Monday, 7 August 2017

What we honestly thought of Whipsnade Zoo

Last week you may have seen that we went to Marwell Zoo for a Lego event - we love LEGO! as you can see from *click* here where they have teamed with National Geographic on jungle sets here for the Batman Summer Lovin Movie event
and even here for our wedding cake! Just you wait for next week when you see Oliver's LEGO themed birthday.

My sister in law is a member at Marwell which made me think that we should join a zoo too, that zoo is too far for us to make it to more often so then I remembered Whipsnade Zoo which is only 30 minutes from where we live = perfect. I thought we would go once to see what we thought of it but when I looked at the price of membership for the year for our family of  4 we decided to just get the membership before even going - eek! We have been about 5 years ago and loved it, how much could it have changed really? So if you're wondering what Whipsnade is like and you're looking at getting a membership or just visiting for the day then continue reading to find out what we thought of our afternoon there. We arrived late so we didn't get to do as much as we wanted to do however we had 3 children - two of which are very small, so they don't walk fast!  

Grandparents decided to get a membership too which means we can have lots of family days out with them too or even go with them if my husband is at work which he usually is, making it easier to manage with kids on a day out.

The cost of the membership for our family - 2 adults and 2 children was £243 for the year, if it will cost you about £70 to go just once then the year membership with the added discount of direct debit is really good value for money. Plenty of free car parking available as well as the option to pay to take your car in - this wouldn't be something we would be interested in but I can see the appeal for lots of people and also the need too if someone couldn't walk far for various reasons.

When we arrived we headed straight for the lemurs - you can get so close to them here which is just lovely. And we managed to get some adorable photos of them really close up being cheeky. The children loved this as they were so close to them.

I wanted to see the Sea Lions Live so we made our way straight towards that area, I was disappointed to be honest with you. So much time was spent focusing on two adult members from the audience who had volunteered to learn some tricks.......... not enough time was spent on the sea lions themselves. Why is this? I feel it must be some sort of kindness to the animals - which obviously you want and expect from somewhere like Whipsnade but I was there to see the Sea Lions - I'd prefer just to watch them swim around if that's what it means, the Sea Lions Live would of been an amazing opportunity for Whipsnade to educate our children a little more about issues such as plastic on beaches in more depth than it was. I'm not insulting the zoo at all when I say this - just the kids were bored, lost their attention and they just wanted to see the sea lions. Not the humans. I hope that next time we sit to watch this that there is more said about the Sea Lions themselves show us a bit more of their feeding or something. I fully expected them to be showing us what tricks the sea lions themselves could do but literally nothing... I thought to myself as I looked at my husbands very concerned face having just signed up for a year, "this day must get better than this!"

A quick picnic lunch - by the way, we sat outside on the grass and there were no where near as many wasps here as there were at Marwell Zoo last week - they were all over the place. Inside there are picnic areas and plenty of benches to sit on too.

Then we went to get tickets for the train which is really cool, the kids loved it and I did too. It meant we got to see parts of the zoo which little legs probably wouldn't get to that day as there's so much to see. I wouldn't go on this train every week but it's a lovely added treat. It cost us £11 with out membership discount. You get 10% off with your membership card on food outlets, gift shop and train which is nice. The train station looks just like a real train station too but nicer with all the flowers.

Birds of the world display was FANTASTIC. This was the best bird display that I've ever seen at a zoo and next time I'd be tempted to watch all of the shows that are on in a day because apparently they have different birds in! They were all flying around beautifully and so close to my head which was amazing. The guy that was talking throughout the bird show was really good and you could tell he had a fantastic relationship with the birds. It's definitely a must see at the zoo.

There's plenty of open space for the children to run around and play too as well as lots of play areas.
The butterfly house was really good, we like to go to RHS Wisley butterflies every year but this was just as good as that if not better. It's smaller than Wisley's glasshouse but in my opinion with children that's better - it gets warm in there quickly and at Wisley, you're there in the winter so you're in your big coats wrapped up warm then bam! into full heat which makes you feel a bit sick, this was lovely, the fact you can go into a butterfly house in the summer and it's perfectly sized for children. We saw butterflies that we have never seen before Isabelle couldn't believe that this pretty butterfly wasn't just a leaf! They were flying around everywhere. They have spotters guides so you can identify what butterfly you're looking at. At the exit there is a mirror so you can make sure you're not taking any with you when you leave too which is something that always worries me.

We never really see otters at zoos let along watch them have their dinner so the children were fascinated by this! They look so cute when they're eating, you sort of imagine them throwing the fish into their mouths not sitting their gently nibbling away on the mackerel as if its a chocolate bar!
Honestly we did see more animals than this including giraffes and my favourite elephants but it's hard to always be taking photos and I like to live in the moment too but I'm sure over the next year I'll be putting a lot of photos from Whipsnade Zoo trips here. It's a lovely zoo, I can't wait to go back again and visit ZSL London Zoo too.

*please note this is not a review, I was not asked to write this post and did not receive anything in return*

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