Isle of Wight animal sanctuary – Your guide to local wildlife

The Isle of Wight is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a wide range of animal sanctuaries and zoos that provide unique opportunities to connect with nature.


Chalk grasslands, maritime cliffs, and many estuaries make the Isle of Wight a unique spot to visit local animal sanctuaries and see an abundance of wildlife.

An ideal spot for holidaymakers, families, and avid explorers alike, the Isle of Wight is full of animal sanctuaries and zoos, brimming with wildlife to suit the interests of all ages.

The island is home to over 200 species of birds, including 43 of the UK’s 61 butterfly species, and even the endangered red squirrels! There are no grey squirrels in the Isle of Wight, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for a glimpse of the red squirrels.

Plan your next trip to the Isle of Wight and get back in touch with nature. Relax, unwind, and even enjoy dog-friendly holidays at Away Resorts.

Book your Isle of Wight break now!


Discover wildlife at Isle of Wight zoos

The Isle of Wight is rich in history, known for its famous dinosaur discoveries, the Island is full of landmarks, theme parks, and an ever-changing sandy coastline. There are plenty of places to visit, but the wildlife, animal sanctuaries, and Isle of Wight zoos make the Island stand out. From farm animals to rare species like tigers and tropical birds, you can discover a range of wildlife at the Isle of Wight animal sanctuaries.

Get ready to step into a world of nature and uncover some of the best zoos and animal sanctuaries in the Isle of Wight to visit on your next adventure!


Amazon World

Just a 10-20 minute drive from our Whitecliff Bay and St Helens resort, Amazon World is just one of the many zoos and animal sanctuaries the Isle of Wight has to offer.

With protection at the heart of this Isle of Wight zoo, you can expect a huge range of unusual and rare exotic animals. That’s right – Amazon World Isle of Wight is home to over 100 different rainforest species!


Wildheart Animal Sanctuary

The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is one of the best zoos in the Isle of Wight, focusing on rescuing threatened wildlife and protecting endangered species. Located in Sandown Bay, a 10-20 minute drive from our St Helens Coastal Resort, Wildheart Animal Sanctuary Isle of Wight is the place for all wildlife lovers in the local area.

Meet the likes of lions, tigers, monkeys, and meerkats, to name a few. You can also become a zookeeper for the day and feed and care for the big cats!


Monkey Haven

No more than a 20-minute drive from The Lakes Rookley resort, Monkey Haven is a must-see, award-winning Isle of Wight zoo for the entire family!

Spend your day hanging around with some of the rescued primates, or turn to the sky for birds of prey displays. There’s lots to explore at Monkey Haven!


Tapnell Farm

Get up close and personal with the animals at Tapnell Farm – another animal sanctuary in the Isle of Wight, known for a unique, wildlife-filled day out! Not only are there many animals to discover, but there are plenty of activities here as well.

From an Aqua Park and inflatables to archery, Football, Golf, and giant jumping pillows – Tapnell Farm has it all.

For extra fun, parts of the farm are dog-friendly, much like our accommodation at Away Resorts. Plus, you can reach Tapnell Farm in under 20 minutes from The Bay Colwell. What are you waiting for?


Spotting unique wildlife in the Isle of Wight

You don't have to visit the Isle of Wight zoos and animal sanctuaries to encounter some of the island's most unique wildlife. You can simply embark on some of the many walking routes and keep your eyes peeled.

There's plenty to discover!

Red squirrels

Watch red squirrels leap from tree to tree throughout the Isle of Wight, most commonly found in woodland and forested areas.

One of the best places to see the squirrels is the Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve complex. Home to a thriving population of the endangered species, you can sit in a dedicated squirrel hide and see them scurry along the branches.



There are many rare species of butterflies residing in the Isle of Wight, with 46 of the UK's 61 species found here. Due to the nature of butterflies, you could see one flutter by at any given moment. However, the Butterfly Conservation and Butterfly World Isle of Wight are some of the best places to see these unique creatures.


The white-tailed eagle

Once a common sighting across the South Coast of England, white-tailed eagles were driven to extinction by a persecution that began in the Middle Ages. The last pair were bred on Culver Cliff on the Isle of Wight in 1730.

Following the reintroduction of white-tailed eagles to Scotland, there are 130 breeding pairs. The Isle of Wight was deemed the most suitable breeding site for the species in southern England and has many potential nesting sites in woods and cliffs.

Since 2019, 25 white-tailed eagles have been released to the Isle of Wight. So, be sure to keep your eyes on the skies to catch a glimpse of this incredible bird!

Water voles

If you’re familiar with The Wind in the Willows, you’ll know Ratty, the water vole. These rare creatures have suffered a huge decline in population over the years as a result of habitat loss but have been reported to be in good numbers on East Wight waterways.

Will you be visiting these beloved creatures amongst the wildlife of the Isle of Wight on your next holiday?

Great green bush crickets

Easily recognised as the largest bush cricket in the UK, the great green bush cricket has a lime green body, medium-length wings, and an orangey-brown stripe running the length of its back. Maturing in the summer, you’ll likely hear these insects before you see them as they hum famously in the Isle of Wight.


Bird watching hotspots

Lagoons and reedbeds are just two of the many wetland birds found at the Brading Marshes RSPB Reserve, close to Bembridge Harbour on the east coast. Plan an early morning or late evening visit in the spring or summer to hear the Bitterns' booming song from the reedbeds. Keep an eye out for Kingfishers as well.

An inlet on the northern coast, Newtown National Nature Reserve is overseen by the National Trust and features a wide range of intertidal mudflats and saltmarshes. To maximise your chances of witnessing wildfowl and waders migrating to and from their roosts, carefully plan your visit especially in the fall and early spring.


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Frequently asked questions

How many zoos are there in the Isle of Wight?

There are many zoos in the Isle of Wight - 18 to be exact! This number includes zoos, animal sanctuaries, and other animal attractions.

The Isle of Wight isn’t short of wildlife and animal-related days out, with many free things to do and places to explore alongside paid attractions like Wildheart Animal Sanctuary and Amazon World.

What happened at the Isle of Wight Zoo?

What happened at the Isle of Wight Zoo was that it was rebranded back in 2021 to become the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary. Back in 1976, the zoo was taken over by a new owner named Jack Corney, who rebuilt the zoo as a sanctuary for big cats and primates.

Since then, a lot has happened at the Isle of Wight animal sanctuary. They have mourned the loss of one of its much-loved red pandas but have become a thriving sanctuary focussed on rescuing and looking after threatened and endangered species.

How much is the Isle of Wight Zoo?

It costs the Isle of Wight animal sanctuary £1000 a month to look after their tigers alone. That’s why families have to pay for entry to the zoo.

They are open all year round, seven days a week (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), and parking for the entire day is only £3. Entry is free for carers and infants under two, and ranges from £11 for an island resident and £14 for an adult, to £47 for a family ticket (not including gift aid).

Are there any penguins on the Isle of Wight?

Yes, there are penguins at the Isle of Wight zoos! You’ll most likely be able to spot the birds at Amazon World, the largest exotic zoo on the Isle of Wight. Alongside seeing the penguins, you’ll get to learn about the conservation of wildlife and rainforests all around the world at this Isle of Wight zoo!

So, why come and visit them on your next Isle of Wight holiday and surround yourself with wildlife?

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