Last Saturday Monkey and I had arranged to meet up with my Dad’s cousin J. We meet up every year at one of our favourite places. We would be enjoying a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in October, our first such visit in the autumn. The weather forecast wasn’t promising, so I packed Monkey’s waterproof trousers and we headed across to the zoo, which is close to Dunstable.
We love Whipsnade Zoo, it sits right on high looking down across the Chilterns. It’s somewhere that always feels really spacious and green. But I was a little worried that the forecast rain would ruin our day. I really shouldn’t have worried as in reality we had one of our best ever visits.
As we always plan our visit well ahead I make sure I’ve exchanged Tesco points for Days Out Vouchers, meaning enjoying a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in October is a bargain. It’s really worth checking out what days out deals are available if you do have a Tesco Clubcard – my top tip!
Anyway, Monkey loves Giraffes and had spent the hours drive telling me that we absolutely had to see them first when we arrived. They won’t like the rain Mummy. It was dry when we arrived, exchanged our days out vouchers for tickets and waited in the cafe for J to arrive. Monkey was eager to plan our day out.
As soon as J arrived we headed off to the Giraffe house to see the family. They’ve got a great platform these days at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, so you can get right up close to these lovely animals. But they’d obviously already checked out the weather forecast and were staying inside. Very wise, as soon as we arrived in their house, it started to rain.
The baby animals are always a big draw for Monkey and we’ve watched Nuru growing since she was born in 2014. She thrilled Monkey by coming right up close to him and trying some acrobatics to reach some leaves. There appeared to be a bit of a mothers meeting going on at the door, checking on the weather ladies?
We left the giraffes and the rain had also eased, perfect timing to say hello to another favourite, the rhinos.
You can’t help but look at the views across the Chilterns from the zoo, even on a less than perfect day, it’s a wonderful sight.
The Hippos and Giraffe were all being very friendly, and weren’t bothered by the drizzle at all.
Enjoying a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in October was made extra special by a few of our spots throughout the day. We’ve been to the zoo on many occasions, but always earlier in the year. I’d been worried that we might not see so many animals up close. But boy was I wrong. Instead of lions, cheetah, tigers and the lynx, hiding away, with only ears evident, we were in for a treat. By the end of the day, the three of us were buzzing.
I’ve never seen so many cheetahs as we saw when we were enjoying a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in October. I stopped snapping away, and just took in the moment with Monkey. It was a special moment to enjoy, and not to be spent behind the lens. Monkey brushed up on his cheetah facts before we headed on.
I thought that was going to be the main highlight of the day. I was wrong. I love big cats, all of them. We’ve seen the lions before, but we got to see a couple of the lionesses play fighting, having fun, tumbling over one another. It was another magical moment, one I enjoyed looking at with Monkey rather than photographing. But I did snap one of the pride looking rather serene, whilst Monkey made sure he wouldn’t be served for their dinner.
The heavens opened as we approached the Wild Bite Cafe. Perfect timing for some lunch. They have a selection of hot and cold meals available throughout the day, as well as kids meals. The Cafe is close to the centre of the zoo, and we always find it a good stop off point to break up our day. It’s near to the train station and the tigers.
The Jumbo Express is a steam train ride which takes you round the outer edge of part of the zoo. You do have to pay extra (check the website for running days and prices) but no visit to Whipsnade for Monkey is complete without a train trip.
The sun shone down on us and we got to see the tigers in all their glory. My own personal highlight as normally they’re hiding in the undergrowth, or patrolling the back of their enclosure. We were mesmerised and could have stayed watching them for the rest of the day. Such beautiful beasts.
When we visited Cotswold Wildlife Park in the summer holidays we’d got our first proper view of the Red Pandas. I still need to write about that visit – eek! Anyway, we’d heard that there was a baby to be found and lo and behold, we got a very quick peek before he hid away again. His parents were being very protective too.
We didn’t get our timing quite right to see the elephants in their enclosure, but we did catch them out for their daily afternoon walk around the grounds. Always a favourite for Monkey.
Other highlights of our day included seeing the European Lynx up close for the first time. The Brown Bears are always eager to say hello, as are the Penguins.
We’d made so many memories last Saturday whilst enjoying a visit to Whipsnade Zoo in October. If you’ve not been and can get there, it’s really well worth a visit. We’ve never been disappointed, and have never got bored. In fact we never get to see everything on a visit, so there’s always a reason to return. After this visit I’m even more inclined to visit again over the winter months, for a different view again. There is no doubting that we’ll be back again soon, we really do love this place.
Why not pin it for later?