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Good Zoo but sly with entrance fees!
Member Name: fragglerock2006
Advantages: Lots of animals, nice surroundings
Disadvantages: Expensive to get in and to buy food
We visit Chester Zoo a few times a year as it's only 1/2hour's drive away.
Where is it?
Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1LH
They have low,mid and high seasons.
Adult prices range from £13.60-£16.90
Children prices range from £9.90-£12.45
2's and under are Free.
10am - 4pm/5pm ( depending on time of year)
The elephants are amazing, there are right in front of you as you walk in, it's quite a big enclosure and you can walk around it all and see them from all angles. There is also a bridge that you cross, that you can stand on and look down at them, a great viewpoint to take photo's from. They have a few old ele's that have been with them for years, but they also have babies every time we go there - I'm guessing they have a few randy males in the herd!
They have a monorail, you have to pay extra for this but I'd say it's worth going on once.
There is a huge playground that children absolutely love, it really is a good one. I always think it's a shame in a way though, because you are there to see the animals and it's hard to get children away from parks sometimes.
They always have plenty of animal talks/shows/feedings going on, which are free to watch.
The bat cave is pretty scary, and actually rather smelly - you walk into pitch darkness, it's a huge undercover, enclosure filled with fruitbats. They sweep past your heads, actually touching you, it gives me the willies, I'm sure they get some twisted pleasure in making girls scream.
The Panther/Jaguar house is really good, it's actually sponsored by Jaguar and you can see they've definitely spent the money on it.
My massive irritation with Chester Zoo is that the prices I've quoted above include a £1.50+ donation each. There is also a standard (normal) fare, but if you just go upto the kiosk and ask for 4 tickets they will charge you all the donation price. You have to physically tell them you want to pay the standard fare! I think this is really sly.
I really really don't want to come across uncharitable ( I'm always giving to charity and I fundraise for cancer research.) but it is quite expensive to get into Chester Zoo anyway. When there's 5 of you visiting, that's an extra £7.50 which is a lot, especially in these times of recession. I think they are counting on you not wanting to look awful by declaring that you want to pay the standard price.
Again, it is really expensive to buy something to eat there - I know it's hardly surprising, most tourist attractions are. But the food isn't even appealing, just your usual pre-packed and over priced sandwiches, and fast food. I'd take a picnic if I were you, if you're taking children they'd prefer this and it would be healthier, there are plenty of tables outside, or there's a large grassy area by the park that we like to lay out on.
A last point, I don't know whether this is good or bad, but the Zoo is huuuuge, you really couldn't see everything in one day, so you either end up missing half of it or having to go back again to see the rest. I'd print out a map from the website and plan what you'd like to see before you go.
Unless you really love fish, I'd sacrifice the aquarium for something more interesting.
Summary: Nice day out that will last all day but take a picnic and don't be afraid to pay standard price!
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