Thursday, 27 December 2012

Winter Outings Part 4 – The Great Outdoors

Hopefully we’ll get some bright, if crisp, days whilst the children are on school holiday, which provide the perfect opportunity to visit one of the many country or wildlife parks that will be open. Why not give the kids the chance to burn off some energy, whilst you all enjoy the great outdoors?

What’s more many zoos and wildlife parks offer special discounted winter admission rates to make your outing even more manageable.

Banham Zoo, Norfolk, winter prices adults £12.95, children £8.95. This is a great little zoo, where we were thrilled to see some of the more elusive animals close-up. It was a treat to see the snow leopards and a cheetah at close quarters, but the animal that really fascinated us was the maned wolf, or ‘fox on stilts’ as it is aptly known. Admission includes a ride on the land train, with commentary, and there is a warm, welcoming café to retreat to, should it all get a bit chilly. I really felt the animals were very well cared for here and the place had a really nice atmosphere. We also love its sister zoo, Africa Alive, Suffolk, which offers the same winter admission prices and is equally as well maintained.

Drusillas Zoo Park, East Sussex, is a fun, smaller animal zoo with a wealth of play opportunities for the kids, and they are offering great value admission rates in January. If you visit between 27th December and 2nd January prices are: individual adults and children £16.50, family of 3 £46.50, family of 4 £62.00 and family of 5 £77.50. BUT between 3rd and 31st January prices are: individual adults and children £10.00, family of 3 £27.00, family of 4 £36.00 and family of 5 £45.00!

Colchester Zoo, Essex, an old favourite with so much to see – highlights include the underwater tunnel beneath the Sea Lions at Playa Patagonia and The Edge of Africa, where a variety of animals roam together. The zoo has plenty of indoor animal enclosures and displays, and pathways as opposed to muddy trails, making this a great all-weather zoo. Winter admission prices: adults £12.99, children £8.50.

Linton Zoo, Cambridge, although by no means large, does house some of the larger animals such as big cats and kangaroos. It has a certain old charm, and is open Saturdays and Sundays during winter, Adults £9, children £6.50.

Marwell Zoo, Hampshire, Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire and Chester Zoo, Chester also all offer discounted winter season prices, see their websites for details.

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