My daughter turned four this week. She has just started nursery school and we’ve started to receive invitations to lots of children’s parties. They are fun but it takes up a lot of our weekends. There’s probably a whole different blog post about that best saved for another time.
We decided not to throw a birthday party this year, as my wife is working on a part-time masters and has an essay to work on. So, instead we took a trip to Twycross Zoo.
This was the second time we’ve been, having come once before earlier in the year on a whim. We had a great time back then and thought we’d brave the fading autumn weather to walk around and see the animals.
I’m always wary of half term activities because I don’t like huge crowds.
The zoo didn’t feel too busy and, besides, there’s plenty of space to wander around. I had packed my trusty backpack with lots of picnic stuff (NOTE to self: the millennial dad’s guide to packing for a picnic is a good post for the future). First off, we headed to one of the indoor picnic areas for lunch.
Some of the buildings feel a bit tired but, to be fair to the zoo, they seem to have spent most of their money on the welfare of the animals. The new gibbon kingdom is pretty amazing and allows you to see the animals up close from a height (which is a bit disorienting if you have vertigo, I imagine). Other areas are simple, but effective. The penguin enclosure with a glass side was particularly entertaining for the kids as the penguins were in a playful mood.
There are plenty of signs to guide you around and good descriptions about each of the animals. It felt like a educational visit as much as a fun birthday trip. Towards the end we used up our final bits of energy on the adventure playground, which was more than enough to keep a four year old occupied. A particular highlight was the lemur enclosure, and watching the lemurs sun themselves by sitting in a yoga pose and stretching out their arms.
Since growing up I’ve always felt a bit awkward about going to zoos. It’s the millennial ‘wanting to save the world’ trait. I know there’s a general backlash about keeping animals captive in enclosures. But I get the impression Twycross Zoo cares deeply for the welfare of its animals. In fact, many of the endangered animals in zoos around the world would be extinct if they weren’t kept in captivity.
End result, daughter had a great day and my wife spent the trip home trying to keep her awake long enough for a birthday tea and cake. Overall, a memorable and enjoyable day. We almost upgraded to the annual pass tickets on the way out and will probably regret not doing so if we come back again in a few months!