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A trip to the zoo
Member Name: ruthiejane1
Advantages: In the heart of London
Disadvantages: No left luggage
We recently had a weekend in London - we don't often get down to the effluent south from our home in North Wales. We spent Friday afternoon at London Zoo, paid for with vouchers from that Nice Mr Tesco's Clubcard Deals.
We found that there were helpful signs from the Tube station through Regents Park. Sadly as we had just arrived by train we still had our luggage with us and the zoo doesn't have anywhere to leave bags so we had to carry them round with us.
Each animal had an informative information panel; these were unobtrusive but often gave hints as to where to look if the animal wasn't immediately obvious. The first part of the zoo included African animals such as hunting dogs and warthogs. Later we saw lions, giraffes, pygmy hippo, apes and many more.
We didn't see the otters - they were all inside - and a poster explained that the window to their indoor quarters was closed as they had new babies. This seemed very fair and I was glad of the explanation.
One of the few things I remembered about London Zoo from my childhood was the penguin enclosure - I think I remember it being on Blue Peter in the 1980s after it was refurbished. It was designed by an architect in the 1920s with ramps going down and round in to the pool. It clearly is no longer deemed suitable for penguins as they were elsewhere. I loved the fact that the pool had been filled straw and mud, and now houses the porcupines. They made use of the ramps as hiding spaces.
Having been on a long train journey in the morning I was thirsty and was disappointed to find that none of the vending machines dotted around had water - they only had coke and other fizzy drinks.
I think my favourite part was walking through the butterfly house - surrounded by butterflies flying free and landing on people as well as the flowers and plants in the warm and humid tent structure they live in.
You could also walk through an area where the spider monkeys played - no bars, glass or wire mesh between you and the monkeys.
The zoo makes a small mention in the reptile house of the Harry Potter film being made there, but it's not OTT.
We really enjoyed our afternoon out; it really didn't feel like being in the heart of London, until we got outside the gates and walked back to the tube station.
Summary: A really enjoyable day out, even without any children.
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