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Member Name: AlexisR
Advantages: Dinosaurs were almost entertaining.
Disadvantages: Too many to list, high food cost and prohibitive entery costs to name a few.
I felt compelled to write after visiting Chester zoo on Sunday the 25th of August and coming away thoroughly disappointed.
We had been visiting Wales and decided to stop off at the zoo on the way back home to Sheffield for a combined treat of my birthday and also for the benefit of my twin 6 year old girls. We managed to park with relative ease but then it all started to head downhill after that. The person at the entry till told me the entry fee would be £50 for a family of four, it wasn't until looking at the price board adjacent to the till that I realised this would be £5 higher than the normal price because he had also added on 10% for some kind of conservation? I suspect the zoo knows full well that we, as the public, do not always listen to what people are saying for the first few seconds of any conversation in situations such as these as they are rarely relevant and if they were to ask us first if we wanted to contribute they also know our answer would be mostly "no". My answer was "no" and as a result the price came back down to £45.
How did they work out that 10% of £45 was £5 anyway? Where is the extra 50 pence going and more to the point where is the £45 going if some is not going back into conservation for the zoo?
When we got into the zoo it soon dawned on us that the situation wasn't going to improve. The map that was provided to us was completely inadequate. Dotting Rhino's over the grounds of the zoo and no differentiating breeds on the wooden signs just served to confuse us and with no clear guide of the path we were on we spent more time lost than knowing where we were going.
The monkeys were our first port of call where after struggling through the crowds we realised that the reflective glass made it near impossible to see parts of the cage much to the dismay of my young children, while we are talking about monkeys the display for the miniature monkeys had so much condensation on it it was difficult to see anything but a small section of the cage.
We thought the monorail may provide a better view of the zoo only to discover we would have to pay again to use this service, was £45 of our money not enough to provide a free rail service for the short distance? Added to that the journey was spoiled again by a distinct lack of animals and a loud tannoy that seemed to bear little relation to where we were on the track and where it was saying that animals were meant to be. So you don't lose count, the total spent is now £52.
After spending a little more time lost we decided to go and find something to eat. I wasn't going to be Oakfield house as we found that closed, maybe the Acorn pub? No, that was closed to...so were a variety of other premises. The option we were left with was an obscenely expensive cafe which had queues going back out of the entry door. Since the other option was leaving the zoo to find food we decided to brave the queue and wait our turn. I had a BBQ Chicken Panini and my partner had a Tuna Melt Ciabatta. We didn't feel it was unreasonable after spending around £5 for a single sandwich that we may find a small garnish, or maybe a real plate to eat off but alas, we were deprived of both. My children had a snack box and this seemed to represent better value and with retrospect I wish I had just got one of those instead. That "meal", including a scone and two cups of tea came to £23! The total is now up to £83.
After leaving the cafe, hungry I should add, we decided to try and find our way back only to fail miserably because of the awful maps that were provided. Because my partner was ill and unable to walk far ( she was also sick of getting lost) we had to take the mono rail back again at another cost of £7, we're now on a total of £90.
Overall I feel cheated, it should have been a great day out for me and my family and turned out to be one of stress and trouble. The dinosaurs were a small saving grace but I certainly wouldn't pay £90 for a family of four to see them which is effectively what it cost.
Definitely not recommended!
Summary: Avoid and take your money elsewhere.
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