Published: Thursday 9th of December 2010
If your little ones love all things wildlife-related then you could find that spending a day in the capital gives you the perfect chance to indulge their passions - with a festive twist.
With the countdown to Christmas well underway, some of the most popular animal-related London attractions will be holding special events and running various activities to mark the season of goodwill.
Your starting point should undoubtedly be ZSL London Zoo, which is home to a wide variety of animals - enough to keep your children entertained for hours.
But for an extra treat at this time of year you can go on a Christmas journey around the animal park - and meet some of the inhabitants, as well as Santa Claus! The trail lasts for approximately one hour - giving you plenty of extra time to explore on your own.
Running every weekend throughout December - and everyday from December 18th to 24th - there will be ample opportunity to take your children on a special festive day out to remember.
You will begin your journey at the Christmas tree, where an elf will greet you and guide you to your first stop - three wise men and their camels. Here you can listen to an exciting story to get you in the mood for the rest of the trail.
After you have learnt a little bit about these extraordinary desert-dwelling creatures, you'll move on to see the inn keeper's wife - and meet the donkeys and sheep at Animal Adventure. This really will bring the nativity to life - all that's missing is Jesus in his manger!
Finally, you will have the chance to meet Father Christmas himself in a grotto decked out with all manner of festive items.
Of course, this will just be the beginning of your day at the zoo, which is home to animals such as pygmy hippos, ring-tailed lemurs, black-footed penguins and komodo dragons.
But if you prefer animals that dwell in the oceans then you should also plan a visit to the London Aquarium, where you will find all manner of tropical and native sea life.
And this Christmas, you will be able to follow a very special trail, taking you to see some of the more festive residents in the aquarium.
Running from December 20th until January 3rd, the 12 Days of Fish-mas will take you on a treasure hunt around the London attraction to find hidden baubles and solve clues along the way - something which the kids are bound to love.
Many of the items will be located near sea creatures with a Christmas connection, so look out for the likes of angel fish and snowflake moray eels as you explore.
And if you successfully complete the seasonal trail then you can claim a free gift too - which means you can make Christmas last even longer and enjoy an exciting afternoon during the school holidays in the process.
You should also look out for Santa Claus in a very unusual place during your trip to the aquarium - with the well-known festive figure diving into the Ocean Reef Display on a regular basis. The kids will be thrilled as they see Santa interact with the resident green turtles, cownose rays and other colourful fish in the tank.
So why not take a walk on the wild side and enjoy all the Christmassy things to do in London this winter?
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