We have an annual pass for Chester Zoo and we spend quite a lot of our time there as a family. So when I saw that Channel 4 had made a programme about The Secret Life of Chester Zoo I immediately had it on series record. I have always been fascinated about what goes on behind the scenes and the programme does not disappoint. Last weeks programme focused on transporting the tigers to their new enclosure on the Islands and the stresses and planning that went in to it. So this weekend we decided to pay them a visit in their new home.
As it was Valentines weekend we invited Harry’s best friend along for a (play) date. It is lovely to see them together because they are very caring towards each other, playful and – on occasion – mischievous. Both were extremely excited about being together and also about going to the zoo, so today they were more animated than normal.
Thankfully the weather was kind to us – albeit on the chilly side – so we wrapped up warm and set off. When we arrived at the zoo car park it appeared that every other family in the Northern Hemisphere had the same idea. The overflow to the overflow car park was already in use when we turned up.
Parts of the Islands are still under development and I wasn’t sure how many animals had been re-homed, but there were more than I expected. And luckily for us the animals had all been brought out by the crisp dry weather. We got to see so many of them up close – African painted dogs, Orang-utans, Sumatran tigers, Crocodiles, Giant Tortoise – and the Macaques. My favourites were the Aardvarks. They were all asleep and cuddling together right up by the glass viewing window. One was on it’s back showing all it’s under carriage to anyone that wanted to look. I would have loved to jump in with them and join in for a cuddle and a quick tummy tickle.
Dotted around the Islands are little stations that the children can go in and explore. Hollie and Harry dived in to every one of them to see what they could find (and to pose for a couple of photos). There is also a meditation room for the adults but I didn’t go in as it would have been too tempting to stay in there.
The highlight for me was seeing the Aardvarks, my husbands was seeing the Crocodile, and if their squeals were anything to go by then theirs had nothing to do with the animals and more to do with the thick cord ropes that hang down from the doors in the Monsoon Forest. They are there to prevent the birds from flying out but that was by-the-by to Harry and Hollie. They liked the feeling of running through them and the fact it was dark when they were in them and they could lose each other.
Our day to the Islands at Chester Zoo was really enjoyable and a lovely way to spend Valentines Day. We probably spent close to three hours on the Islands – 45 minutes of which was in the Monsoon Forest. We didn’t get chance to go on the lazy boat river trip because Hollie and Harry had tired themselves out by then with all their running around, so we will have to go back soon and try it out. Who knows, perhaps we could double date again!
Harry’s Honest Mummy x