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Take plenty of money!
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Member Name: mreyre
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Date: 04/04/02, updated on 04/04/02 (5941 review reads)
Advantages: very spacious, very clean and well kept gardens, loads to do in sunny weather
Disadvantages: very expensive extras!, mostly outdoors, so pray for sunshine
I have just returned from a trip to Twycross Zoo with my wife, daughter (3 and-a-half) and mother-in-law. We decided to go on Good Friday (2002), and so it seems, did the rest of the population. The weather was glorious for an Easter weekend in the UK, which really made the day even more enjoyable.
Twycross Zoo is about half an hour away from my wife's former residence in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, so whilst visiting our relatives this Easter, we decided to pay a visit, with Nanny's purse open! The zoo is well signposted - just follow the brown "touristy" signs, with an elephant on them.
Upon arrival at the zoo, the road got quite busy, with cars coming from either direction to get into the Zoo. The zoo opens at 10 a.m., and if you want to make the most of the day out, I advise getting there plenty early enough. Luckily, a helpful chap came out onto the road to direct the traffic, as road rage would have been inevitable! The hold up must have been the sheer volume of traffic all trying to get into the zoo at the same time.
The problem being that once you have driven down the entrance driveway, you have to pay at a little booth. The prices are currently £6.50 for adults, £4.50 for children (under 3’s free), and £5 for senior citizens. It is also a further £1 to park your car, which I find a bit of a cheek, but there you go. Therefore, it cost a grand total of £25 for the four of us, which isn’t too bad in today’s economic climate! Therefore, it helps to know the admission prices before hand and have the cash on you, to pay at the little booth. This will then alleviate the traffic jam on entry (with people paying on credit card).
At first, I thought all that palava was a bit of a pain, as we were queuing for quite a while to get in, but actually it does help your day. Once through the barrier, you are then free to return to your car as often as you like. People with young children will appr
eciate how beneficial this is, as you do not want to carry zillions of accessories around with you all day. We took a picnic with us, as did many others, in fact, some even ate their picnic in the car park – so being able to return to the car is very useful in this case.
Once in the Zoo, I was amazed by how large an area it actually covers. If possible, I would advise leaving the pushchairs at home as the paths were quite gravelly. I would imagine that wheelchairs are also hard to push, too, so bear this in mind. It was good to let my daughter run around everywhere without fear of her being run over, and let off some steam!
The gardens are very well kept, the Zoo must have a superb ground force to keep the flowers and borders looking so colourful. The animals are kept in very clean cages or runs, with plenty of room for them to run about, and they all looked very happy and well cared for! The most spectacular attractions were the family of giraffes, which my daughter absolutely loved, and the family of elephants. It is quite unusual to see elephants in Zoos these days, and they are quite magnificent creatures – it was a joy to see them this close up. Lucy was really disappointed that she could not feed them!
The Zoo has many different types of monkeys, but sadly no longer the PG Tips monkeys which were once so famous. There are also penguins and seals, and all the usual zoo-type animals. We spent a good three hours or so looking at all the animals, which kept my three year old amused.
We then had our picnic. Unfortunately, we thought that there was a distinct lack of picnic benches, but as the grass was dry, we sat on a grassy area with other families. As for the eateries, they looked quite average for this type of attraction – mostly chips and hot dogs I’m afraid, with very long queues. Perhaps in less busy times, the queues are shorter. I would definitely advise taking a picnic, and also a rug to sit on.
After the picnic, we had a further look around at more animals, then made our way to the adventure playground area. This is a relatively new addition to the Zoo, and is great for children to let off steam, particularly if you have a long journey home to make in the car. There is a separate section for under 6 year olds, with benches for parents to sit on. There are plenty of slides and apparatus to keep the little ones happy. However, my daughter, being the adventurous type, soon set off to discover the older children’s area and had much more fun playing in the section for 12 year olds. (as children do!)
However, on the way to the playground is where the title of this review comes in. There is a section which is the home to several “fairground” type rides. Now, I was quite disgusted to find that they were 80p per ride. After an entrance fee, this seemed to us to be rather cheeky and steep. As Nanny’s purse was open, it saved us a few quid, but that is not the point. Lucy went on all six rides, which equates to a further £4.80. Then, she spied the donkey rides, which was a further 80p. The donkeys are lovely, but the ride was very short and not really worth the money, in my opinion.
Also on the way to the adventure playground was a train which goes in a circular route around part of the zoo. This usually has three carriages, but only two were working on our day of visit, so the queues were very long. Also, guess what – yes, this was not free either. £1 per person. (under three’s free.) Therefore, another £4 for a five minute train ride.
I’m not sure how they justify charging for all these extra attractions when the admission prices are fairly high anyway, I would rather pay one price and everything is all in. For example, a day ticket to Butlins costs say £10, but once you are through the gates, you can go on the fairground rides as often as you want, and people do not abuse this priviled
More cost came in the form of the usual ice cream – another £4 to feed everyone. Finally, the trip to the souvenir shop. I thought the prices were really extortionate, but people were spending all sorts! Again, Nanny with her purse provided Lucy with 3 model giraffes and a snake for £10.80, which I personally thought was a rip-off, but Nanny’s think differently, obviously.
Therefore, in total, for 3 adults and 1 child, the day trip cost around £50. Not bad, I suppose, when you compare it to Alton Towers or Legoland, but still quite a lot of money to look at some elephants and to play in a playground, in my opinion.
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