Hertfordshire Zoo has been named the winner of the Experience of the Year award at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024

The award recognises providers of memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in.

Set in 30 acres of countryside in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire Zoo, formerly known as Paradise Wildlife Park, is home to more than 800 amazing animals.

The zoo’s knowledgeable, passionate teams not only care for a large collection of critically endangered species, including the largest green anaconda on display in the UK, but also work to raise vital funds to support wildlife conservation projects in the UK and beyond.

The zoo is also the setting for the children’s BBC series One Zoo Three, which follows the grandsons of the founders as they adventure around the park promoting animal conservation and welfare to all ages.

Hertfordshire Zoo aims to educate people about prehistoric animals too with its World of Dinosaurs attraction, which features more than 40 life-size moving and roaring animatronic dinosaurs set in acres of natural woodland.

The judges took part in the Feed the Big Cat encounter on their visit to Hertfordshire Zoo, which they described as “an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience”.

They added that “it was a thrill and a privilege to feed these powerful predators under expert guidance” and noted that “the Park’s commitment to animal welfare, conservation and safety was evident throughout”.

They concluded by saying that the zoo’s “knowledgeable, engaging and friendly staff made the experience educational and unforgettable, instilling a deeper appreciation for these incredible animals and leaving memories to last a lifetime”.

Aaron Whitnall, director at Hertfordshire Zoo, said the team felt “incredibly proud” to win the award.

“We’ve got an amazing team led by an amazing husband and wife who run our large cat section, so if it wasn’t for them and the amazing work they do, training our team, and what they do with big cats, we wouldn’t win this.”

When asked what’s next for the zoo, Mr Whitnall said: “We’ve got some big plans! We’re celebrating our 40th year this year, but it’s our first year rebranded. At the moment we’re working on a very exciting master plan which will not just involve what we do in the county, but also what we do around the world.”

The other finalists in this category were Jimmy's Farm & Wildlife Park and Eastwood Whelpton Sailing Holidays.

The winners of the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024 were announced at Snape Maltings, Suffolk on Thursday, February 15. To find out about all of the winners, click here.

For more information about the awards, please visit tourismawards.co.uk