Planning your visit to the Reptilarium 

The Isle of Wight Reptilarium is located in Fort Victoria Country Park just outside the coastal town of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight so exploring the Reptilarium can be a fun part of a day out exploring the West Wight or if you wish you can base your activities around the Country park for the day.

If you are planning on exploring the West Side of the Isle of Wight you will find The Reptilarium only a short drive from other local tourist spots such as The Needles and Alum Bay coloured sands, Tapnell Farm Park, Freshwater Bay, the stunning cliff top views from the Military road and of course right next to us is Yarmouth Town and historic Yarmouth Castle. 

If you are on a day trip from the Mainland we are a 5 minute drive from the Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth Service, once you get off the ferry onto the Island you simply turn right at the roundabout, go over the bridge and look for the signs for Fort Victoria Country Park and attractions, Its a very quick drive. 

The Reptilarium is a "Micro" Zoo, we are a fully licensed Zoo set in four rooms with 33 exhibits in total. Typically a visit will last between 30 minutes and a couple of hours. If you run around with your eyes closed you will do it in 5 minutes however please don't feel the need to tell us on trip advisor! 

Most people will allow a couple of minutes to look at each enclosure, find the animal, read the information about that animal before moving onto the next enclosure, we have some small activities throughout the attraction such as a dressing up box, fossil dig and mini beast box to keep small ones amused briefly. We also have four different "mission" cards available which help you get more from your visit, you can find copies of these in the resources section of the website alongside a kids activities pack. Dont rush, take your time and you will enjoy a visit to the Reptilarium. 

To really get the best out of your visit make full use of the Country park we are based in - Fort Victoria Country park. The Fort is now a ruin and shadow of its former self when it was built as part of the coastal defence against French invasion in 1855 however the casemates (Brick arches) still remain and have been repurposed for leisure. You can learn more about the history of the Fort in the visitor room which has photographs of the History of the Fort and the nature you will find in the park. 

How to spend a typical day at Fort Victoria Country park. 

First of all parking is free and we have a spacious car park, bring a picnic a barbeque or there is a café on site that is open seasonally (typically between April and October). There are public toilets onsite with disabled access and baby change facilities. 

When you arrive at the park you will see four attraction to enjoy, each one is independently owned and operated so opening times and entrance fees will vary so if there is an attraction you are particularly interested in visiting make sure you check with them for their opening times and costs. 

As well as the attractions (more about them later) we have 50 acres of Woodland to explore, this has been laid out with different pathways and wooden sculptures dotted around for you to discover.

 

Upon arrival we would advise you visit the Reptilarium, get your hand stamped so you can come and go all day and then after an hour or so exploring the animals in our zoo have a walk through the woods exploring the wooden sculptures and nature trails, there is a map available on the Fort Victoria website and displayed on the walls of the visitor room and gift shop. 

After your walk in the woods it might be time for lunch, here your options are having a picnic on the grass that overlooks the stunning views of Hurst castle and the Solent, we have dedicated picnic benches in a fenced off area, there are barbeque tables if you bought a barbeque along or you can buy something to eat in the café and sit inside, or enjoy the views outside. 

After Lunch you could take in one of the other attractions, there is a Planetarium, Model Railway and also the Museum which has an exhibition about the HMS Gladiator which was wrecked off of the coast here at the Fort. In the Museum Building you will also find the Vintage Penny Arcade machines to play. 

 

Now could be the time for a second visit of the day to the Reptilarium to see if you can spot any of the animals you missed the first time around if they were hiding or you could take in another attraction. 

Make sure you have a walk along the nature beach, the water is very fast flowing so there is no bathing allowed but you will have fun exploring the rock pools, again look in the visitor room for information on what you can find along the shore or you may be lucky enough to book onto one of the guided ranger walks, check for information boards outside the Rangers Office next to the visitors room.  

If anyone in the family is a keen angler then bring the rod and reels and check the local tide times as Fort Victoria is a Local sea fishing hotspot and if you witness a whitebait "boil up" off of the sea wall as the Mackeral shoal in close you will regret not bringing one! There are usually some basic fishing rod sets for sale in the gift shop along with all the items you will need to go crabbing off of the sea wall - another good way to spend an hour or so!

 

Fossils are abundant on our beach, you will find fossilised turtle shell and crocodile teeth in amongst the sand and gravel of the high tide line with more being washed up daily, the area was a prehistoric jungle river in the days of the dinosaurs! You can see examples of the fossils you can discover on display in the Reptilarium and in the Visitor room. 

Last thing to do on your list of activities around the Fort will be to go up onto the roof of the casemates and be amazed by the stunning view of the Solent, look out for the information boards that tell you more about the history of the building and dont forget to take your photo next to our Cannon. 

Before going home make sure you visit the Themed gift shops where you can buy all of your traditional seaside gifts as well as some more unusual items in the themed areas such as steampunk, toys, mythical creatures and the Sweet shop. Look out for the fire breathing Dragon though!

Fort Victoria Country Park Check List!

  • Reptilarium

  • Planetarium

  • HMS Gladiator Exhibition

  • Themed Gift Shops 

  • Penny Arcade machines

  • Cafe

  • Free parking 

  • Baby Change

  • Model Railway

  • Visitor Room

  • Ranger Walks

  • Woodland walk

  • Fossil beach / Rock pooling

  • Crabbing 

  • Fire Breathing Dragon!

  • Woodland sculptures

  • Sweet Shop

  • Sea Fishing

  • Roof top views

  • Historic Building and Cannons