Ever since we moved to North Wales, we’ve been looking for places to go for a day out. Chester Zoo was on our list, so when we were invited to spend the day there, we were really excited. We picked the perfect day to visit – a beautiful, warm, sunny Sunday. On the advice of everyone we spoke to about the zoo, we made sure we got there just after it opened, so we could see as much as possible. The parking system was clear and organised, with attendants directing us. Unlike other similar attractions, the car park is located close to the entrance of the zoo, which is really helpful. There’s nothing worse at the end of a long day with tired children than trudging miles back to your car!
I can’t possibly write about all the animals we saw – almost seven hours there and we didn’t manage to see everything! Here are a few of our favourites though:
We were really impressed with how much space all of the animals had. At other zoos I have been to, it seems a little cramped and cruel, and I was almost put off visiting because of this, but you can see that Chester Zoo really do look after their animals and make sure they have enough space to live comfortably. They do a lot for conservation and the environment as well, which is always a plus for me.
Despite the zoo being really busy, we managed to get close enough to see everything that we wanted. It’s set out beautifully, with wide footpaths and walkways and plenty of interesting displays to look at. We especially liked the boat ride and the tropical islands area. It was lovely to walk around, and the kids adored the boat ride. It was also nice to see that there was no additional cost for the boat ride; so many places charge extra for things like this.
We took a picnic, so I can’t comment on any of the food outlets, but there were plenty, and lots of places for us to have our food. We did buy one of the refillable drink cups, which cost £8 but can be refilled for free as many times as you want. We shared it, so it didn’t seem too bad value and the kids have a funky holographic cup as a souvenir.
Everyone advised us to hire one of the buggies, and I am so glad we did. We ended up getting one of the double ones, which cost £10 plus a £10 returnable deposit. They are suitable for kids up to age 6, and our three took it in turns in going in there – there is an awful lot of walking. Despite the size of them, and even with Harrison in it, it was easy to push, and the doors and entrances to the indoor attractions were all wide enough for us to push it through. It had handy mesh pockets on the back to put our stuff in.
What I really love is the introduction of ‘Play!!’ at the zoo. This is a series of challenges and trails to encourage kids – and adults – to play and have fun. There are prompts to try balancing like a flamingo, a skipping lane, puddle jumping and much more. It wasn’t fully in place when we went but it does look really exciting, and when we next go back (and there definitely will be a next time!) it will all be ready for us to enjoy. There’s more information about it, plus online games and even an animal-themed Spotify playlist for you to download on the website.
We had a really, really lovely day at the zoo, with Harrison and Alex declaring it ‘the best day ever’.
*We were invited to spend the day at the zoo free of charge. All words and opinions are our own.