We could not have had more perfect weather for the day with a clear blue sky, bright sunshine and crisp, fresh air. London Zoo is situated in Regents Park and pretty easy to get to on public transport although quite a trek from the tube stations if you have a 3-year-old with you or are heavily pregnant (or both as in Ruth’s case!) However once in, the magic of the place immediately hit the kids as they squealed with delight and us adults downplayed our equal excitement by studying the map and coming up with a plan to make sure we didn’t miss anything. I was on a quest for zebras as they are my favourite animal in the world and the only other time I visited London zoo as an adult they were mysteriously absent! However, Ruth reassured me that they most definitely were around this time. BearCub had more humble expectations when he excitedly gushed on the train on the way, ‘I really do hope they have budgies mum!!’
When we first arrived we decided to ask Munchkin and BearCub what they were most looking forward to seeing at the zoo. You can see their video responses by clicking here.
Yes we do have very ‘unique’ children!!!
I have a fairly clear memory of visiting London zoo when I was a child and although my mum says we can’t have been more than 2 or 3, I distinctly remember thinking the animals looked sad and their enclosures were too small. It was therefore fantastic to see the vast improvements that have been made to London zoo who say their mission is ‘conservation’. The enclosures were spacious and distanced enough from spectators that the animals looked relaxed but, elevated or sunken so that the animals were clearly visible from every angle. The listed buildings that have had to be kept in the zoo – notably the old elephant enclosure – had been reused to exhibit other animals and there really were a huge amount of species to see:
From the usual suspects like Lions…
To the cute ones…
and more common creatures you could interact with and get up close and personal…
and then there were the more unusual ones, like the Bearded pigs!
The penguin show was also a particular highlight in the relatively new ‘Penguin Beach’. The penguins are fed by having their fish ‘posted’ down a drain pipe so they have as little human contact as possible.
Munchkin and BearCub were particularly taken with the aquarium and we felt very privileged to catch only the second ever occurrence of the new seahorse presentation as featured in Sunday’s Independent.
London zoo is very interactive and there really is so much to do and see and so much space. It is impossible for little ones to get bored and it is truly a day for ‘all’ the family as adults are highly stimulated too – definitely a MTAM kind of day with both happy children and happy parents.
The cafe and restaurants are a bit pricey though so we were pleased we brought our own picnic and snacks but, this would probably be our only criticism.
A great part of the day for us was to meet some other lovely bloggers who had also been invited along. To see blog posts on the day from the other bloggers just search #vmdayout on Twitter.
It really was a fantastic day so we’d like to say a special thanks to Max for organising it all (see if you can spot him ‘Where’s Wally’ style in the picture below) and to Virgin Money Travel Insurance. Virgin Money Travel Insurance was voted ‘Best online Travel Insurance Provider 2012′ at the Your Money Direct Awards. Not only do they offer some great packages like their Family annual travel insurance but they also give access to a travel advice line for support before you leave and also while you’re away on your trip which we think is a great idea.
We had so much fun at London Zoo and even with the kids getting a bit overtired and manic towards the end – there was always something around the corner for them to see or interact with and we all know distraction is the best technique against and impending meltdown!
We left exhausted but happy after a truly great day out in London. The monkey enclosure were not up for keeping our two cheeky monkeys so we headed home with our own little wild things.
And as for the best bit of our day at the zoo?…well we’ll let BearCub and Munchkin tell you in their own words. Just click – here!
If you want to here what the others thought too, then check out these links: