By Lucy Brooks
A day out at one of Britain’s most popular tourist attractions is far from a walk in the park, but it is well and truly worth the visit.
Chester zoo was established in 1931 in the small village of Upton; being easily accessible by the number 1 or X1 bus from Chester. It is currently home to more than 35,000 animals, consisting of over 500 rare species from across the world.
The first animal I paid a visit to were the Asian elephants. A zookeeper informed me of the typical working day taking care of such a high-maintenance mammal, before beginning the rest of my adventure.
“Each morning we go into the enclosure, which is very hot, and check up on the herd; making sure everything’s alright,” he said.
After what felt like hours of walking around, I had made it to a halfway food stop off. Although it was slightly overpriced (£5.50 for a hot dog), the excellent customer service I received made up for it. Small kiosks are dotted about the zoo, creating that authentic safari feel to complete the experience.
At first sight the £29 ticket does come as overwhelming, but once you’re in you begin to realise the expenditure is justified.
Not only does the price come with exciting shows and talks (mostly for children), but also a free 15-minute lazy river boat trip expedition around the six South East Asian islands. Here you will find endangered warty pigs, lowland anoas, and possibly even some southern cassowarys, given they’re not all hiding away again anyway.
Upon my visit I became increasingly aware of the educational role zoos have in teaching future generations about preserving the planet and its wildlife. Chester zoo in particular encourages ethical decisions with their minimal plastic use, which can come as a surprise when your handed water in a can.
I managed to get lucky with the timing of my visit in the fact that a pair of red-bellied lemur twins had just been born. Although this made the enclosure a crowded area on the busy Saturday afternoon, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the primates snuggling into their mother at just a few days old.
The zoo’s animals have origins from all around the world, ranging from the lions from India, all the way to the majestic flamingos from the Caribbean. These bewildering animals are nurtured by keepers to prevent extinction and preserve many extraordinary species.
Andean bears, Bornean orangutans, bush dogs and tree kangaroos are just a few of the wild creatures I managed to see on my visit, but after four hours of the exploring the attraction, my visit came to an end.
As tired as my legs were, I could happily do the whole thing again, and that’s when that unlimited entry membership began to sound very tempting…
To find out more about Chester Zoo, visit: https://www.chesterzoo.org