During a very chilly day last weekend we suddenly felt we should pop into Chester Zoo. Little Z is always very keen to see some animals and, as he’s got older, appreciates real life ones as opposed to the cartoon ones he sees on TV regularly. It was probably not the best day to make a visit given that a doomy storm threatened over head on our way there, but we were nearly there by the point it looked like it was going to chuck it down and had we no choice but to wrap up warm or turn back. We decided to brave it and it was a brilliant day out. Since watching Our Zoo on TV I was really keen to see the place that George Mottershead, the founder of the zoo, had opened in 1931.
It is a vast estate which houses the zoo itself as well some very pretty gardens and is evidently a much loved place with a massive stream of visitors despite the chilly weather. If you’ve seen the series you’ll know it wasn’t an easy journey to opening his zoo with much uncertainty and objection from neighbouring residents. Open it did though and it’s gone onto becoming a firmly loved place within the North West.
Little Z was eager to get going once he got his hand on a map and it was amusing to watch him try to get his bearings on a pretty large zoo whilst looking at a map he couldn’t yet read. He was determined to guide us though so we saw very little of the routes we should be taking. Luckily there are sign posts every hundred yards or so and we ended up just winging it. With his new blue coat on that has been affectionately named “My Baa Baa Black sheep coat” (on account of the very fluffy wool lining) he refused to take his hood off for the entire day and we took to calling him Kenny (from South Park) on occasion. We were duly corrected each time.
As it was so cold, some of the animals preferred to understandably take sanctuary within their warm homes so unfortunately we didn’t get to see the elephants or much of the tigers properly. We did get a very close up view of the lion and lionesses though and observing their relationship with each other was a really nice sight to see.
Little Z thought each animal would respond to him if he called them. E.g. “Flamingoooooo! Flamgingoooooos!!!”
I think they were slightly busy standing on one leg in their big pond but I’m sure they would have come over otherwise. He was very impressed with the lions and kept running alongside the enclosure to get a good look at them, then asked to be picked up and put right next to them. As majestic and lovely as they looked we didn’t comply with that particular request of his. I think he was most impressed with his go in a Chester Zoo jeep!
The rhions are also a very worthy visit and their enclosure is heated up to a very warm temperature so its a brilliant place to warm up a bit if you’re feeling cold. As long as you don’t mind the slight whiff of manure.
Chester Zoo is one of those places that needs most of a day to get round and with our impromptu visit, we didn’t quite manage to see everything. It’s definitely a good excuse to go back for more sometime soon though. As well as maybe coupling it up with a trip to the nearby outlet village!
Here are some of the pics from our ultra chilly day. I definitely could do with a coat like his!