As you might have read before, I do like to cram in days out when we’re on holiday. We rarely spend a full day at one location when we’re on our own. Both N and I (although him more), like to have a few hours whizzing around, and then get bored and want to get away and do something else or chill out. So we did have at least 1 mad day on holiday when we did quite a few different activities.
On our first day in Norfolk we decided to visit Amazona Zoo just outside Cromer. This is a fairly new zoo and wildlife park, based on South American animals and environment. We’d had a disappointing visit to The Living Rainforest before, but we found Amazona a lot better to visit with more to see.
As it wasn’t Norfolk school holidays and we arrived early, Amazona was very quiet. This meant more space and time for us to go where we wanted.
Everything seems really eco-friendly, lots of wooden cabins and decked walkways to get to the animals. There’s a real mix of animals and birds, some we recognised, others we didn’t. N was excited to choose his own route around the park and walkways. He’d taken his camera, so he loved spotting and trying to photography some ducklings (yep, not sure mallard ducks are Amazonian).
We saw a variety of animals from flamingos, tapirs, Geoffrey’s spider monkeys lazing in the sun, reptiles, fish, crocodiles and fish in the tropical house.
We liked watching the monkeys, although they weren’t being very active, preferring to sunbathe.
Our favourite was the big cat area. The puma was asleep behind his window, but the young jaguar was out pacing his run. I felt so sad for him because there was a notice saying his mum had recently died, and he’d only ever lived with her, so was grieving quite badly, hence was pacing a lot and making more noise than normal. They were monitoring him – poor thing. It’s interesting to reflect how animals also suffer from loss of relations.
The discovery tepee was a little empty, but good to get children thinking about the Amazon, deforestation and impact on indigenous tribes. N was interested in one woman’s tribal face decoration and then recognised her picture later on when he spotted it in the café.
There were also a few areas for play amongst the animals – N enjoyed driving the big cat ‘train’. The proper play area had plenty of picnic benches round, but disappointingly the 2 jumping pillows were padlocked off. Given they weren’t actually it didn’t make sense. Naughtily someone had gone over with their child because whenever they went to Amazonia they always went on them, and toddler was on the autistic spectrum and didn’t understand not going on them.
I decided I’d drop N over because I couldn’t see a safety issue (I’m not usually a rule breaker, but for once did). But then the staff came out to explain it was because the sand was too hard around the pillows. We left but the father put up a fight saying he’d have to work the time down prepping his child for coming off. I understand where businesses have to follow health and safety, but sometimes it is annoying when the signs say children play under parents’ supervision and not the business liability, but then the parents aren’t able to make the call. Because of course, tonnes of children fall off bouncing pillows head first onto compact sand (not that it looked very compact anyway).
The rest of the play area was perfect for N’s age – good balancing and obstacles. It’s great to see him so confident about using play equipment nowadays. There’s no stopping him for most things now and he doesn’t seem to struggle on them either (except maybe really high netting).
There’s also a soft play cabin which N enjoyed for a while on his own, before he was joined by a few other children. I could see it getting quite busy if it’s raining but it’s nice to have that alternative to outdoors.
After having our fill of the animals, it was nearly time for lunch so we stopped off and ate in the café. The food is fairly simple – jacket potatoes, chips, burgers , sausage rolls, sandwiches but wasn’t too expensive and there was enough taste for us. The café is rustic though and decorated quote roughly to fit in with the outdoor nature of the place. It wasn’t warm on the day we were there (despite it being warm outside).
A quick walk out via the shop and we were on our way off to the next activity after a nice morning learning about Amazonia zoo’s animals.
Amazona wasn’t very expensive, it cost around £20 for the 2 of us. It’s also worth keeping a look out for tourist information things to do leaflets, because I had 2 with money off vouchers for Amazona (which I forgot to use). It’s really good for toddlers as it’s not too large for walking around and primary age children will love finding out about everything too.
Have you ever been? Where are your favourite wildlife parks and zoos?