Those people that know my family know we love Chester Zoo. When the kids were little we would go at least once a month if not more. Round our parts once your baby reaches 6 months old it’s time for an annual family pass as it’s incredibly good value. You only have to go three times and you’ve had your money’s worth. When you have little mini travellers like we do, sometimes a full day at the zoo is too much so we often pop in for a couple of hours with a picnic and it becomes a cheap day out. However when friends and family come to visit the Zoo is always on our list of places to take them for a day out.
For those that haven’t been before or haven’t been for some time. Chester Zoo is simply brilliant. It has recently been voted the best zoo in the UK and the 6th best zoo in the World so we are incredibly lucky to have it on our door step. It is a full day out that ticks so many boxes.
Writing about all the animals would probably have sent you to sleep so here is my A-Z of Chester Zoo.
A is for Animals (obviously). There are more animals here than you can ever count. Enormous ones, loud ones, crazy ones, quiet ones, small ones (my three always point out the ducks!) busy ones, unusual ones, exciting ones – you get the idea.
B is for Bats or Butterflies. The Bat house is dark and smelly. Not my cup of tea at all and my girls often make me run through it with them, saying Mummy we will look after you, as I jump and squeak when they fly past your head. The butterflies are however my favourite on a wet day as they are a welcome hide out from the rain.
C is climbing frames. There are 3 adventure playgrounds across the zoo for when you need a sit down (and they don’t). One is hidden behind the cafe near the lions and is usually the quietest.
D is for Drinks. Take lots, it can be a long day and when it’s busy the queues for snacks and drinks can be long. Add to your picnic bag and head off.
E is for elephants. The first thing you see as you go into the zoo. We never tire of seeing them and always make time to watch them on the way out too. The elephant house is always a good place to meet people too as it’s on the left before the gates to show your tickets and usually quiet.
F is for Feeding Stations. Most of the cafés and indoor picnic rooms have microwaves to warm bottles and baby food; and all have high chairs. We have even had a 3rd birthday party in one of the indoor picnic rooms on members day.
G is for Grown Up’s: it’s fun for us too.
H is for holidays. Whilst it can be very busy when the schools are on holiday there is so much space that you can always see the animals and find somewhere to sit.
I is for Ice Cream. Sold everywhere in the summer as you would expect, but they also do really good toddler sized Mickey Mouse Choc ices which aren’t too big, or too expensive.
J is for Jaguars. If you see one you’ll be lucky as there habitat is huge (as it should be) but see one and it will make your day, they are stunning.
K is for Kiddikarts. You can hire a kart/buggy near the entrance to keep little legs from getting too tired. We make ours walk as three don’t fit in, but it you only have two then these are great as they can hop in and out.
L is for Left. Turn left past the elephants on your way in to get to most of the big animals quickly.
M is for Monorail. The monorail is an additional cost but you can now buy a daily pass so you can go on as many times as you like. You can look down on all the animals and it can be a good way back to the entrance when little legs have given up.
N is for Navigating. My favourite route is as follows:
Get there for when the zoo opens at 10am having already bought your tickets. From the Elephants go straight ahead to the Monkeys. When you come out the back of the monkeys you will see the rhino straight ahead. Turn right at that point and head towards the Bats (or don’t go in if you’re me!). Then go straight over the bridge toward the Lions. On your way over the bridge you will see the Cheeters amongst other things. Most people will have gone the opposite way so the Lions are usually quiet at this time. With the bridge behind you turn right at the Lions and then left heading towards the Tigers. We usually get there for about 11am and they usually seem to feeding them about that time so the tigers are strolling around (later on they can be difficult to spot).
After the Tigers it can either be time for a play on the playground, or miss that one and heard straight for the Otters, Penguins and Flamingos. For us 11.30ish is then picnic time and we usually eat this on the ground outside the Jaguar house or in the nearest indoor picnic place. Don’t miss the Orangutans, Jaguars and Chimpanzees round here. We then tend to wander back past the giraffes and the butterfly house to the elephants. We can then decide at this point if to carry on. On sunny days/or days when we have friends with us we then head to the right of the entrance to the Zebras, Wild Dogs, Meerkats and more Rhino.
O is for Orangutans. Not to be missed. The house they live in is state of the art and they often come right up to the window to have a look at you. Keep an eye out for the oldest one with the funny hair!
P is for picnic. Plenty of places indoor and out to eat a picnic. The food at the Zoo is actually very good but the queues can be quite big especially at peak times.
Q is for Queues. Beat the queues by booking online and getting fast track admission. It’s 10% cheaper and you can walk straight in on the day.
R is for Right. It’s much quieter to the right of the entrance so if it’s busy you can head that way to avoid the crowds and see the Rhino, the Meerkat, the Wild Dogs and the Zebra to name a few.
S is for Stamp. If you want to break your day up or go back to the car to collect your picnic you can collect a stamp on your hand on the way out so you can get back in again. Alternatively my there get stamped on the way home to show everyone we have been. It’s become part of our day.
T is for Toilets. There are loads all round the park with good changing facilities. They aren’t great by the end of a summers afternoon but where are!
U is for Under 3’s who are free and love the freedom the Zoo offers.
V is for Visitor Parking which is actually free. It’s my biggest bug bear when you go to an expensive attraction and then pay for parking on top. There is also buckets of it and it’s always well organised. Although you do need to remember where you parked as there are no locations or signs.
W is for Weather. Whilst most popular on a sunny day, the zoo has something to offer whatever the weather. There are loads of attractions inside like the Aquarium, Islands of dangers, and the Butterfly house. We usually just get bundled up in waterproofs and head off!
X is for eXciting. I know that’s cheating but Chester Zoo never disappoints.
Y is for yesterday which is when we were last there. I told you we went a lot!
Z is for Zoo zoo zoo. Get going to the Zoo zoo zoo!
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