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Day out where the PG Chimps were from
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Member Name: lilythepink
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Advantages: Small and friendly, lots of monkeys but elephants and giraffes too
Disadvantages: Take a picnic - food facilities not brilliant, doesn't have tigers
I remember tycross zoo fondly from childhood. I remember attending chimps tea parties (no longer done for animal welfare reasons though they were always very well treated) here and always looking forward to the next visit.
The zoo was founded in 1963 by Molly Badham - who brought some of the original chimps up in her own house. The chimps who were the stars of PG Tips were originally from Twycross - and the chimps tea parties were one of the main attractions at the zoo for years.
The zoo has now evolved into a well run attraction (it became a charitable trust some years ago) - the animals have space (or as much as a zoo can provide) and are kept in clean and stimulating environments. The main function of Twycross though is the conservation work, research and education. They hold the largest collection of primates in Europe. As well as school events, they have special activity days for older children (8-11) in the school summer holidays - booking essential (see the website for more detail).
My son loved the place - it was so much easier for a toddler (2.5 years) to get around Twycross than London Zoo. And although there arent many big cats there are some Lions plus the giraffes and Elephants. He enjoyed watching the penguins and sealions, as well as listening to the racket that the gibbons make. There was more than enough for him to see and do during the day. Apart from the elephants and the giraffes and the monkeys and the chilean pudu (and all the other animals) he loved the adventure playground - this would be a great spot to have a picnic. There are also various rides (that are not free), a miniature train and crazy golf.
My only gripe would be the catering facilities - I went at the beginning of the season so to be fair not everywhere was open. The cafe near the entrance to the park was the only option, and there was not much healthy food on show for either adults or children. This might be slightly different in peak season but if I were going again I would take a packed lunch.
I would advise arriving as early as possible to avoid any queues (there were absolutely no queues on the day I went but it was not in the school holidays).
Summary: Small but lots to do, easy to get around in a pram, good day out
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