A day out at London Zoo with the children
We love a trip to the zoo in our household. We normally stick to the places near by like Paradise Park or Hamerton Zoo but this half term we decided to take a trip into London and check out London Zoo. The last time we went was 2013 so we were looking forward to seeing what had changed.
What we didn’t do was check the weather! And it started to rain as soon as we walked through the entrance!
The train journey
The adventure always starts with a train journey for my boys, they love it and it starts with me yelling at them to stop fighting on the train platform. And the bonus of getting the train is that we can do 2for1 tickets at London attractions. Train travel with the children is great value even without a family railcard. My ticket was £13.50, and the three boys were £2 each. Did you also know that children under 16 travel for free on London Underground so I could just tap through with my debit card and they all followed like ducklings, the underground journey was £4.80 for all 4 of us!
We got the underground to Great Portland St, a whole 2 stops on the Underground (really should have walked!) and walked the 15-minute beautiful walk through Regents Park to get to the zoo. Excitement of the park walk were the squirrels who were everywhere and were really tame.
Entry to the zoo
Entry tickets to the zoo are expensive. Never just rock up and expect to get a deal at the gates. The day before I headed over to the Days out guide website and printed out our vouchers to show at the ticket desk along with our train tickets. Essential tip, you must print out the vouchers otherwise no discount.
Full price for 1 adult (£29.75) and 3 children (£22 each) £95.75. We had to pay for 2 adult tickets to get the 2 free children tickets so paid £59.50 for our entry. A saving of £36.25.
The Animal Tour begins
I am not one to dictate the path we take around the zoo, the boys take turns to choose an animal to see. First stop was the gorillas. The silver back huge gorilla was sat right in front of the glass when we arrived. He was beautiful and huge. He sat there staring at us and picking at his nails.
We headed straight into the aquarium straight after, a nice indoor place. Full of colourful pretty fish and some strange alien looking eels! Jack chose next and wanted to see the komodo dragons. What beautiful creatures and one was walking around and came right up to the window to say hello to us. They are huge with a really long tail. Jack was impressed that they can kill a human.
I chose the next animal the tigers. Not much to report here as they were crashed out in the dry. Not up to much. One just sat there staring at us. NO movement though.
The rain was still pouring at that point, so we decided to go grab some lunch, seek some shelter and have some nice food. I’ll admit it I didn’t fancy lugging a huge rucksack into London, so we didn’t have a packed lunch. We bought a lovely lunch from the pavilion restaurant. Dylan had pizza, Josh had sausage, mash and beans and Jack went for the lunch box. The food choice was good, everything was beautifully presented and looking lovely. A tad on the pricey side maybe. I had a salad bowl balanced out by the biggest meringue you have ever seen. Dinner came in at £32.
Animal Tour continues
By the time lunch was over the rain had slowed down and we carried on with our zoo tour. Next on the list was the penguins. Probably the animals loving the cold and the rain the most. I couldn’t believe how many there were, at least 100. All having a wonderful time swimming around, jumping onto the side of the pool. They were extremely entertaining.
Onto the warmth of the butterfly enclosure after the penguins. We stayed there for a while trying to encourage butterflies to land on us. This was fine, as long as we didn’t touch them. There were people on guard!
First moan of the day came from Josh who was struggling with the cold, so we headed to the bug building where there was all sort of creepy crawlies and interaction things for the boys to do. Maggots, locusts, snails, ants. All good fun for small boys.
Next to the bugs was the lion enclosure and they were awake and doing exciting things. Just as we arrived the three girls awoke from their sleep and decided to have a little wonder around their enclosure. We watched with baited breath as one sat by the side of their lake, was she going to jump in. Um no, but it was fun watching.
The snakes and spiders were the next animals on the list. The boys were most impressed that the reptile house had featured in Harry Potter. Lots of snakes were moving around doing stuff. Despite the cold and the rain, it really felt like lots of animals were up and about and doing exciting stuff.
It was mid afternoon by this point and the boys were starting to tire. We hadn’t yet seen the African animals so headed to see the hippos, giraffes, tapirs and zebras. Again, the hippo was up and about. Such a smelly animal but very cute.
Traditional Shop Visit
The visit to the zoo ended up course with a walk through the shop, it can never be avoided. The boys were given £5 each to spend on zoo tat. Sorry stationery.
The visit was over, so we headed back to the train station, stopping off at Hotel Chocolate to get a last-minute valentines box of chocs for hubby!
A great day out at the zoo during half term. Highly recommended.