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Brilliant Bristol Zoo !!
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Member Name: xjemloux
Bristol Zoo Gardens
I've been wanting to take my twins on a day trip somewhere all year but I'm limited as to what I can do with 21 month twins on my own especially as I don't drive. I asked my darling 15 year old brother if he fancied a trip somewhere and we both agreed on Bristol Zoo as it was a fair distance to go to get us out of Newport for a few hours as a break yet not too far to struggle with two babies.
A FEW FACTS
Bristol Zoo is open daily from 9 to 5.30 peak time and closing at 5pm off peak. It is shut on Christmas day!
These prices include the voluntary donation;
Child (3-14) 7.75
Under 3 - Free
How to get there
You can get to the Zoo by train, bus and car. As I live in Newport and don't drive I can only really tell you about the bus journey. I get off my train in Bristol Temple Meads train station and just as I go outside there are buses which stop there, either 8, 8a, 9 or 9a, you can get on either of these buses there or back as they drop you off right opposite the zoo or pick you up from the bus stop right outside.
If you are interested in travelling by car I have found directions on the Bristol Zoo's very own website, these being;
From the M5: J17 take the A4018 then follow brown elephant signs. From Bristol City Centre: follow the brown elephant signs and/or signs to Clifton.
Before paying a visit to Bristol Zoo I find it worthwhile to google any offers or even look on Bristol Zoo's own website to see what offers are available. This week when I went they had an offer on that if you travel by train and you can print off a First Great Western voucher you could pay two for one on entry so long as you had both your voucher and your train tickets.
When you pay you are provided with a map to guide you through the zoo and help prevent you from getting lost - although I would say there are signposts dotted about almost everywhere pointing you in directions of many areas of the zoo so hard to get lost as well as the fact it is not an overly huge zoo so it won't take you all day to find the exit.
When you enter the zoo you immediately walk through the giftshop selling extortionately priced gifts such as named mugs and cups, keyrings, puzzles, soft toys - most of this in an animal theme. Such a clever yet annoying place to stick the shop. Clever as you have no choice but to walk through it whether you are entering or leaving, whether you like gifts or not you are instantly drawn in by bright colours and odd shapes it's hard not to take a peek, and even harder to get past the crowds.
You don't have a certain trail to follow when visiting the zoo and can spend as long as you like venturing through and enjoying every aspect like I try to. I will try name some of the most fascinating scenes and activities that you can pay a visit too when you're at Bristol Zoo.
Zona Brazil - Here you follow a wooden path to discover the threatened species that would otherwise be found at coastal rainforests of Brazil. It is a little humid inside the building but quite interesting to look at. Everything about each area is realistic and wonderful, this one is no different. It is replicating a forest, with giant leaves, trees and branches and many animals scurry around and within them - these contain animals such as giant rodents otherwise known as the capybara and even birds.
Twilight World - Here you find yourself inside a building which does become quite dark and small. All the nocturnal animals are housed here including naked mole rats which worried me a little they were the strangest creatures, sand cats, rats and mice as well as bats.
Aquarium - Surrounded by tanks large and small you enjoy the beautiful underwater world of fish. So many colours, sizes and shapes some beautiful and some shockingly ugly. One of these many fish include Clown Fish - Have you seen Nemo? He's a clown fish!
Asiatic Lions - Behind glass and many trees you can see two Lions, one female and one male. Sometimes it can be difficult to see them behind all the bushes and trees but once they are out near the glass they really are an astonishing sight. You can sometimes watch the Lions be fed which is amazing as you sense the hunger and the want in these strong yet beautiful animals. There is just a glass pane between you and these lions sometimes which can be a little startling but its a brilliant experience.
Butterfly World - This is a building that reminds me of one of those garden centres that are randomly placed on a motorway somewhere lol. When you step inside you are greeted and almost attacked by flowers and greenery with butterflies all different colours and sizes flying around. Beware as they show you no mercy and are willing to fly at anything as well as land anywhere. If bugs give you the creeps and flying things make you squeamish I would avoid walking in here.
Primate Enclosure - A large glass enclosure full of branches and ropes containing orangutangs and other monkeys who swing about playfully and gleefully.
Flamingos - Situated in a huge enclosed area you walk through the doors across a small wooden pathway but here you can stand and admire the (pale) pink flamingos flitting around in their very own pool and river.
The Monkey Area - Here in large glass protected areas are branches and bushes full of various monkeys swinging and hanging, they are very entertaining to watch. You then come to the gorillas who can either be inside behind their glass or outside on their very own climbing frames and swings.
Seals and Penguins - I really enjoy this area you get to follow a wooden bridge past all of the penguins in their designated area containing water and pebbles it is a stunning sight and the penguins are plentiful. As you carry on walking you come to the other side where the seals are either laying on rocks, playing with the waterfall or swimming freely upwards and under trying to entertain. As you carry on walking you can either cut off straight back to the rest of the zoo or you can continue your walk underground where you are faced with a giant pane of glass so if the seals are swimming underneath you can see them in action swimming gracefully yet playfully underneath. You then walk under tunnels under the water which is a little blurry to look through but when the seals swim past it is amazing to see them so close.
There are many birds scattered around for you to look at too especially in the bird forest, including the Lorikeets (such colourful birds) which you are able to feed which can be great fun for adults and children alike. This is part of the new area in the zoo called Explorers Creek - there is a water play section for children, a bird house and the walk through parrot feeding area.
Throughout the zoo to stop your kids getting bored (not that they will) or just to add a bit of extra fun there are challenges dotted about such as 'How fast can you run' where each child runs down a specific strip and their speed is recorded on the screen in front of them - a bit of competition and fun and games for the young'uns!
There is an activity centre for children too which is run by volunteers.
There is a park for kids to play on and an assault course which involves walking along a course high up in the air and gliding down to the ground when you've finished.
Even younger children are catered for as there are a few rides near the cafe, of course it is pay per ride, and there is also a merry go round too!
The zoo is wheelchair friendly, which also means prams are able to be taken too - although prams can cause alot of problems. Me being somebody who took a pram of course, a double one too I found it quite difficult when it was busy to manouvre the buggy around certain areas without bumping into somebody or somebody getting in the way. If you manage to go on a quieter day (not in the summer holidays in other words lol) it should be a breeze walking about.
It is quite tiring walking about taking in all the excitement so luckily there are plenty of benches and seating areas scattered around for a break, grassy areas are plentiful if you are planning on sitting down in a large area for a picnic maybe - especially handy if you're taking your own food. If you do not plan on taking your own food there is a cafe, which as you have probably guessed is quite pricey but they provide both hot and cold foods. There are plenty of toilets and baby changing rooms available which always seem cleaned and well looked after. Vending machines are also dotted around here and there containing snacks, ice creams and drinks. If a picnic, the cafe of the vending machine is not your thing they often open a gazebo where they can cook BBQ style food such as Burgers or Hotdogs!
Bristol Zoo attracts many including animal lovers, day trippers, families, large groups such as school kids etc as not only is it a brilliant day out but it is educational too. Staff at Bristol Zoo often do talks about their animals, their times can either be found on boards within the zoo or in the maps provided.
Everything is laid out to make it easy to navigate around the zoo and it's enclosures without getting totally lost.
Although the zoo can seem quite small there is plenty to do and often I have walked out thinking did I really take it all in, I tend to rush round at first with all the excitement and then take a slower walk around to really enjoy the sights and the animals we have been provided with. This Zoo really has provided many fun and enjoyable days out for both adults and children in my family. There is so much to do and despite the fact it's not the biggest zoo there are some amazing things to see and fun things to do! It is definitely worth every penny you pay upon entry and for those people who like to visit regularly it may be worth looking up the Memberships where you pay an annual fee.
If you would like to find out more about Bristol Zoo Gardens then visit their site, http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/. I'd reccomend this as a day out to absolutely anbody it's fantastic fun!
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