Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Colchester Zoo

Since the sun made a brief appearance yesterday, I thought I would treat the baby who isn't really a baby anymore, I think he's technically a toddler, to a trip to the local Zoo. We took him there last month but I thought since is only 13 months old he wouldn't remember this repetition of outings. On reflection, I think I was wrong. When we went last month, his first encounter with animals that aren't stuffed, mostly made of wool and live in his cot, was a day of wonder, amazement and constant pointing. Yesterday, however, he was more interested in my Almond Magnum and fell asleep during feeding time at the Tiger enclosure. I, on the other hand, had a great time. Again.

Colchester Zoo is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary and to highlight this momentous birthday there are Giraffes scattered all over town. They are almost everywhere. In the street, in shops, in the galleries, at the bus stops, you name it, they've got a Giraffe looming over you. Its a bit like 'The Birds' but with less beaks and more neck.

And when you get to the zoo, there is one more to greet you on arrival.

Apart from Giraffe's the zoo does have other animals. And lots of them. The beauty of this zoo as opposed to London Zoo which is the only other Zoo I've really been to in this country, is that there is lots of space for the animals, and it's a very green environment. I love London Zoo but the last time I went I felt a bit sad for some of the animals as it felt like there was a lot of concrete but I think that can't be helped. 

Not only is the Zoo set in huge grounds they still seem to be expanding and even though we visited fairly recently there was a new section that wasn't here before. There is actually far more to see than is possible in one trip so its worth buying a Gold Card membership if you intend to come regularly. The entrance fee is £20 per adult (baby/toddler is free) but you can purchase a Gold Card for around £40 which gets you an unlimited amount of entries for a year. Be warned though, if you intend to buy a Gold Card make sure you brush your hair. They take your photo for your card. I hadn't brushed my hair when I bought my card and will be reminded for the next 12 months of what a revolting scruffbag I am. As well as a quick spruce up prior to visiting I might also suggest bringing a packed lunch. The main eating place, Cafe UmPhafa, does sell a wide range of hot food but its all quite pricey (ie £7.50 for a Chicken Pitta and Salad) so its worth bringing your own food and using one of the many eating areas dotted around the place. Also, if you visit during the week, its a lot less busy but you will have to make way for the many school children who are on their school trips and seem less interested in the animals and more interested in who can make the crudest remarks about the Chimpanzees arses.  To be fair, they had a point, the arses were horrendous. I know my own posterior is nothing to write home about but I don't trot about with it on show thank God.

Anyhow, I still haven't managed to see everything the Zoo has to offer in 2 trips but from what I have seen, I think the Big Cats are the most impressive. Not only can you watch them through the fencing but you can also see them through glass which means you are inches away from them. Pretty breathtaking and I'm not even massively into cats. Pygmy things are much more my bag.


White Tiger


Regular Tiger

Inches away!

If you plan your day well, you can watch the animals being fed but also they have various displays throughout the day and one not to be missed is the Bird of Prey one. I say this because I missed it and only caught the last few minutes this time round.

Some sort of African Eagle




Not a clue


As well as all the critters you can't touch, there is an area where you can touch them or at least get even closer. The toddler is still a bit too little to enjoy this area (and he was asleep) but I'm sure when he's a bit bigger he will love it.

You can walk through the Wallaby enclosure

Huge Tortoise

Alpacas I think

Pygmy Goats. 
You can get in their pen and feed them but I didn't trust myself not to pick one up and sling it in the shopping section of the buggy.



Basically, I think this is a really great Zoo. I know you might be thinking "She would say that", but it is! For my London friends you may think Colchester is a long way away but it really isn't and for anyone with kids this is a super outing. Also, if you are into Wildlife photography I think this has to be worth a visit as you could get some really great snaps. Not that you could tell from my pictures, but anyway, come and see for yourself. Just maybe skip the Chimps if you have a sensitive stomach.

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