny it!

The meerkats were wonderful, distinguished-looking, fluffy and a bit comical.

The cockatoo made its presence very much felt with a great deal of noise. At the end of the day I decided to take a photo of the bird that had made so much noise. I put my camera bag on the ground in front of the cage and tried to take a photo but it kept moving so it was difficult. I eventually realised that it was actually playing peekaboo with me! Hiding behind my camera bag when I put my camera to my eye and poking its face out when I put my camera down. I enjoyed the game for a few minutes but eventually got my shot!

I had a great day and really enjoyed taking my photos. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

If you would like to visit Thrigby, check out their website for opening hours, prices etc. At the time of writing, there is even a discount coupon on the prices page! The website is at :

I attended as part of an organised trip called a “Wex Walkabout” – arranged by Wex Photographic. On the day we had the benefit of the advice of Victoria Hillman, a wildlife biologist & photographer, whose website you can find here:

  • Song Lyrics by Tom Paxton