The Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay
The Welsh Mountain Zoo which we visited whilst staying at The Granary with Sykes Cottages.is (funnily enough) set on a hillside high above Colwyn Bay in North Wales. My husband and I decided to go with our three children (age 4, 2 and 9 months) for a day out. We had no expectations of what it would be like. We have all been to Chester Zoo and number of times but knew this would be quite different…and it was….in a good way! Perhaps a little forward planning would have been advisable though as we definitely would have benefitted from using the more sturdy pram rather than the cheap umbrella one we had stuffed in. Our 2 year old was very tired and had a good sleep for a couple of hours while we pushed him up and downhill and did have to lift the pram up and down steps on occasion. Great for him, but a real workout for me! The terrain could be an issue for elderly or disabled people as not all areas were easy to access. My husband on the other hand had the baby in a carrier on his back and this worked brilliantly.
The first thing we did was head to the Chimpanzee House for a chimpanzee encounter. This is a short but sweet video clip and presentation by a staff member who tells you a bit about the life of a chimpanzee and feeds them a few treats so they come up to the glass window in the enclosure. From there we moved on to the Winged Wonders display. We felt it was an excellent idea to have the shows running back to back but with plenty of time to move between them. It must be a rare treat to be sat in the sunshine on top of the hill over looking Colwyn Bay and be a couple of metres away from half a dozen penguins racing across the grass, obviously enjoying themselves! Everything in the zoo is contained within relatively small area so we looked to our left to watch the sea lion display. This was very popular with the school trips so needlessly to say the boys struggled to see and so got a bit bored and we moved on without really seeing this. I was disappointed but later we returned to sit and watch them whilst eating ice creams. The sea lions were delightful – playing with each other and darting about in front of the viewing windows. This was definitely a highlight of the trip.
The grounds of the zoo are beautifully maintained and the flower beds are stocked with a variety of colourful plants and flowers. The paths cris-cross about and lead you off into areas where you can feel like your the only visitors on site. In all this calm you get flutters of excitement from seeing a bear or an eagle or a red panda pottering about it’s enclosure. The children were thrilled/scared to see two alligators a matter of feet away from them and a huge Burmese Python snoozing against the viewing glass.
Highlights also included the snow leopards and macaws. We were also appreciative of the cafe heating up the baby’s food without the usual health and safety spiel and there were plenty of picnic benches and park benches to rest at. The car park was close by so you could nip back and pick up the picnic and children’s play ground was excellent for all ages!
We spent fours hours there in total so all in all a good day out for a reasonable price and we would highly recommend a visit.