Ahead of my son’s birthday last week, we allowed him to choose a venue for an outing, and he picked an old favourite of ours, Colchester Zoo in Essex.
You really need the whole day to work round all the areas of Colchester Zoo, we were aided by the fact that on the day we visited they were offering late night opening until 9pm, a fact of which we were unaware until our arrival.
Colchester Zoo is very much an ‘all round’ zoo, with a wide variety of animals from across the world as opposed to a particular speciality. However, we certainly have our favourite areas that we love to visit.
The ‘Edge of Africa’ experience is one of my personal favourites, as amongst its inhabitants it features giraffes (much loved by me), which you are actually given the chance to feed (you can feed the elephants as well) at special, keeper-supervised sessions. Many animals are free to roam together on the ‘savannah’ as they would in the wild, including the giraffes, zebra, ostriches and rhino – talking of which we were thrilled to see a baby rhino on our visit.
Another of our favourite areas of the zoo is the sea lion tunnel: here you can wander through a tunnel underneath the sea lion pool and watch these fascinating creatures swimming above and around you. In turn, this tunnel leads to the orang-utan area. Orang-utans are my son’s favourite and he loves visiting Rajang and Tiga (the zoo’s resident orang-utans) to see how they’re getting on.
Other animals that we enjoyed seeing were the meerkats (complete with tiny babies), red panda, Asian short-clawed otters (who were fighting over a fish), aardvarks and one of the most amazing to our minds, the anteater. What an incredible creature!
However, we must remember, many of the animals in the zoo are endangered in the wild and Colchester is involved in conservation work and animal rescue.
As usual, we had a great time at Colchester Zoo. There are lots of picnic areas and benches (understandably these got very busy at lunchtime), shops selling refreshments (ice creams reasonably priced) and plenty of toilet facilities.
Admission costs £19.99 for adults, £13.50 for children aged 3-14, with a slight reduction if you purchase an e-ticket, and Tesco Days Out Vouchers are accepted. Parking is free.
I can certainly recommend Colchester Zoo for a fun, family day out.
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