Liverpool Attractions for Children
(Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK)
A city well-placed for day trips, Liverpool is close to a number of quality family attractions, suiting those who are prepared for a short drive or bus journey. Surprisingly nearby is Chester Zoo, which lies roughly 24 miles / 39 km to the south-east and by car can be reached in approximately 35 minutes.
One of the largest zoological gardens in Europe and always extremely popular with children, Chester Zoo dates back to 1931 and covers approximately 110 acres / 45 hectares, welcoming close to 1.5 million visitors every single year. For a similar experience, consider a day out enjoying the attractions at the Knowsley Safari Park, which is considerably closer to Liverpool, being just under 9 miles / 14 km away and to the east. Further options include the Model Railway Village and the New Pleasureland at Southport, the Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port, and the Martin Mere Wetland Centre at the small hamlet of Tarlscough.
Address: Caughall Road, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 1LH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1244 380280
Managed by the North of England Zoological Society, Chester Zoo is a huge attraction for holidaying families based in Liverpool. With landscaped gardens, more than 9,000 animals from all over the world, such as lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys, penguins, and many more besides, Chester Zoo is also home to a gift shop, a picnic area, a restaurant and a monorail train. When the zoological gardens were initially designed, an extremely modern concept was implemented, where instead of being kept in cages and behind iron bars, animals were simply separated from the public by a series of walls, ditches and moats. The chimpanzee islands remain a centrepiece today, although when the chimps first arrived in the 1950s, the keepers were unsure whether or not they would be able to swim. Thankfully they did not swim the short distance to land and have remained a crowd-pleaser ever since their introduction.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors
Model Railway Village
Address: Kings Gardens, Lower Promenade, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1RB, England
Tel: +44 (0)1704 214266
The impressive Model Railway Village can be found in the seaside town of Southport, just over 20 miles / 32 km to the north of Liverpool, where it is full of an enormous number of miniature railways. Complete with scale models of train stations, villages, miniature gardens, houses and tunnels, the Model Railway Village was established in 1997 and is popular with all ages. Further attractions include a playground area for children and a café, while the adjacent Kings Gardens and nearby beaches will also no doubt appeal on a sunny day.
Open hours: daily - 11:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children
Address: Marine Drive, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1RX, England
Tel: +44 (0)1704 532717
The lively Pleasureland at Southport began its life in 1912 and was later operated by the Blackpool Pleasure Beach company, before it suddenly closed in 2006 due to reduced visitor numbers. In 2007, the park was thrown a lifeline by a company named Dreamstorm International, who chose to redevelop the site as a leading family attraction. The summer of 2007 saw the renamed New Pleasureland reopen for the peak holiday season with basic fairground rides. In 2008, the Urban Splash company took over the site and quickly added a swinging pirate ship and a themed Indiana Jones rollercoaster. Further additions have followed, including the reopening of the historic Wildcat rollercoaster. Next door you will find Battlefield Live Southport, an outdoor combat zone located on the site of the town's former zoo.
Open hours: daily - 11:00 to 21:00
Admission: free; charge for rides
Martin Mere Wetland Centre (WWT Martin Mere)
Address: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Tarlscough, Burscough, Lancashire, L40 0TA, England
Tel: +44 (0)1704 895181
Martin Mere can be found near the village of Burscough and this vast marshland is called home by a large number of wildfowl, such as ducks, geese and swans. This important nature reserve is now operated by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and attracts huge numbers of migrating birds each winter, including pink-footed geese and Whooper swans. Covering around 400 acres / 162 hectares, additional attractions at the Martin Mere Wetland Centre include a gift shop, a café and seating areas.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and families
Blue Planet Aquarium
Address: Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, CH65 9LF, England
Tel: +44 (0)151 357 8800
The Blue Planet Aquarium is within easy reach of Liverpool, being situated in the busy town of Ellesmere Port, roughly a 30-minute drive away. Home to a large amount of exciting sea life, including marine and tropical fish, mangrove swamps, North American river otters, sharks and alligators, other highlights at the Blue Planet include spiders and bugs, a pirate-themed playground, a gift shop and a restaurant. New attractions are added every year, such as the Coral Cave and the opportunity for children (aged between eight and 15 years old) to dive with large tropical sharks, under expert supervision of course!
Open hours: April to October, daily - 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and seniors, children three years old and under are free
Acorn Venture Farm
Address: Depot Road, Knowsley Industrial Estate, Liverpool, Merseyside, L33 3AR, England
Tel: +44 (0)151 548 1524
Full of friendly farmyard animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs and chickens, Acorn Venture Farm is always a popular attraction for youngsters and resides on the far north-easterly outskirts of Liverpool, near Barrow Nook. With a café, a small farm shop, a playground for children and a picnic area, the farmyard also features pony rides and pleasant woodland trails.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 16:00
Knowsley Safari Park
Address: A58, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 4AN, England
Tel: +44 (0)151 430 9009
Knowsley Safari Park is a large safari park located within the borough of Knowsley and was opened in 1971, on the site of a former WWII RAF airfield. With a large number of exotic animals from around the globe, all roaming free in spacious landscaped paddocks, the Safari Park can be toured by either car or bus, meaning that you can drive right by lions, giraffes, zebras and other African favourites. Those worried about potential damage to their car by inquisitive baboons will be pleased to learn that this particular enclosure can be bypassed. Also onsite is a small farm area where children are able to stroke some friendly animals.
Open hours: March to October, daily - 10:00 to 16:00, November to February, Saturday and Sunday - 10:30 to 15:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and families