On Tuesday I took my son to Whipsnade Zoo. We’ve made this an annual trip since he was six months old, and meet up with one of Gramp’s cousins when we are there. I used Tesco Day’s out vouchers so it makes it a reasonable day out for us.
It’s been wonderful to see his interests change each year and to see him get more and more enthusiastic with each visit.
I love Whipsnade, it’s set in rolling countryside about an hour’s drive away from home. We got there for the 10 am opening so we could make the most of our day and headed off to say hello to the lemurs. They’ve always held a place in my heart – going back to my childhood and watching Johnny Morris on Animal Magic with his lemur (showing my age again!)
We then said a quick hello to the Chimps before my son headed off in search of the European Bison, he was fascinated to see their fur moulting.
The next stop was the Brown Bears – they looked so cute, and were relaxing in the sunshine (short-lived!)
Then we were off again, Whipsnade is so well laid out, there are lots to see but you don’t feel that you’ve walked miles. My son, at 3 and half years, walked all day without any problems (or complaints).
We went to see the penguins before taking a sneaky peek at the Look Out Lodges (these looked great) and heading to the Reindeer – bless him, he wanted to know where Father Christmas was. We told him he was asleep in one of the lodges and so we needed to be quiet 🙂
Where next then son? Rhino’s Mummy!
He is very fond of the Rhino’s, and weirdly there has been a connection since our first visit with him at six months old!
On that occasion, he was sat in his pram making baby noises and one of the Rhino’s started making noises of their own. It was like the two of them were having a conversation that adult humans just couldn’t understand. It was so funny, and that memory has stuck with me and Dad’s cousin ever since. We bought him a soft toy Rhino that day, which has gone to bed with him every night ever since.
To top off his Rhino experience we found a Backhoe Loader digging in the Rhino enclosure – he was now in heaven!
Next stop Zebra’s, Lions and Meerkats …..
A quick stop to see the Flamingo’s and then a break for picnic lunch…..
At this point, I realised I’d lost his water bottle (the one with all his special stickers on – aargh!) Long story, but when we walked back to the car park we re-traced our steps and there it was by the Rhino enclosure!
We had our lunch, had a quick peek at the lovely Tiger and went on the Whipsnade Steam Train – a must, every year. It’s extra to the entrance fee, but it’s not very expensive, and a must as far as we are concerned.
The next stop was the Birds of the World flying display. We saw this for the first time, last year and Monkey loved it so it was a ‘must do’ this year. We saw some lovely birds, I have a particular soft spot for the wonderful Macaws – when we were kids we had a large aviary and my Dad kept a number of exotic birds, including a couple of Macaws. We were so lucky to get so close to these beautiful animals, we just didn’t fully appreciate it then. I guess you never do!
From the birds, we went straight to the pool area to watch the Sea Lions – another favourite with my son 🙂 Even a bit of rain wasn’t going to stop us from having fun.
There was just enough time to see the Lions again before we stopped for tea and cake…
We had a walk through the Children’s Farm and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Dad’s cousin and make our way back home. We did stop at the shop on the way out and now he’s is the proud owner of a Schleich Rhino for his growing zoo – his choice 🙂
We’ll certainly be back again, a great family day out with so much to keep a little boy amused. We still haven’t seen everything!