1 Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is just the place for anybody who fancies a giraffe’s-eye view while being eyed by giraffes. Thanks to some deftly-placed walkways, visitors can get closer than ever to these graceful giants. The venue is also home to countless other species including big cats, camels, tapirs, rhinos, primates, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The park has its own conservation trust. Visit cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk for details

2 Longleat, near Warminster, is home to perhaps the most well-known safari park in the country. Visitors have the opportunity to drive through a series of carefully-curated environments which are home to a variety of big cats and other species ranging from wolves to macaques. Longleat also has a small herd of white rhino. Visitors should pay attention to warnings that all readily detachable items should be removed from outside vehicles and stowed inside before venturing among the monkeys. The park’s website is longleat.co.uk

3 Butterfly World, part of Studley Grange in Hay Lane, Wroughton, is a perennial favourite among local visitor attractions. In the carefully-controlled climate of its enclosure, an astonishing variety of butterflies – all captive-bred – flit among the lush vegetation. Expert staff are happy to help guests identify the various species, which range from tiny and difficult to spot to large and spectacular. If they are lucky, visitors will be able to watch the creatures emerge from their pupae. Further information can be found at www.studleygrange.co.uk

4 Like Butterfly World, Roves Farm in Sevenhampton is a readily-accessible family favourite. Activities on offer include egg-collecting, feeding and learning about animals, taking part in a variety of indoor and outdoor adventures and learning about the way farms work. The Roves Farm website is rovesfarm.co.uk

5 Birds of prey are among the nation’s most beautiful and misunderstood creatures. Part of the mission of the Hawk Conservancy Trust, based at Weyhill, Andover, is to promote understanding by enabling visitors to see birds of prey at close quarters. There are frequent flying displays and plenty of opportunities for people to fly birds themselves. In addition to domestic species, the Hawk Conservatory Trust has species from overseas, including a bald eagle and a group of vultures. Visit hawk-conservancy.org

6 Marwell Zoo, near Winchester, was founded 37 years ago. It is generally thought of as among the first zoos to shun the old-fashioned notion of merely exhibiting animals in favour of a conservationist and educational approach. It is currently home to some 1,200 animals from more than 135 species, ranging from giraffes to lemurs and pigmy hippos to tapirs. Less familiar species include painted dragon, okapi, Gila monster and crocodile monitor. The zoo’s website is marwell.org.uk

7 Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water has more than 500 birds in dozens of aviaries and other enclosures mimicking habitats all over the world. Species range from falcons to pheasants, and from parrots to pigeons. Visit birdland.co.uk

8 Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton - crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk – describes itself as a conservation and education centre whose mission is to inform and educate people of all ages. The UK’s only crocodile zoo has examples of 17 of the world’s 24 crocodile species, some of which are threatened by habitat damage and wholesale slaughter. For anybody who doesn’t know their broad-snouted caiman from their Cuban crocodile, enlightenment awaits.

9 Hope Nature Centre - hopenaturecentre.org.uk – is an animal park and café occupying 15 acres of Southwick Country Park near Trowbridge. It is home to creatures including goats, Shetland ponies, donkeys, alpacas and poultry, and the centre prides itself on having something to offer visitors of all ages.

10 Farmtastic Animal Farm is a children’s petting zoo at Grittenham, near Chippenham. It promises the chance to meet the cutest, cuddliest and most entertaining animals, from alpaca to geese and from donkeys to pigmy goats. Would-be visitors should note that it is open only on Saturdays, Sundays and special dates. Its website is farmtasticanimalfarm.co.uk