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A day out....Why not monkey around with me!
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Member Name: MandyMinx
Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)
Date: 19/01/04, updated on 19/01/04 (3020 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, educational, fun
In an ideal world I would love the opportunity to introduce my children to these wonderful animals in their natural habitat, but seeing as so many of them are sadly now rare and protected species and I am no closer to winning the lottery and being able to afford a trip around the world, the local zoo is the next best thing. I do feel it is important that my children see these animals, if only to help them understand that when we talk about animals facing extinction they are living, breathing things, not just two dimentional pictures on the internet and in books.
Twycross Zoo opened to the public in 1963. The zoo was the brainchild of Molly Badham and Nathalie Evans, who started out as the owners of a humble pet shop and now own what is in fact the 5th largest zoo in Great Britain. It houses the UK's best primate collection and is acclaimed by zoologists and conservationists throughout the world for its success in breeding endangered animals.
What else are they famous for? Remember the chimpanzees on the PG Tips advertisements? Well they live here too.
Being a big zoo, this place has to have a big car park. It has, hu
ge in fact. What's really good about it is that there are plenty of attendants to help you out if you have trouble finding a place to park. We have visited at all times of the year and although in the summer it can get very busy, we have never had to wait for more than 10 minutes to get into the zoo itself. The zoo is in the open countryside and spans over 40 acres. It is well planned though and you never have to walk far to the next exhibit.
Leaving the car park behind you, the first thing you come to at Twycross Zoo is the toilets. Oh, what a fabulous idea. Someone has thought about the needs of its clients. Lots of buses and coaches travel to the zoo everyday. If you have kids, you will know that usually the first thing they want to do when they get out of the car if go to the loo. The toilets are spacious, accessible and clean. Kids sorted out, hands washed and it's off to find the animals.
I don't know about you, but in my family we all have our favourites. For me it is the Monkeys, so cute and so interesting to watch. Monkeys are unpredictable and get up to all sorts of naughty things. I remember going to the zoo once and a rather vicious looking spider monkey took a liking to the ice cream that one of the children had in their hands. Before we knew what was happening it had swung down from the branches of the tree it was sitting in and threw itself at the glass, protecting it from us and vice versa. Well my son was only little at the time and the ice cream was launched into the air at top speed as he ran off screaming. Bless him, it was funny though. If monkeys are your thing then you have definitely come to the right place. My personal favourite is the Howler Monkey. We always seem to get to the zoo around feeding time and the noise that these monkeys make is hilarious.
For Mark, it is the big cats that he loves to see. Lions, tigers and leopards. You can see them all at Twycross zoo. For those of you that are
worried about caged animals I have to say that the living quarters of these animals are big and spacious and I love the way that you have the opportunity to look at them inside and out, through the glass windows that are fitted into each exhibit. Alongside each animal are displays that tell of the animals natural habitat, its eating and mating habits. Conservation is a big factor with any good zoo and Twycross is no exception, many of the displays are there to make the visitor more aware of the plight, in the wild of each of the creatures on display. Feeding times are well signposted and while I could think of nothing I would rather see less than watching a big cat polish off something dead and smelly, the boys were fascinated.
Gemma is a sucker for all the baby animals on show and as I have already said, Twycross does a lot of work to breed many of their animals in captivity. The last time we went to Twycross Zoo a new baby elephant had been born. He was so cute, although I wouldn't exactly call him tiny. He had a hairy little back and cute floppy ears. The children were enchanted. There is a nursery where the baby chimps play. It was lovely to watch them on their little climbing frames with their soft toys and teddies. Watching them it was easy to compare them to our own children as toddlers.
For my youngest it was the Reptile house that held the most appeal, especially the young crocodiles. There is an extra charge for the reptile house, but it was only about 20p and went towards a conservation project that was just getting off the ground, so there were no complaints. This is another area of the zoo that I ran around, rather than walked. I hate spiders and anything that resembles one. This is my idea of hell and I could have won a medal for the speed that I shot around the whole exhibit. It's really hot too, too hot for hanging around.
Mark Junior likes the giraffes. There were four of them the last time we went.
I do like them and will stand for ages watching them outside in the enclosure, stretching their necks for the leaves, held high in baskets on the top of telegraph poles. The bit about the giraffes that puts me off is that obligatory visit to the inside of the giraffe house. Have you ever smelt a giraffe? No? Well I can tell you they really stink. Again, this is another place that I run through rather than walk.
Other animals we love to see are the orangutan's, (Gemma has an English teacher with bright red hair and she swears he is related.) the seals and penguins (I was able to arrange for the boys to go in with a keeper and feed them with a big bucket of fish. What an experience!) and of course my other favourites, the otters. Make sure you visit the gorilla house too. Very impressive.
I did mention the PG Tips chimpanzees didn't I? Well like I said they live here, at Twycross Zoo. They are much bigger than they look on the TV I can tell you. Last time we went, the kids were in stitches because one of them had a piece of bright red plastic he had pulled from a cup and was trying desperately to stick it up his bum. It's amazing the things that you remember isn't it?
There is an education centre with lots of touchy feely exhibits for the children to explore, of course learning more about the world as they do so. My kids love it.
Everything at the zoo is well signposted, but if you are worried there is a really attractive guidebook available that not only gives you lots of information about the animals on show but also makes a really great keepsake too.
There are two gift shops, one pricey and one much more reasonable. A couple of pounds will buy you a keepsake from the zoo and the proceeds all go to help the animals. There are lots of ice cream vendors, a coffee shop and a restaurant, a snack shop, selling hot dogs and burgers and a licensed bar. Prices are reasonable and the food is good.
Picnic tables ar
e spread all over the zoo, but to be honest it is so pretty and well maintained that we often settle under a tree to eat our lunch in the shade. The only trouble we have ever had has been with the wasps that hang around in the summer. One day in particular I sent the air bright blue with the string of obscenities that escaped me as I was bombarded by the nasty buzzing, crawling things. (Yes, I know I am a wuss!)
For the little ones there is a small ride area, donkey rides, a train ride and a massive adventure playground with a picnic area. There is also a petting zoo and an indoor soft play area.
Twycross Zoo is more than a day out, it's an education. So much to see, so much to do, so much to be learnt and if you want to make the day even more special they have a really good animal adoption scheme that would make a fantastic present for anyone.Like most British zoos, Twycross receives no government funds and relies entirely on money spent by visitors to continue its work
I would recommend Twycross Zoo as a day out for everyone. The whole park is accessible for disabled people. All the paths are even and level and the toilets and amenities are clean and spacious. Baby changing rooms are abundant and there are toilets dotted all over the zoo.
If you are planning a visit, the zoo is open all year around (except Christmas day) from 10.00am until 4.00pm in the winter and 5.30pm in the summer. We visit in the winter as well as the summer. It's amazing how different the animals look at different times of the year and as well as the outside exhibits, most of the enclosures have inside buildings so the day out is not spoilt if it decides to rain all day. There is plenty to keep you and the children amused for the whole day.
The zoo is situated near the village of Twycross, Leicester shire.
Despite its rural location, it is only four miles from the M42/A42 (which links the M1 and M6) making it readily accessible from an
ywhere in central England.
Admission Prices for 2004:
Senior Citizens £5.00
Party rates available on application
Car Parking £1
Is there any better day out for the whole family than a trip to the zoo? I think not.
Thanks for reading.
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