Our historic conservation zoo will be celebrating His Majesty’s coronation with a whole host of fun activities on-site.
Don't forget to pick up your free gift to all London Zoo visitors over the coronation weekend. Each visitor will be gifted a packet of commemorative wildflower seeds to plant their very own new beginnings, for local wildlife.
Please share your pictures of the coronation blooms on our social channels - we can’t wait to see biodiversity blossom across the country in your back gardens, patios and even on window sills.
Free coronation gift in London
Pollinators need us now more than ever – so let’s join together for this momentous occasion to restore wildlife.
In the meantime, as you explore iconic London Zoo with a visit over the coming coronation weekend, don’t miss our regal species that share some surprising connections to the crown:
Behold! The king of the venomous snakes
Cosmo, our King Cobra in residence, is 21 years old and an impressive example of his species. King Cobras are so-called because they really are the kings of the venomous snakes – the largest in the world in fact. As you venture into our historic reptile house, the coronation weekend will be one of your last chances to see Cosmo before he moves into his new digs – The Secret Life Of Reptiles, our brand new purpose-built reptile house, opening in late 2023.
Our majestic Asiatic Lions are a must-see
Lions having been known as the 'King of the Jungle' is a misnomer, as lions don’t live in jungles. ‘Queens of the Savannah’ - or in the case of India's Endangered Asiatic lions, 'Queens of the Forest' - would be a more appropriate moniker. A lion pride usually consists of multiple related females and a small number of unrelated males, along with their cubs. Female lions are the designated hunters, while the male lions stay at home and watch over the rest of the pride. As well as hunting, the females control the pride’s social structure and maintain its overall fitness - by kicking out individuals who aren’t passing muster.
Queen Elizabeth II was our Patron ever since her coronation and visited and supported both of our conservation zoos, London and Whipsnade, regularly in the incredible 70 years she was on the throne.
We were honoured to have our immersive Land of the Lions habitat unveiled by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip back in 2016 – they leave an enduring legacy from their decades upon decades of support for our conservation charity and are sadly missed.
Victoria-crowned pigeons sport stunning feathers
These fancily-feathered friends can be found over in our historic Blackburn Pavilion. Adorned with exquisite plumage, they are extremely distinctive and far larger than domestic pigeons found casually loitering around central London. Named in honour of Queen Victoria I, these beautiful grey-purple birds are sadly Near Threatened in the wild – our breeding successes with the species over many years are vital to restore their numbers worldwide.
From feathered crowns to underwater clowns
Venture deep beneath the ocean waves with a stop at one of our newest installations - our coral reef in Tiny Giants. Take a moment to ‘Find Nemo’ with the kids: but contrary to the popular Disney film, clownfish have a strict social structure, led by the sole female in the group, which is collectively known as a 'circus'. Yes, really.
These female leaders are always the largest, most aggressive fish in the circus and the smaller, male clownfish compete for her affection; bringing her food, finding her a nice, protected reef home and performing housekeeping duties. Just like tending to a Queen of sorts. Size really does matter in the clownfish world, as the second largest fish in the group is always chosen to be her breeding mate.
Honeybees are probably bringing royal jelly to the coronation party
Just next to corals, you may be lucky enough to spot our honeybees heading back in to the outdoor hives now that the weather has turned warmer again. Deep within, the females take charge - the queen bee lives longer and is larger than the other bees with a longer abdomen and no wings. Her main duty is reproducing, with male bees usually dying after mating with her. To keep her and her baby bees well-nourished, members of the hive known as ‘nurse bees’ produce a rich ooze for her to sup, known as royal jelly.
Ant it’s not just bees…
Our leafcutter ants which you’ll find free-roaming on ropes near the entrance of Tiny Giants, like most other ant sub-species, also live in colonies led by a queen - who keeps herself busy growing the size of the colony just like the queen bee. It’s the other ants in the nest who do the heavy lifting, including gathering food and tunnelling their complicated homes.
The mysterious royal blue creature tucked away in a tunnel
Step into the tropics with a stroll through Butterfly Paradise. While you’re surrounded by vibrant flora and fauna, keep your eyes peeled for the blue morpho butterflies fluttering around the habitat – they’re hard to miss as their shimmering wings reflect beams of royal blue.
Ring-tailed lemurs shouldn’t be mistaken for Kings
As you venture through our In With The Lemurs walkthrough, cast your mind back to family movie Madagascar. They really did get it wrong about King Julian - ring-tailed lemur troops are usually led by a matriarch and these ‘queens’ are bigger and better fighters - and peacekeepers - than the males. They decide where the group eat, sleep and go, and are the first to wage war on other troops for territory and resources.
Our colobus monkeys’ humble abode was designed by royalty
Far from humble, our vast Monkey Valley hasn’t always been home to our colobus monkeys. The Grade II* listed structure was formerly known as the ‘Snowdon Aviary’. Re-imagined and revamped, our colobus monkeys moved in in 2022. But long before that, housing multiple species of exotic birds this innovative piece of architecture was designed by the former Lord Snowdon, who at the time was married to Princess Margaret, and opened to the public in 1962. It’s iconic presence on the London Skyline is unchanged by its transformation into Monkey Valley. As you stroll through its vast interior, take a moment to marvel at it’s innovative and iconic design – it’s something very special to behold.
Welcoming monarchs to your back garden
Though your day at the Zoo must eventually come to an end, for native UK species, your journey is just beginning. Having received your free commemorative wildflower seeds, choose a sunny spot when you get home and create your very own habitat for invertebrates and other garden species alike.
Marvel as your coronation blooms blossom and add a splash of colour to any space. Then comes the time to watch and wait - pollinating invertebrates will soon come for a flyby visit. Keep an eye out for your visitors – bees, caterpillars and even butterflies are bound to pop in for some delicious pollen and nectar. If you’re really lucky, you may spot a very royal guest – the colourful monarch butterfly is one of many species that need our help to grow more wild spaces just like yours. Now Endangered, know that if you spot one you’ve helped to restore nature and supported them to thrive.
London Zoo’s future Queen is on her way
Arriving in mid-May 2023, we are delighted to be welcoming 10-year-old Komodo dragon Khaleesi from Paignton Zoo. If you know your Game of Thrones, you’ll be aware that her name literally translates as ‘Queen’. The 30kg regal dragon, measuring 1.5 metres long, will be moving into the Attenborough Komodo Dragon House, which will reopen upon her arrival. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on all new arrivals via our social media channels.