As I live in Cheshire, I am extremely lucky to live only a 30-minute drive away from Europe’s largest (and in my opinion, the best) zoo: Chester Zoo. Not only is it set out like its own little utopia, it’s also somewhere that is making such a difference to the animal kingdom that we share this amazing world with. Today, I am going to share with you my day out to the zoo but I am also going to talk a little bit about why Chester Zoo is so much better than just any zoo.
Firstly, the Chester Zoo designers are unbelievable at their job! Everything from the maps that you are given to the decoration in each enclosure really adds to your experience. For example, I went to the islands part of the zoo that is situated right at the back. It is the newest part and it must have only been completed about 2 years ago. It houses animals from crocodiles to sloths. In the indoor enclosure, plants decorate the majority of the inside, making you feel as if you are walking through a rain forest. Birds are flying around you and you can peer into little windows where you can see the monkeys swinging from vines or turtles swimming in the water. It is by far my favourite part of the whole zoo and I feel like that is really down to the creators of the enclosures for making it look and feel SO realistic!
Secondly, not only can you go and see some animals but you can actually have an animal experience. Now, I have actually never done this but I really want to. I understand it is not cheap but how often do you really feed a giraffe? My cousin has actually been lucky enough to be involved in some of the experience days where you have the chance to be a zoo keeper for the day and he absolutely loves it. Yes, if you don’t like cleaning up poo or having to feed some animals smelly fish that it may not be for you but I honestly think that if you have always wanted to work with animals then it is an opportunity that you need to take. If you don’t want to get that cosy with an animal then you can also sponsor one. I remember when I was 6 or 7 being obsessed with bats and my parents sponsored me a bat for my birthday and I was so happy to see my little name on the sponsor board at the entrance of the enclosure. It made my trips so much more special.
I have also seen some zoo keepers at the zoo do some special talks about the animals and answering any questions that any members of the public have. I thought this was such a cute idea because some children were showing such an interest into the animals and you could see the excitement on their faces. Also, you could tell that the talks weren’t scripted or following any kind of pattern. The zoo keepers genuinely knew what they wanted to say and you could hear the passion that they had for their job.
I completely understand when people disagree about putting wild animals in cages and charging people money to see them but this is certainly not the reason behind Chester Zoo. Zoo keepers at Chester Zoo are trying to help bring species that are dangerously declining in numbers and start to lower the risk of them becoming extinct and I think that is amazing. There are people that work at Chester Zoo flying all over the world conducting research to help save our planet and the species on it. For example, there are a certain species of bear called an Andean Bear that are original from Bolivia in South America. They are omnivores but eat more plants that other bear species and are the only species of bear that have survived in South Africa after the last ice age (can you tell I have done some research into them and have found out too much not to share everything.) The dry forests of the Andes are sadly being teared down for agricultural land which is driving the bears closer and closer to extinction. They are now under the bracket “Vulnerable”. But now, there are some Andean bears that are happily at home at Chester Zoo and I am suggesting that the plan is to see if the zoo can help boost the numbers of population while conducting some research into how we can help this beautiful creature jump back up in numbers. It’s stories like this that make you realise why Chester Zoo play a crucial part in the well-being of our planet.
Finally, I wanted to talk about their Act for Wildlife campaign that they have been running for a little while. I have been lucky enough to actually listen to one of their talks about their conservation work and how they are helping our planet. When you think of the zoo, you may think of elephants and giraffes and all the animals in-between but what about our native animals: birds, hedgehogs and frogs? Act for Wildlife is for every animal, even the ones in our own back garden. Chester Zoo run a variety of activities to help educate us on how we can help our planet and everything and everyone living on it. I remember in the talk that I was listening to, being taught about cutting a little whole at the bottom of your fence so that hedgehogs can walk through if they wanted. How easy is that? I thought it was such a cute idea that I mentioned it to my Mum and we actually did it. We have now seen 3 hedgehogs in our garden. Act for Wildlife helps all animals across the world. I think that it is so important that we all have a little read about what Chester Zoo are planning on doing and having a little go at helping them. I will leave a link here to the website so you can see if you would like to get involved yourself. You don’t have to live in Cheshire or anywhere near to help.
I understand that this isn’t the typical blog post that I could have written about my day out at Chester Zoo but I would much prefer for everyone to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes at a zoo than the “cute little animals” that I saw. Chester Zoo is somewhere that I have enjoyed visiting since I was around about 3 years old and I will continue to enjoy going to. It is certainly not somewhere to go if you have a bad leg or something because you will be walking a fair bit. I managed to rack up 15,000 steps (my legs are only little though so one step to you may be 3 for me). I do recommend bringing some change with you so you will be able to purchase from any store. Not all places within the zoo accept card payments. If I remember correctly, the monorail doesn’t accept card. The monorail is a little metro-like train that can take you from one side of the zoo to the other. It is about 3m above ground so it is nice to see the animals from above. There is also a boat ride at the islands section which is the most relaxing thing in the world. It is attached to a rail under the water so you don’t wobble like a normal boat. That is completely free and if you go on a really quiet day then you may even get a boat to yourself. There are also many other things you can do around the zoo like getting your face painted, play some mini golf or get yourself a “handimal” (google it if you aren’t sure) which do all cost money but not an arm and a leg. It is such a wonderful day out and a definite if you are in the area. By far my favourite day out in Cheshire (or maybe even the whole of the country to be honest.)
If you do end up going, please tell me how much you loved it in the comments. I would love to hear about other people’s days!