Muddy enjoys a day at Twycross Zoo
Excited children, educational talks, colourful animals and hours of fun. Just a few reasons why you’re never too old to go to the zoo.
Have you been to Twycross Zoo recently? We snuck away and spent the day there last week and had more fun than we expected. Sprawled over 80 acres, the zoo cares for around 500 animals from almost 150 species including one of the largest primate collections in Europe. There’s also plenty of opportunities to get up close to the lemurs and lorikeets.
We arrived bang on 10 o’clock when the zoo opened so it was quick and easy to get parking and into the zoo. There was already a steady stream of visitors there so as soon as we got there, we grabbed a map and planned our route.
As you enter the zoo, you walk past the gift shop, soft play area and cafe so if you’re in need of a little fuel or caffeine, it’s a good idea to fill up here. The soft play area was already filled with kids and we had to make a beeline for the ticket booth before our mudlet caught wind.
We started off in the primate area watching the monkeys swing around showing off their acrobatic skills. The zoo is the only place in the UK where you can see all four types of great ape (gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo) and a wide collection of gibbons housed in an island complex, so we spent a large chunk of our time exploring this area.
The spider monkeys and gibbons were lots of fun to watch and came right up to the window staring at us with as much curiosity as we were to them.
Right at the end of this area you can see the construction of the new Chimpanzee Eden which plans to open next year. This three-storey building is being designed to feature both indoor and outdoor areas for the chimps where visitors will be taken on a journey through an immersive jungle-like habitat.
We admired the zebras (one of my favourite mammals) as we headed to Giraffe Savannah. This relatively new area features a house and open-air paddock for the tallest animal in the world. We got brilliant views of both of them roaming around outside and twirling their necks around each other. We also caught sight of three of the Asian elephants.
We couldn’t see the leopards but this was made up by the fact that you could get really close to the penguins and watch them swim through the glass which got a few excited yelps from our little one. He wasn’t interested in the flamingos, but it was the first time I had seen them and they didn’t disappoint.
Right opposite the birds is Wet and Wild, a brilliant area for the kids to run around and cool down in when the weather is really hot and sticky.
There are plenty of outdoor tables to stop at and enjoy a picnic but as our stomachs grumbled, we decided to head back to the cafe. We grabbed a kids meal from the View Restaurant and some sandwiches from the Vine Cafe and sat in the play area as our little one got to enjoy some quality time in the ball pit of the soft play jungle (under 3’s £3.50, members £2 and non-members £4.50). The food was reasonably priced – a 3 course meal for kids was £7, a 2 course was £5 at the View Restaurant and a sandwich cost around £3 from the cafe.
While we sat tucking into lunch we spotted a snow leopard roaming around through the large expansive glass view overlooking a Himalayan landscape enclosure, but unfortunately didn’t get to see the new twin, female snow leopard cubs, Eva and Ceba.
We decided to walk off our food and went to the Explorer Zone. A lot of people start their zoo journey from here but we saved it till the end as there’s a lot less ground to cover.
We walked through the Butterfly Forest which was a real fun and interactive experience. They’re a kaleidoscope of colours and flutter all around and quite close to you – one brave little girl had one crawling on her hand. A word of warning though, it can get really hot in here. We finished the day off in the kids play area while tucking into ice cream and doughnuts.
What I liked about Twycross Zoo was the fact that it wasn’t overwhelming – everything was manageable and do-able well within a few hours. The zoo was spacious and well organised and the only thing we had to queue up for was entrance into the soft play. Staff were very helpful and happy to accommodate us throughout.
Admission to the zoo is £16.80 for adults, £12.48 for children aged between 3-16 years old, free for children under 3.
There’s lots of activities going on at the zoo over the next few weeks including Zoo Club, where the kids can take part in lots of exciting activities themes around animals, wildlife, nature and the zoo. On Sat 2 Sept you can spend the evening at the ‘zoovies’ and enjoy Disney’s Jungle Book (2016 version) in the Outdoor Cinema. For more information, head to the website.
Twycross Zoo, Burton Road, Atherstone, Leicestershire CV9 3PX