• Cara Goulding

Day Trips: London Zoo

Was there anything more exciting when you were little than going on day trips? 

I remember the anticipation in the lead up and skipping through the gates of wherever we had gone ready to explore and have fun. Of course Rosie is a little bit young for skipping at the moment but I still hope that she will feel the excitement on day trips to come. 

Until that moment arrives I will just have to make do with being excited for her, which is exactly what I did yesterday when we went to London Zoo. 

We haven't been in years, probably when we first moved to London, so at least 6 years ago but with friends visiting and a desire to see some animals off we went. 

Getting there wasn't particularly difficult, I've got used to the pram on the underground now. Everyone is so helpful (the other day I had 2 men carry the pram either side whilst I held the front - she looked like a queen!) so even with a distinct lack of lifts on the tube it's not too bad. 

We got off at Camden Town and walked along the canal to the Zoo, a more scenic view and leaving us with a desire to have a riverside house with a jetty. It started to drizzle which actually worked in our favour on the day as it meant that there was hardly anyone there and aside from a few space invading Chinese tourists and 2 groups of school children we pretty much had the place to ourselves. 

We started off at the Reptile House, because typically the babies fell asleep just as we walked through the front gates. We didn't want them to miss any of the 'fun' animals so we headed to where it was warm, dry and full of lizards and snakes. Of course. 

Babies still asleep we ventured out into the sunlight and right across from us was the Gorilla enclosure so we headed over, hoping the children would wake up to at least see some of it. 

Not that it was particularly easy for the adults to see anything anyway, the reflection from the glass and some very sensible Gorillas keeping warm meant that it was tricky. There was one particularly cheeky monkey who kept coming up to the glass every time a camera was pointed his way. In sync the babies woke up and got to see a Gorilla but predictably they didn't really care. 

We sauntered over to the Tigers and the Camels, to point and stare and try and get a flicker of enthusiasm from them but nada. I however realised that I'm not sure I've ever seen a Camel so it was a little bit new and exciting. They're bigger than I thought they would be for some reason. 

We needed warmth, and a chance to sit down and breastfeed so we stopped by the cafe. We bought some insanely overpriced sandwiches and gave the little ones a top up whilst chatting, laughing and plotting our next move.

Back out into the winter temperatures and we went to see the Penguins and the Butterflies. I was enamoured with the Penguin's little faces as they swam in the current, happy as Larry. We messed around like little children ourselves, clambering into large portholes and taking pictures.

In to the tropical heat of the butterfly house (the camera steamed up something awful) and suddenly Rosie just lit up and she couldn't whip her head around fast enough. It was so wonderful to see her take in as much as she possibly could and it was the most she cared the whole day!

On the walk over to the Aquarium the babies fell asleep again, so we walked around the dimly lit room looking at all the fish big and small, my favourite was the sparkly piranhas. I'm looking forward to taking Rosie to Sealife when she's a bit older, especially as she slept through it this time. 

The main attraction was, of course, the Giraffes so we made our way over to look at the three that live in the Zoo. They really are the most majestic of animals, aren't they? You just forget how tall they are until you see them - they even caught the attention of the babies, although not for long of course. We arrived just as a group of people with pre-booked 'Feed the Giraffe' turned up so we got to see them eating as well, and their ridiculously long tongues.

We were running out of time before our friends needed to leave to get their train so we quickly sped over to the Nightlife and Rainforest section of the Zoo. It was so reminiscent of Bali and Thailand, with the smells and heat. We watched the tiny monkeys and fruit bats swopping from tree to tree whilst a fine mist covered the dripping leaves. 

Time again for another feed, and another opportunity for our children to interact with each other It's fantastic to watch them as they try and figure each other out - do they know that they are both so little? It would be amazing to know what goes on in their little minds. 

Realising the time, and that we were going to have to say bye soon we took one last picture, wrapped up warm again and left - racing through the gift shop and across Regent's Park so our friends could make the train. 

A few points about the day:

  • We went in November on a weekday (not in half term) which meant that it was quiet and we didn't have to fight through hoards of people to see the animals however it also meant that most of the animals were inside. I've just realised I hadn't even mentioned going to the Lion enclosure and that's because we didn't see any so I'd forgotten! 

  • Consider the age of the children. We went knowing that they probably weren't going to be that engaged but it will definitely be better value for money if you can see the Zoo through their excitement (as well as your own)

  • Prebook - 2 adults tickets pre-booked were £40 but on the door would have been £50 - you can book here.

  • Take Lunch - Seriously consider packing a picnic because it would be very easy to spend a fortune. Not really an option in the dead of winter but in the summer it will save you a bundle. 

Cara x