Lions at Isle of Wight's Wildheart Animal Sanctuary

Wildheart Animal Sanctuary

Formerly known as Isle of Wight Zoo, the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is a very special attraction. It’s a family-run wildlife haven, set in the ruins of a Victorian fort. Overlooking the glorious beaches of Sandown, this is a sanctuary like no other.

There’s a vast collection of animals from all over the world here, looked after with exquisite care by the warm, friendly ‘animologists’. This is the biggest animal sanctuary on the Isle of Wight, and it provides a wild and wonderful day out for the entire family!

The animals

The Sanctuary has a special interest in big cats, and in Madagascan mammals. Madagascan wildlife is under threat from human activity, so the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary’s breeding programme is extremely important for preserving some of the planet’s most endangered species. The Sanctuary has been successful in breeding a number of at-risk animals, including the near-extinct Madagascan black-and-white-ruffled lemur.

The Sanctuary was envisioned in the 1970s as a tiger sanctuary on the Isle of Wight and has since expanded its remit to include other big cats and primates. It’s currently home to seven tigers – including Zena, the famous white tiger – four African lions, and two jaguars.

There are also lots of naughty lemurs, a charming family of meerkats, Australasian wallabies, clever racoons, and much more – even some of our own European farm animals. All of the animals live in beautifully designed, comfortable, and enriching habitats which make them feel happy and at home.

Visitors have ample opportunities to not only see the animals, but to learn about them as well. The sanctuary’s ‘animologists’ give regular talks on the animals, and lead very enjoyable ‘safaris’ around the sanctuary. There are plenty of other entertainments and activities on offer as well, including very special Meerkat Experiences for those who fancy getting up close and personal with the meerkats.

Wildheart Animal Sanctuary opening times

The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is open throughout the year, but opening times vary. During the summer, it is usually open from 10am until 5.30pm, but opening hours are shorter during the winter. Please visit the website for full details.

Wildheart Animal Sanctuary prices

Wildheart Animal Sanctuary admission prices can be found on their official website.

Getting to the Sanctuary – Isle of Wight

The picturesque town of Sandown is the Sanctuary’s home, and it’s easy to get to by car or public transport from any of Wightlink’s Island terminals. Wightlink provide a fast ferry service running between the Island and the mainland. Our ferries can get you from the mainland to the Isle of Wight as a foot passenger in half an hour or less! Use our simple, online booking system to get your ferry tickets sorted, so you can start anticipating your visit to Sandown and the Sanctuary!

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