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Lions and Tigers and...where are the bears?
Member Name: Brooke3
Advantages: Interesting animals, child friendly, accessible to wheelchair users
-Going to London Zoo-
I have recently moved away from London and decided that on my very last day living in London my best friend and I should visit the zoo. I had spent nearly two years working just up the road from the zoo and had never visited it. I just thought it was one of those things that I should do before I left. Fortunately the weather was warm on my last day so we took a short tube journey to Camden Town and decided to have a pub lunch before visiting the zoo. By the time we left the pub the weather had changed completely but that's the UK for you and being former Swansea residents we weren't going to let the threat of rain scare us away.
Getting to London Zoo could not be easier. If you take the tube to Camden Town underground station and then walk down parkway you will see signs all along the road for the zoo.
There weren't really any queues when we visited the zoo, even though it was still summer holidays. There were plenty of people on the gate and they were all very helpful, showing people where to go and answering questions.
It is expensive to get into the zoo. An adult ticket costs £18 but if you travel by train you can get buy one get one free. My friend and I took advantage of this offer but in all honesty I wouldn't be complaining if I had paid £18 to get in, it is expensive but it's totally worth it.
When we first entered the zoo we picked up a map. We shouldn't have bothered because neither of us are very good at reading maps and we weren't really very organised. We knew which animals we wanted to see but being like overgrown children and too excited (pathetically excited if I'm honest) to sit down for a minute and plan out a route we just darted around from one animal to another, regardless of whether or not there were animals we wanted to see in between them.
The zoo was very easy to get around because it's actually quite small. The map makes it look a lot bigger than it is and because of this the map isn't much help. We tried following the map at one point only to discover that while the map made it look like two things were far away from each other they were practically next door. Instead of using the map we just followed the signposts around the zoo. Everything is very well signposted and the only thing we had any real difficulty finding was the penguins.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed watching all of the animals. Although I did want to visit the zoo I actually couldn't see the attraction of spending a couple of hours just staring at animals so I went along more for the novelty of the experience than any real interest in animals but I was so wrong. I enjoyed it so much that I would happily spend another afternoon in the zoo.
We visited the aquarium and my first reaction was that it wasn't that interesting but then the further in you go the better it is. There is such a wide variety of fish on display and many of them are very pretty (some of them are also very ugly). My favourite part of the aquarium was the coral reefs. They are just so beautiful and since I found out that they're actually living things I've found them fascinating. In the aquarium there is a lot of information available about the various fish and how climate change is affecting them and the coral reef. This is a subject that I know very little about and the amount of information given was perfect for someone like me. It was very accessible and written in a way that anyone could understand and I thought this was great, a wonderful way to raise awareness of these things.
My favourite section of the zoo was Gorilla Kingdom. There are a number of different primates on display here and I could have spent the whole afternoon watching them. They're just so interesting. I know that when you see monkey's and gorilla's on television you can see how like humans they are but it still really struck me how human like they are. I am not an animal person and neither is my friend but we both loved the monkey's and the gorilla's. This part of the zoo did get quite crowded and it was at times difficult to get a good view of the animals but it's worth waiting around for your turn at the front.
Other animals that I particularly liked seeing were the lions, tigers and penguins. There weren't really any crowds to see these animals which was a bonus but this was probably because they were outside whereas gorilla kingdom and the aquarium were inside and it was not a warm day. Regardless of the weather it was a great being able to watch these animals without having to fight our way to the front of the crowd to do so. I really never thought that I would be so content just to look at animals wandering around a cage but they are just such magnificient animals and where else could you possibly get that close to them without being in danger? (I'm talking about the lions and tigers here and not the penguins.)
I did enjoy seeing the other animals in the zoo too but they weren't anywhere near as impressive as the ones that I've listed. The only disappointment was "Meet the Monkey's". This is part of the zoo where the monkey's are free to roam around but unfortunately they didn't want to roam while we were there and instead stayed in their cage. It was very disappointing but not something I would hold against the zoo and of course if they didn't want to be meeting people then it's better they do what makes them happy.
I did have a slight problem with the size of the cages. I know that London Zoo does a lot of good for animals and that it's much better they're in the zoo than extinct. On a selfish note I'm happy that the animals are there to be seen. But it seemed that some of the cages were just so small. I'm sure the experts know more than me and that the animals wouldn't be kept in cages of that size if they were too small, it was just a concern that I had. I particularly didn't like how low the birds had to fly and thought they could perhaps have the cage a bit higher.
The zoo is accessible to wheelchair users.
The zoo is very child focused. Throughout the zoo there are lots of things for children to climb and play on. There is also an area called animal adventure which is baically a big play area with animals in. I was so impressed with this area, it made me wish that I was a child again. There were tunnels that children could crawl through that would take them into a bubble in the middle of an animal enclosure, animals that children could stroke and various other fun and interactive things.
-Eating and Shop-
There are places to eat but as with most attractions they're expensive. The selection of food seemed to be quite impressive but as we had already had a pub lunch and were planning on a curry for dinner we didn't have anything at the zoo.
The shop had some interesting things for sale, most of it was animal related of course and there were plenty of zoo souvenirs.
Overall I had a wonderful day. I was surprised at how interesting most of the animals were. It is expensive but discounts are available and it's worth every penny.