When we were invited to visit Chester Zoo and, even better, attend the launch of the new Play Zone, it was an opportunity too good to miss. It was a great coincidence that the date fell on Harry’s 3rd birthday, making it the perfect way to celebrate his birthday as a family. Funnily enough, the last time I had visited Chester Zoo was on Lewis’s 3rd birthday, a whole decade ago, and so I was very excited to see just how much had changed!
On arriving at the zoo I was pleased to find that appropriate security measures were in place. Given the recent terrorist attacks in the UK, I’ll admit to being a little worried about visiting such a popular tourist attraction, so it was hugely reassuring to see that each bag was thoroughly searched and security were present, meaning that we could simply relax and enjoy our day.
When we arrived at the Play Zone the children couldn’t contain their excitement, and I genuinely think that they forgot all about the animals and would have been happy to play there all day long!
From climbing frames, to rope ladders, Chester Zoo had thought of it all, and the children were spoilt for choice on what to try first!
For a child like Harry, who climbs on literally everything, he was completely in his element!
The girls loved the slides and I lost count of the number of times they came whizzing down, laughing hysterically!
Alongside the traditional play equipment, there is a fantastic water zone, where the children can take off their socks and shoes and get into the water to play. With the sun cracking the flags, it was the perfect way to cool down!
My children love nothing more than splashing in the water and, although only very shallow, they had so much fun in there!
With a variety of wheels and pulley systems, it was lovely to see them working together, and squealing as the cold water hit their feet!!
In another area of the Play Zone is the sand pit, where there is so much for the children to do, including lots of little nooks and crannies for them to crawl in and out of!
As reluctant as the children were to leave the Play Zone, the rest of us were desperate to see some animals, although it was a real challenge dragging them out of there!
As is always the case when it comes to my children, a day out wouldn’t be a day out without an accident of some kind. So on the way to see the animals, when Harry fell face first whilst running down a hill, our first stop was the first aid cabin!! With a nasty graze to the head, and a huge bump forming, I cannot fault the staff for their fast responses. The first aider was so lovely and reassuring, made Harry laugh whilst cleaning his wound and applying an ice pack, and made a real fuss of it being his birthday, including giving him a special badge for being so brave.
After the drama of Harry’s head injury we decided it would probably be far safer to hire a buggy so that Harry could be safely strapped in whilst travelling around the zoo! The buggy hire starts at £6 a day, up to £10 for a double, but it was worth every penny to contain two of the little ones and store our bags, even if we did have to boot Lewis out of there on one occasion!
Chester Zoo is far bigger than I ever remembered, 125 acres in size, and there is a lot of walking involved. At one point we assumed that we had seen everything there was to see before discovering that we hadn’t even touched on a quarter of it!
One thing that really struck me was just how healthy and happy all of the animals looked. Chester Zoo has some amazing viewing points to see the animals with raised platforms, glass screens and underwater portholes.
Our favourite animals at the zoo were, the children’s kindred spirits, the monkeys!
It was amazing to see them so close, although at first Eva wasn’t quite sure what to make of them!
Her worried look soon turned to laughter when one of the monkeys came and sat directly on the window ledge in front of her and tapped on the glass!
Another recent addition to Chester Zoo are the islands. There you can find a variety of different animals, the tropical realm, indoor and outdoor enclosures and boat rides along the waterways.
I love how every part of the zoo has been designed with such care to detail, every stand, even those simply selling ice creams, are in keeping with the style of the zoo and there are so many spots for the perfect photo!
Chester Zoo also has some of the most beautiful gardens to wander through, making the perfect spot for a picnic.
We were able to take some beautiful phots of the children to look back on, especially with it being such a special day for Harry’s birthday.
It was lovely to see Harry enjoying himself, birthdays are so exciting when you’re small and it was very special to know that both he and Lewis had spent their 3rd birthdays at Chester Zoo.
From gasping at seahorses in the aquarium…
Spying on otters in the outdoor enclosures…
Laughing at the cheeky monkeys in the tropical realm….
Riding on model elephants….
And comparing lemur tails, the children genuinely enjoyed every single moment.
It was so lovely to be able to share that experience, all six of us together, without Lewis moaning that he was bored, Eva whining that she was hungry , Megan crying that her legs hurt, or Harry injuring himself every two minutes…..oh wait…..!! And yet with so much to see, so many places to eat, the luxury of a buggy and the most helpful of first aiders, we really could not have asked for anything more from our day out at the zoo.
*** We were kindly gifted these tickets for the purpose of the review. All words and opinions are my own. ***