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Last year we took a wonderful trip to New York and visited Central Park Zoo. The zoo can be found in Central Park. It is located on 64th street and 5th Avenue.
We paid for our tickets at the ticket office, there was no queue and we got given a map. Ticket prices are very reasonable. However the size of the zoo does reflect the price, I wouldn’t really want to pay any more. A childs ticket cost $7.00 and adult tickets cost $12.00 each. The zoo is open all year round. We visited during winter and the zoo was very quiet. I should imagine it’s a little busier in warmer months.
Before I go any further I would like to point out that if you (or your child… or both…) are a fan of the film ‘Madagascar’ then you will be bitterly disappointed to discover that absolutely NONE of the animals from the film (that supposedly live at the zoo) are actually at the zoo. There’s not even a mention of them at the zoo. No Marty the zebra! No Alex the lion! No Gloria the Hippo! Not even Melman the giraffe! There are some penguins though... and right outside of the zoo is also a lovely little musical clock which does feature in the film...
Animals included sealions, poisonous frogs, lemurs, penguins, snow leopard, snow monkeys, mongoose, tropical birds, reptiles, bats and red pandas. Our tickets also allowed us entry to the childrens zoo, which is situated just outside of the main zoo. The childrens zoo had a few farm animals in it. The main zoo also has a cafe inside and a gift shop outside.
I would say we didn’t spend much more than an hour at Central Park Zoo. There’s only a small amount to see and do, which is good as you can get in and out quickly, and then explore the rest of NYC. However if you’re looking for a quality zoo to spend a few hours, then you’re in for a disappointment. There are no ‘big’ animals (except the new brown bears perhaps, which I don’t think I’d want to see anyway) and more to the point, there are no animals from the Madagascar films!! The entry price was reasonable and there were a few nice animals, but I also felt that there were a lot of small and undesirable enclosures (dirty glass, not much enrichment etc). Although there were plenty of animal facts dotted around the zoo, I didn’t see any obvious references to conservation efforts which I found slightly disappointing. I also felt that the childrens zoo was a bit dated and pretty pointless. I’m glad I visited Central Park Zoo, it's something to tick off the list but I wouldn’t visit again.
I don't mind admitting that since Carex bought out their 'foody' range of hand washes, I have been slightly obsessed. Whilst I refer to it as the 'foody' range, the actual name of the range is 'Fun Editions' (previously 'Family Favourites') and currently includes 4 different scents - Cola Bottles, Strawberry Laces, Bubblegum and Chocolate Orange. I have now tried them all.
The first time I tried this particular hand wash, they were on offer in Sainsbury's for just 90p each so I purchased one of each! They normally retail for around £1.50-2.00 per bottle but I often see them in various supermarkets on offer for less than a pound.
The Chocolate Orange scent had a lot to live up to, not just because I love to eat chocolate orange but because I had previously used Strawberry Laces and Cola Bottles and they smelt WONDERFUL (I have since tried Bubblegum which also smells amazing).
The hand wash comes in a 250ml transparent bottle and looks similar to the other Carex hand washes but with a subtle orange placed below the logo. It has a pump top and dispensing the hand wash is very easy and convenient. The hand wash is a bright orange colour. I wasn't too convinced that the hand wash would smell like chocolate orange but it really does; you can smell both the chocolate and the orange. If you melted Terry's Chocolate Orange and rubbed it all over your hands, I think it would definitely smell a lot like this hand wash... although I wouldn't particularly recommend it...
The slight downside of the scent is that it's very sweet and almost quite sickly smelling. I also tend to prefer the other scents in the range a little more. HOWEVER! I do still think it's a nice scent. It's just not my favourite.
Everybody in my family likes the scent and is happy to use the chocolate orange hand wash. I have noticed that my daughter uses it A LOT! I definitely think this range is a great way to encourage children to wash their hands more often. The bottle also states that the hand wash 'kills 99.9% of bacteria' which is good to know (I don't like hand washes that aren't anti-bacterial).
The hand wash recommends 2 pumps per wash but I find that 1 is enough for me. The hand wash lathers well and the smell is very apparent whilst using it. The scent also transfers well to the skin and appears to stay on my hands for quite some time. It is said to have 'added moisturisers' and I must say I have experienced no problems with my skin whilst using this hand wash, my hands have always been left soft and smooth aftewards.
A bottle of Carex Chocolate Orange Hand Wash can last me up to a month, with regular use. I think it's great value for money and am happy to recommend, even though it's not my most favourite scent in the range.
Cuddleuppets are blankets that double up in to puppets! I have seen Cuddleuppets around for a year or two. They previously came in a handful of different fun styles (elephant, crocodile, monkey, unicorn, poodle etc) but now there are lots of different Cuddleuppets to choose from. Many of the new styles include characters from film and television such as Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Lambie (from Doc McStuffins) and Minnie Mouse.
I bought a Lambie Cuddleuppet for my daughter last Christmas, as she put it on her Christmas list. Lambie is very cute but my firm favourite design was Sulley (from Monsters Inc/University). My daughter has got so much use out of her Lambie Cuddleuppet that when I recently saw the Sulley Cuddleuppet in Home Bargains for the super low price of just 7.99 I decided I must buy him!
The Sulley Cuddleuppet is very fun looking. He looks a little more 'cartoony' than usual but is unmistakeably Sulley. He is blue all over with purple spots and has a large sized head. His mouth is huge and lined with material teeth. He has his 2 trademark horns on either side of his head. The 4 corners of the blanket have feet on, complete with material claws. You can put your hand inside his head (from underneath) and control his mouth. The mouth is easy to control and is big enough to fit an adults hand inside.
Cuddleuppets are a generous size when opened up and perfectly sized for my 7 year old. It's long enough to cover her entire body or wrap around her a few times (measuring approximately 40" x 27"). Another great thing about Sulley is that he's really soft. The head (and feet) are plush and squishy, and the blanket itself is so soft and fleecy.
Cuddlepuppets are widely available. Normal Cuddleuppets cost around 10.00, however the Sulley Cuddleuppet costs around 15.00 - 20.00. Despite the price rise, I still think Sulley is worth a purchase as he's my favourite looking Cuddleuppet (we're big Monsters Inc fans too).
Unsurprisingly my daughter loves her Sulley Cuddleuppet. It's quite cute and very unusual looking. The blanket is so big and soft that my daughter finds it very comforting and will often snuggle up with it on the sofa. She likes to take it to bed with her sometimes and enjoys taking it for overnight stays. I find that it's useful for taking out and about in the car, especially on long journeys when she might fall asleep and need something cosy to cuddle up to and wrap up with (particularly useful for winter mornings!). I expect this might also be useful for taking out and about in buggies etc. The puppet aspect is a bonus in my opinion, my daughter likes to play with the puppet every now and again (you can cover your arm with the blanket to make it look more realistic), but seems to prefer Sulley as a fun looking blanket.
I'm happy to recommend.
I had been meaning to get around to trying the new Carex range of 'foody' scented hand washes for a while. The time finally came a couple of months ago when I saw them on offer in Sainsbury's! I stocked up with 3 different scented Carex hand washes - Cola Bottles, Chocolate Orange and Strawberry Laces.
I haven't yet tried the Chocolate Orange but I have tried the Cola Bottles which is lovely and most recently Strawberry Laces, which is also pretty wonderful.
The hand wash comes in a 250ml transparent bottle and looks similar to the other Carex hand washes but with subtle strawberry laces underneath the logo. It has a pump top and dispensing the hand wash is very easy and convenient. I wasn't too convinced that the hand wash would smell like strawberry laces but it really does. It's an absolutely gorgeous scent that is very sweet and is sure to bring back childhood memories for many! We previously had a different brand of strawberry hand wash (but not laces) and I found it overpowering and actually quite vile.
The bottle reads 'Family Favourite Fragrance' which is completely true as everybody in my family loves the scent and I have noticed that my daughter hasn't stopped washing her hands since I placed Strawberry Laces hand wash in the bathroom! I definitely think this is a great hand wash to encourage children to wash their hands more often. The bottle also states that the hand wash 'kills 99.9% of bacteria' which is good to know (I don''t like hand washes that aren't anti-bacterial). The hand wash recommends 2 pumps per wash but I generally find that 1 is enough for me. The hand wash lathers well and the smell is very apparent when using it. The scent also transfers well to the skin and appears to stay on my hands for up to thirty minutes. It is said to have 'added moisturisers' and I must say I have experienced no problems with my skin whilst using this hand wash, my hands have always been left soft and smooth after use.
Carex Strawberry Laces Hand Wash normally costs around the 1.50 mark but can often be found on offer (I got mine for 80p) and is available at most supermarkets. I have been using my current bottle regularly for a few weeks and there is still lots left, so it's pretty good value for money too. I'm happy to recommend.
I love chocolate, I love biscuits and I love mint! So you may not be surprised to hear one of my favourite naughty treats are Jacob''s Mint Club Bars.
Jacobs are probably best known for manufacturing crackers and savoury snacks, but they are behind lots of sweet treats too. Club bars have been around for as long as I can remember, I can recall having them at home and in my lunch box as a child. I can also remember the nostalgic advert! "If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our club!".
The bars come in a long plastic packet which contains 8 individual Club bars. The packet is bright green with ''CLUB'' written across the front in huge letters (you can''t miss them on the shop shelf!). Each Club bar is individually wrapped in silver foil with a paper wrapper over the top. I prefer foil wrapping as it not only keeps food fresh but it''s easy for children to open by themselves (plus the food can be resealed if they don''t wish to eat it all). I suppose this isn''t great for the environment but it does make them suitable for taking out and about (putting in lunch boxes etc). The bars are around 4 inches long, quite chunky and are covered in smooth milk chocolate with ''Club'' embossed on the top.
Everything is delicious about these bars, they have a great taste AND great texture. The combination of milk chocolate and mint is divine, both flavours compliment each other really well. The chocolate on the outsides is thick and generous, there is also a thick mint layer on top (underneath the chocolate but on top of the biscuit) which gives the biscuit a very minty taste but quite a subtle minty taste, not mouth burning. The biscuit is crunchy (but not chewy) and goes really nicely with the smooth melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. The chocolate is a good quality chocolate too, none of that cheap tasting nonsense! I''d say Jacob''s Mint Club Bars would please most people (young and old) providing you like chocolate and mint...
Each bar contains 6.0g of fat, 116 calories an 13.9g of carbohydrates. These obviously aren''t the healthiest of treats (I''m actually surprised how many calories are in one bar) but you will be fine if you eat them as treats and in moderation. They''re made in the UK and are suitable for vegetarians. They contain no hydrogenated vegetable oil and are free from artificial colours and flavours.
Jacob''s Mint Clubs are widely available, in most supermarkets etc. A large pack of 8 generally costs between 1.50 - 2.00 GBP which I think is pretty reasonable. I have also noticed that Club Bars are often on offer, our most recent pack cost just 1.00 GBP from Morrisons. Another reason to love them!
Disney''s Hollywood Studios (formally Disney MGM Studios) can be found in the Walt Disney Resort, Orlando, Florida. It was originally opened in 1989. If you are staying at a Disney hotel then you can take a free direct shuttle bus to and from the Hollywood Studios. Parking is available at the front of the park and vehicles cost $17 per day (and free for guests staying at Disney hotels). Unsurprisingly entry prices to the park are quite pricey and start at $94 for a day ticket!
The Studios has one clear theme - cinema and television. It largely focuses on ''behind the scenes'' - think film sets, acting, props, stunts and special effects. The park is split into different areas which include Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Streets of America, Animation Courtyard, Pixar Place and Sunset Boulevard. The iconic centre point of Hollywood Studios is a giant blue sorcerer Mickey hat (that looks especially brilliant when lit up at night).
Some of my favourite rides and attractions include:
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (a spooky old hotel that takes you up 199 feet, then DROPS you back down at a stomach turning speed!)
- Toy Story Midway Mania (a VERY popular 4D interactive ride that I recommend you Fastpass early on. You wear 3D glasses, sit it carts and take part in a number of Toy Story themed carnival type mini-games)
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (you can''t miss the ride - there is a giant AT-AT outside and recreation of the Ewok Village! There are some interactive droids in the queue line, including C3PO and R2D2. Star Tours is a 3D simulator ride. You board a ''Starspeeder 1000'' and set out on an adventure. Each ride is different but similar in some parts and they all feature popular Star Wars characters. The ride also picks out ''a rebel'' spy and it could be you! A great ride for all ages and a ''must do'' in my opinion)
- Fantasmic! (a must do show for everybody. On most evenings and includes water, projectors, live actors, characters, fire, lasers and fireworks! A wonderful show that lives up to its name)
Other attractions I recommend include Honey I Shrunk The Kids: Movie Set Adventure, Muppetvision 3D, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage and Rock ''n'' Rollercoaster.
There''s more than 20 eating establishments, so plenty of choice. I highly recommend Hollywood & Vine (great value and great tasting buffet restaurant), Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant (you dine in convertible cars in front of a cinema screen - great atmosphere) and 50''s Prime Time Cafe (quite small but nice atmosphere and I had a delicious dessert here!).
Hollywood Studios is a great day out and is probably one of my favourite Disney parks. Brilliant theme and atmosphere - plenty of photo opportunities. Also look out for characters and the daily Pixar parade! The attractions are fantastic and there''s something for everybody.
Like most young children, my daughter is a big fan of Monsters Inc and more recently Monsters University. There are a lot of stand-out characters in Monsters University but a lot of peoples favourite (including mine) seems to be Art. Art is a strange looking monster who doesn't really have a body, just super long legs with a face at the top! My daughter received an Art soft toy from The Disney Store for Christmas which she was really pleased with. The toy cost 8.00 GBP (you can also buy a smaller version for 5.00 GBP). There is a patch sewn on to the bottom of his foot - it reads 'Genuine, Authentic, Original Disney Store'. This particular product cannot be found anywhere else. I love Disney Store plush toys as they are always great quality and this toy is no different - it's very durable, robust and well made. We have owned him for 6 months and he's still in perfect condition. He's a good size too, especially for the price. The toy looks really comical and just like he does in the Monsters University movie. He is bright purple with blue stripes, has huge long legs and little arms that hang down. He has a really silly face with huge grin and sleepy looking eyes. His legs are poseable and can be bent in to all different positions! My daughter really appreciates this aspect as she can make him do all sorts of funny things, including break dancing! He's not particularly soft inside but he isn't hard either, just a little firm I'd say. However on the outside he is covered with thick soft fluff. Overall I'd say this is a great looking soft toy that fans of the movie/character are sure to love. It's great quality, a good size and BENDY TOO!
A Disney loving friend of mine got married a couple of years ago and I wanted to buy her something that she could keep as a memento of her special day. Money and vouchers are a brilliant gift but they''re not very personal and you certainly cannot keep them forever! I came across the ''Mickey and Minnie Mouse Wedding Cushion'' in The Disney Store - it was gorgeous and I just knew I had to buy it! The cushion is a decent size (approximately 26cm high and 30cm wide) and is plush and squidgy. The picture on the front of the cushion is of Minnie dressed as a beautiful bride and Mickey dressed as a groom. Mickey is putting a big sparkly ring on Minnie''s finger as they both stare lovingly at each other. There is also a ribbon stitched on to the cushion (across their hands) - this allows the cushion to be used as a ring cushion! The cushion itself is very soft and is edged with pretty, white satin. One thing that I particularly like about the cushion is that is has the year stitched on to it (the date changes each year but the picture stays the same) which gives it a more personal touch. The cushion is great quality - it''s made from good materials and the stitching is perfect. My friend was really pleased with her cushion and I often see it taking pride of place in her living room when I go to visit! The Mickey and Minnie Wedding Cushion costs just 12.00GBP at The Disney Store which I think is a very reasonable price for such a beautiful cushion (and an OFFICIAL Disney product). You can also get it boxed, complete with Mickey sprinkles, for an extra small fee. If you''re looking for a wedding gift for a Disney fan who might not want champagne flutes/toaster OR are a Disney loving bride/groom looking for a suitable ring cushion, then I definitely recommend the Mickey and Minnie Wedding Cushion to you!
I have been feeding my dog Bonio biscuits for years. They come in a few different flavours but I tend to stick to the 'original' as that is what my dog is used to and they don't upset his stomach. I usually find that a lot of dog treats are just too small and not substantial enough for my large sized dog, however I find that Bonio biscuits are a really good size for him. Each Bonio biscuit is about 3 inches long and quite chunky. They are bone shaped and light brown coloured (they don't really smell either), with 'Bonio' embossed across each biscuit. My dog feels like he's getting a proper treat when I give him a Bonio, however they may prove a little too large for smaller dogs (Bonio's are suitable for all breeds and all sizes). They're more snack-size than treat-size if feeding the biscuits whole. Thankfully Bonio's can be snapped in to two or three different pieces, which not only makes them easier for smaller dogs to feast on but makes the box last a lot longer. If I am just treating my dog to one or two Bonio biscuits then I will generally give him whole biscuits, however if I am out and about (on walks etc) or my dog requires more than a few treats during a short period then I will usually break the biscuits up to avoid over indulging! The biscuits are crunchy and my dog enjoys chomping through them, whilst also giving his teeth and gums a good clean at the same time. The daily feeding guide (based on approximate adult weight) is 1 biscuit for 7kg, 2 biscuits for 15kg and 4 biscuits for 30kg. The ingredients include cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, oils and fats, minerals, meat and animal derivatives. I don't see anything too bad in the ingredients, although they do seem quite cereal based. They are enriched with vitamins and minerals which is good to know. The biscuits come in a bright red cardboard box and are available in all supermarkets and pet stores. Each box contains a generous amount of Bonio biscuits (about 30) and a box tends to last us a decent amount of time. A box of Bonio biscuits generally cost around the 1.60 (GBP) mark, which I think is very good value for money. I would recommend these chunky treats to all dog owners.
I took my daughter to the cinema to see Disney''s Brave a couple of years ago. In the following months she was hooked on the film! The film centres around a young Scottish princess called Merida who happens to be excellent at archery. I spotted the ''Brave Archery Set'' in The Disney Store and knew my daughter would love it. It cost 12.50 GBP which I thought was quite a reasonable price for an official Disney product that not only looked good but seemed like good fun. The set consists of a bow, 4 arrows and a holder (or ''quiver'' as it''s actually called). As expected my daughter loved it and was eager to play with it on Christmas day after unwrapping it! I thought it would prove a little tricky for her (she was only about 5 years old at the time) but she picked it up in no time, despite ME not being able to fire a single arrow! The arrows have suckers on the end of them and stick to most surfaces (you don''t need to get them wet before firing them either). I don''t particularly like her firing at the walls in case the arrows make marks so I usually get her to fire at doors and other wood/plastic surfaces. The whole set is good quality - the quiver is made from solid plastic and is very useful for storing the arrows away (it also has a thick adjustable strap for little ones to wear over their shoulder like Merida), the arrows are quite thin but well made and the bow is not only functional (and a generous size) but is decorated very nicely and looks just like Merida''s bow. My only personal downside is that one of our arrows snapped in half, however this was probably my daughters fault as it wasn''t stored in the quiver at the time. A year and a half on and my daughter still likes to regularly play with her Brave Archery Set. Overall I''d say this is a brilliant little set that all boys and girls of the film Brave are sure to love.
I took my daughter to see the new Tinkerbell movie (Tinkerbell & The Pirate Fairy) a month or two ago. She really enjoyed the movie and fell in love with a little crocodile character in it. The crocodile is just a baby and is VERY cute - he makes friends with the fairies and he actually turns out to be a young Tick Tock Crocodile from Peter Pan! Shortly after watching the movie I came across a Baby Croc Soft Toy in The Disney Store and knew my daughter would love it. The toy is a ''Disney Store Exclusive'' which means it cannot be bought anywhere else (there is an ''authentic, genuine, original Disney store'' patch sewn on to his belly to prove it!). I haven''t seen ANY Baby Croc toys being sold anywhere else so this is quite an original soft toy. Dooyoo have listed the Croc as ''small'' but it''s not very small at all. It''s actually quite a generous size and the perfect size for my daughter to get her arms round and cuddle up to! It''s really soft and smooth on the outside and is soft and squidgy inside (he also appears to have a squishy beanbag inside his tummy). He stands independently too. The Croc toy looks SO cute and just as he does in the movie - he''s green all over, has a long snout with tiny white teeth poking out and HUGE eyes. He also has an all over scaly effect which looks really good. My daughter adores him and regularly takes him to bed with her. Like all Disney Store soft toys, this toy is very good quality and seems very robust. I can imagine it will still be around in years to come. When a new Disney movie comes out in the cinemas/DVD the Disney Store tend to get a lot of merchandise in store for it. This sort of merchandise is very limited edition (in store for a few months and then gone forever), so if you want to get yourself a Baby Croc, make it QUICK! The Baby Croc Soft Toy costs 12 pounds which I think is pretty reasonable for a cute, cuddly, robust and authentic Disney toy.
I had been meaning to get around to trying the new Carex range of ''foody'' scented hand washes for a while. The time finally came a couple of months ago when I saw them on offer in Sainsbury''s! I stocked up with 3 different scented Carex hand washes - Cola Bottles, Chocolate Orange and Strawberry Laces. I haven''t yet tried the Chocolate Orange or Strawberry Laces but can say that I am thoroughly addicted to Cola Bottles! The hand wash comes in a 250ml transparent bottle and looks similar to the other Carex hand washes but with little cola bottles dotted over the front. It has a pump top and dispensing the hand wash is very easy and convenient. I wasn''t too convinced that the hand wash would smell like cola bottles but it really does. It''s an absolutely gorgeous scent that is very sweet and reminds me of my childhood! It doesn''t smell like Coca Cola (that doesn''t really have a smell) but smells very similar to the cheaper ''value'' colas and smells EXACTLY like cola bottle sweets. The bottle reads ''Family Favourite Fragrance'' which is completely true as everybody in my family loves the scent and I have noticed that my daughter hasn''t stopped washing her hands since I placed the Cola Bottles hand wash in the bathroom! I definitely think this is a great hand wash to encourage children to wash their hands more often. The bottle also states that the hand wash ''kills 99.9% of bacteria'' which is good to know (I don''t like hand washes that aren''t anti-bacterial). The hand wash recommends 2 pumps per wash but I generally find that 1 pump is enough for me. The hand wash lathers well and the smell is very apparent when using it. The scent also transfers well to the skin and appears to stay on my hands for up to thirty minutes. It is said to have ''added moisturisers'' and I must say I have experienced no problems with my skin whilst using this hand wash, my hands have always been left soft and smooth after use. Carex Cola Bottles Hand Wash normally costs around the 1.50 mark but can often be found on offer (I got mine for 80p) and is available at most supermarkets. I have been using my current bottle regularly for about a month and there is still quite a lot left, so it''s pretty good value for money too! I''m happy to recommend.
Downtown Disney can be found in the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. It''s not a Disney park but is infact a strip of shops, restaurants and general entertainment set along Lake Buena Vista. Also unlike the parks, Downtown Disney is free for everybody to enter and there is a big carpark which is also free to use. If you are staying at one of the Disney hotels you can catch a free bus to and from Downtown Disney. I remember visiting Downtown Disney as a child and it was quite small (just a couple of shops and a lake!) but now it''s HUGE. To walk the whole length of Downtown Disney, without stopping, would take around 15-20 minutes but there are so many things to capture your attention along the way that it took us a very long time! You can also catch small boats from one side to the other, which is nice but we had to wait a while for our boat to arrive. Downtown Disney is a nice place to spend the evenings, however in my experience it also gets very busy in the evenings so be aware of that if you''re looking for a quiet evening. We also visited during the day and it was much more relaxed and quiet (although I think the atmosphere is better at night). There are a great selection of varied restaurants and paces to eat that are family/child-friendly but also suitable for adults. The only downside with the restaurants is that during our visit we found that we couldn''t get a table at any of the places that we wanted to eat at. You MUST reserve a table at Downtown Disney if visiting in the evenings. A lot of the restaurants accept the Disney Dining Plan. Places to eat include T-Rex Cafe (dinosaur themed restaurant with real moving dinosaurs), Bongo''s Cuban Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe (and Wolfgang Puck Express which does pretty decent but simple food, without the usual need to make a reservation), The Smokehouse, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant, FoodQuest and Earl Of Sandwich. There''s a great selection of shops too. Disney decorate the inside and the outside of their shops so well that they''re a spectical in themselves! Most of the shops are Disney shops but some of them aren''t (such as the Fit2Run and Curl). Other shops include The Art Of Disney, Disney Design-a-Tee, Disney''s Days Of Christmas (an all year round Christmas shop), Disney''s Candy Cauldron, Mickey''s Pantry, Once Upon A Toy, Harley Davidson, World of Disney, Tren-D, The Spice & Tea Exchange, Sosa Family Cigars and The Lego Store (with a brilliant statue Toy Story lego statue outside). Entertainment includes Splitsville (bowling), AMC cinema, Cirque Du Soleil, House of Blues, Marketplace Corousel and much more! Watch out for the water squirters that come out of the ground at the entrance too. I definitely recommend a visit if visiting WDW, just be prepared to spend a fortune!
We recently made our first visit to Lagos Zoo in the south of Portugal. Despite the name 'Lagos' the zoo isn't actually situated in Lagos (it's just outside) and it's best to reach it by car. There are a few 'zoo' signs leading up to it but the actual entrance itself is quite concealed and not very obvious (look out for the big stone gorilla statue!). It has a small car park at the front. The zoo is open all year round (10am - 5pm October to March and 10am - 7pm April to September). Ticket prices are 16 euros for adults, 14 euros for over 65's, 12 euros for children (4-11 years) and free for under 4's. I feel that the ticket prices are quite reasonable and the under 4 allowance seems quite generous. We visited mid-week during UK school holidays and thought that the zoo would be busy but it wasn't. In fact throughout our visit we barely bumped in to a soul, it felt as though we had the place to ourselves! It's has a very peaceful and serene atmosphere, much different to many of our zoo's back home. I was quite surprised at the size of the zoo, it was much smaller than I thought it would be and didn't have as many animals as I had expected (no 'big' animals or big cats). It's not really a place where you can spend all day, two or three hours was plenty for us. Lagos Zoo is quite intimate, it doesn't do any shows or put on any displays like most zoo's tend to do (this might be disappointing to some but I think it's a nicer environment for the animals). The whole place is covered in lush vegetation and plants. It's quite pretty and there are plenty of shady places to take shelter from the sun. It wasn't built-up and commercialised, there wasn't even a souvenir shop at the end... although I think they were in the midst of opening one during our visit! There were 2 lots of toilets, we visited one lot of toilets by the farmyard which were unfortunately pretty run-down (they even had birds flying around in there!). There is a restaurant which is situated near the entrance of the zoo but we didn't even see it. There is also a snack bar where we purchased some drinks which seemed sufficient enough. Outside the snack bar was a small play park. There is also another (and slightly bigger) play park at the other side of the zoo.
Each enclosure we came across had information about each animal (translated in to English too) which was quite useful and interesting. The first animals we came to were reindeer. Most reindeer that I've experienced in zoo's tend to look quite tatty but these reindeer looked very healthy. The next selection of animals were birds. Lagos Zoo is home to an impressive number of different birds including Parrots, Macaws, Cranes, Hornbills, Owls, Flamingos, Vultures and Kookaburras. Our favourites were the Parrots, Mccaws and Rhinoceros Hornbills. I don't particularly like seeing birds in cages but all of the enclosures seemed quite spacious and many of them quite enriched so it wasn't too bad. There are a number of different ponds which have tortoises, fish and swans in them. Ducks and other birds (such as peacocks) also wander around the zoo. You can purchase food from machines for 1 euro to feed the fish, birds etc. Lagos Zoo is home to quite a few primates. Primates included Gibbons, Lemurs, Chimps, Marmosets, Squirrel Monkeys and Tamarins. I really liked the majority of the primate enclosures as they weren't caged. The smaller primates were caged but all of the bigger primates had islands to themselves (surrounded by a moat or pond) which seems like such a stress-free environment for them. Visitors can still get a good view of the primates but without invading their space. The downside to these enclosures is that they seem VERY escapable! Our favourite primates to watch were probably the playful gibbons. There were only a couple of areas which I weren't keen on - the first was the farmyard where you can pet the animals. None of the animals were endangered and I felt it was quite pointless having farm animals there. None of the enclosures were particularly big, most of them were overcrowded (I counted about 20 guinea pigs in one enclosure) and a lot of the animals were hot and panting (the sheep weren't sheered and had thick coats). Another thing that I was really unimpressed with was that there were a number of tiny baby goats in with a number of big rams (I have no idea why) - the rams were chasing and ramming the goats who were really scared. We had to tell a member of staff (we checked later on and they had been separated). The second thing I wasn't keen on was the Linx. The zoo had a lone Linx which was pacing around and looking very stressed. Other animals to see include Mara, Capybara, Wallabies, Prairie Dogs, Ocelot, Bobcat, a (small) crocodile, Iguanas, Porcupines, Snakes and Meerkats (my daughters favourites). My personal highlight was the Lyle's Flying Fox enclosure which you can walk through. The Flying Fox's are a type of bat and there were LOADS hanging from the roof of the enclosure. They were so intriguing to watch and you can get really close to them. As I've already mentioned, most of the enclosures seemed quite spacious and enriched which was nice to see. I especially liked the open enclosures. All of the animals looked healthy and most of them seemed stress free. The Lagos Zoo website does mention conservation, although I'm not really too sure what conservation efforts they make. They do seem to care greatly for their animals though.
Overall Lagos Zoo was a few hours well spent and I'm glad we visited. I probably wouldn't visit again for a while but I'd be happy to recommend this quiet little 'zoo' to others.
Schmackos are dog treats made by Pedigree. These aren't something which I buy too often, only now and again. They always seem to come in the Pedigree Dog Stocking around Christmas time. My spoilt dog always gets at least a couple of Pedigree Dog Stockings so we always have Schmackos in the house during December/January.
They come in chicken or beef flavours (you can also buy mixed meat packs). My dogs stomach is more suited to poultry than red meat so we generally opt for the chicken Schmackos.
These treats are quite generously sized - quite long (about 4 inches long and an inch wide) but very thin. They are a brown colour and are quite smooth. I like smooth treats like this because they don't have crumbs and don't make a mess which make them ideal for sticking in my pocket when we go out for walks. They don't have much of a smell either.
Pedigree Schmackos come in a small 86g foil packet and contain 10 Schmackos (you can also buy 172g packets that contain 20 Schmackos). The packet has a resealable tab and seems sufficient at keeping the treats fresh. There isn't a size recommendation so these treats are apparently suitable for all dogs.
The Schmackos are surprisingly soft but quite chewy too. They are not hard treats and I imagine they would be suitable for all breeds, even those with sensitive or ageing teeth. You can break the Schmackos in to bits if you want to feed in smaller portions or want to make the treats last longer (or for smaller dog).
The ingredients of the chicken Schmackos include meat and animal derivatives (31% meat), derivatives of vegetable origin, minerals, cereals, various sugars, antioxidants, oils and fats. There isn't anything too worrying in this list, except for the unnecessary various sugars. They are said to contain added 'omega 3, vitamins and calcium' (maintaining healthy teeth, bones and natural defences) which is good to know. They're also quite high in protein (30%) and contain no artificial colours or flavours.
My dog seems to like Schmackos very much and will do anything to get his paws on one. I find they're very good for bribing... I mean TRAINING your dog. I usually feed my dog Schmackos whole (he's a large dog) as a reward or just as a treat. However if we're out on walks or I'm attempting to train him to do something specific then I usually tear them in to pieces (so 10 pieces instead of 10 whole Schmackos!). My dog is stupidly friendly but when out on walks he can be quite odd with other dogs, I believe that rewarding him with treats such as Schmackos for good behaviour has really made our walks much more successful and enjoyable in recent years. I'd say the only real downside for us is that the Schmackos are very thin and my dog eats them very quickly, he usually eats a whole Schmacko in just a few seconds! I'm sure they would last slightly longer with smaller and less greedy dogs...
Pedigree Schmackos are widely available at most supermarkets and pet stores. Packs of 10 cost around £1.00 per packet (or around £1.60 for packs of 20). Although one pound wont break the bank I still think they are a little on the pricey side considering you can buy a whole box of biscuits or large treats for the same price, plus my dog gets through them so quickly!