As we quickly approach what looks set to be a scorcher of a Bank Holiday weekend I thought I would look back to the early May Bank Holiday and our trip to Colchester Zoo. I always feel like I should be doing something super fun on a bank holiday weekend when too often the reality is you should just stay home, walk to the pub and BBQ or relax because the whole country is also out and about trying to do something super fun. We decided at the last minute to head to the Zoo and I am so glad we did.
I had heard that Colchester Zoo was great, especially for kids and our daughter loves animals so it was an easy decision when we decided to have a day out. We actually cashed in our Tesco Clubcard points to get the tickets making it an affordable day out too. I was worried the clubcard queue would be massive but we were quickly in and being welcomed by a penguin so it really wasn’t an issue.
I don’t know if we got lucky but the animals were on top form all day and we got to see many up close and personal. We did arrive early and the zoo was not too busy to begin with giving us plenty of time to wander through each section. I was amazed in the sea lion tunnel at Playa Patagonia, having travelled through Patagonia it was fun to find out these sea lions where actually from Patagonia. Our daughter thought it was wonderful when they swam down to see her. I love penguins so we took our time through Penguin Shores, they were having a great time hoping in and out of the water. Penguins are clearly popular as there was a birthday party and an a couple on an Animal Experience while we were there which seemed like great ideas.
We circled back to one of the cafés for an early lunch while it was quiet before heading over to see the lions, our daughter loves the programme Raa Raa The Noisy Lion so they were top of her list to see. En route we stopped by the meerkats, you can’t walk past meerkats, they are just too funny! The lions where having a good old sleep and there were various places you could view them from.
My husband spotted that the Masters of the Sky display was about to start so we went in and took a seat. I am not a massive of fan of birds so it wouldn’t have been something I would have chosen to do by myself but I have to say it was excellent. The staff leading the display were clearly very passionate and knowledgeable about each bird and we got to see some incredible birds very close up as they flew right through the audience at one point. I had no idea how crucial Vultures are in maintaining healthy ecosystems or how vulnerable to extinction they are, they get a bad rep but they are fascinating in real life.
There is so much to see and do on site and given how young our daughter is we weren’t sure how much more we would get round but she was fascinated by the animals and we made it in time to feed the elephants before visiting the giraffe and zebra in the Kingdom of the Wild section.
At this point we all needed a break so we got in to the queue for the train ride. It is really a drive more than a train ride but our daughter loves train rides and she loved it. The train took us over to the lemur enclosure where we were able to get out and go inside and we couldn’t believe how close they came to us.
We slowly made our way back visiting the hunting dogs, chimpanzee and a crocodile who our daughter still talks about, ‘Croccy hiding in the water’. There is plenty we didn’t have time for, we also didn’t make use of the play areas or get faces painted so there is lots to go back for. The final section on our way out was cleverly thought out by their sales team and carefully positioned stops meant we came away with a giant inflatable tiger and ice cream before carefully navigating the gift shop and making it safely back to the car! In fairness the inflatable tiger is still going strong and the ice cream was yummy.
We had a great day out, it is a huge site but it is clean, easy to navigate and it never felt overcrowded. If you like your apps there is one for the zoo with a map and timings for the day but we found everything easy to find and just enjoyed things as we came across them. An important thing for me was how passionate the staff were and there was a clear focus on conservation and care of species.
This Bank Holiday we will be spending time celebrating with friends and family and taking it a little easier. What will you be getting up to this Bank Holiday?