“Excellent!” said Smudge, holding Alex at arms length and angling Alex’s puffy-all-in-one-snowsuited body so that his feet were shoved in my face.
“The very first step out of the car and it is into some sort of indeterminable poo.”
“For goodness sakes, Smudge” I hiss “It’s a zoo! It’s not the plains of Africa! It isn’t like they let the animals roam around freely and poo whereever the hell they like! Gawd!”
And as I am wofting at Alex’s dirty shoe with a wet wipe, a creature the size of your average dog hops straight past us and over to a pack of it’s buddies. Which are sat under the bonnet of a Ford Fiesta. Eye-balling us.
I looked at Smudge. Then back at the predators, who are so obviously hunting us.
“It’s like Jurassic bloody park!”.
Which, Whipsnade Zoo , sort of is. Nestled in the Chiltern hills you wouldn’t know it was there, until you turn a corner, go up a hill and BOOM! Massive electrical fences suddenly appear from nowhere and loom above you.
“LOOK AT THE GATES!” I say “What have they got in there? King Kong?” and I slap at my thighs and jump up and down in the seat a bit, delighted about already doing my first Jurassic Park quote and we are not even inside yet!
“Look at all the people who live so close to the zoo, Smudge!” I say, pointing out the collection of houses right by the park entrance. “WOW! Imagine if all the eletric fences failed in the zoo and all the animals escaped and ate the people who live in the houses surrounding it?! Could happen. Just saying. I wouldn’t want to live that close to a zoo…”
So it all started like this. MoneySuperMarket.com got in touch with some bloggers and asked if anyone would like to do a review of a family day out at one of the attractions they currently have discounts on. Er, hello. Yes please. They had teamed up with various places, offering vouchers and discounts and one of them, was to Whipsnade Zoo. HUZZAH! They are also running offers on other attractions, as well as Whipsnade, and here is the link for you to check them out.
Well worth a looksee, trust me. And if you can tell me what one of these mystery beasts that stalked us, hunted us, and gave us a cocky eye-balling of “come on then, let’s be ‘avin ya” is, please let me know. There is a photo of one a bit further down the post.
We decided to use our vouchers and go over the Christmas holidays, on the one day it finally stopped raining for more than half an hour but turned out to be the coldest day of 2012. My husband kept assuring me that actually, going in the cold might be better than going in the warm because the animals would be more active. I doubted him, as I do on most of his theories, but on this one, he was right (I suppose he was due). It was like the animals were all jazz hands and show tunes, chilly winds up their bums making them jump about and frolick. They were that showbiz, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they stood up on their back legs and started speaking in American accents about some sort of mystery before bursting in to song about the morals of friendship.
We live in the ‘burbs, and whilst our children are incredibly lucky to see a lot of cows and sheep and other livestock, we are not rich enough to take the kids on a plane for an international holiday to see exotic beasts (nor stupid enough considering what 8 hours, sober, on a plane, with kids, does to anyone). However, just half an hour travelling from our house and we were able to take the children to a place where they could, first hand, witness the symbiotic relationship (*puts tongue in side of mouth and does smug face about using the term “symbiotic relationship”*) between a Rhino and bird.
I mean, how cool is that?
And this Rhino was really, really, really close. I barely had to zoom in on this shot. Even Ed commented on it. A big, over enthusiastic lover of animals, normally used to them rushing away from him at great speed (the poor sods memory rife with their breath being lovingly crushed out of them during Ed’s previous “Lenny from Mice and Men” embrace), and having to chase them for cuddles (whether they like it or not), he strutted up to one of the mystery beasts and stared at it, pretty much face to face. And turned back to me, eyeballs bigger than the moon and said
“Why isn’t it running away from me???”
And in his excitement he bolted towards it and slipped on some poo.
Can’t win them all, kiddo.
The following collage is a collection of truly rubbish shots, and yes, whilst it does look like we just pushed our children towards wild animals to see how close we could get them, like a human Shov Ha’penny game, (which is exactly what we were doing) these shots do show how close you could get to the animals.
On a practical level, car parking was incredibly easy. Albeit incredibly odd. Parking right next to a field of Bison is a strange experience. It was a busy day when we went (you could tell by the amount of other cars parked next to fields of roaming animals) but it certainly didn’t feel like the crowded experience I thought it might be. It is a big walk, though, and if you have people with little legs (children or old people who have shrunk with age) you will want to bear this in mind and take a buggy or wheelchair, or you will be wishing there was a pub on site to stop off at half way round to help numb your pain (there isn’t).
Whipsnade really have thought of most things (except the pub). There is a softplay for when it rains mid-visit (It rains?! In England?! Surely I jest?!) plus they serve you an almighty trump card for when everyone has had a long day, are tired and hungry and over excited and everyone is shouting at each other TO GET IN THE BLOODY CAR OR THEY WILL LOCK US IN WITH THE ANIMALS ALL NIGHT AND THE ANIMALS WILL EAT US! (just us? Whatevs). Whipsnade have devised the perfect answer – an interactive trip which has to be taken in your car for safety reasons. Oh hurrah Whipsnade, round of applause. Jump in the car, a quick trip round an Asian Safari
“oooh isn’t it nice, yes, mmmm, oooh look at that”
Then press the central locking button, put the car in 5th gear and bolt it back home.
It’s like they have thought of everything (except the pub).
Please note this is a sponsored post, by moneysupermarket.com.