At the end of the Easter holidays I wanted us to go on a nice day trip to finish off the break. N wasn’t keen to leave the farm, but I suggested a couple of options and Twycross Zoo made the grade in his eyes. We’re lucky where we live because we’re able to get to a lot of places within an hour. Early on a Saturday morning, we had no traffic issues round Birmingham getting to Twycross.
Although it was a lovely sunny morning, and a Saturday during school holidays, we didn’t have to queue for long to get entry tickets. I never book in advance because of the weather and N’s temperament on the day, but if you did there was an alternative entrance to fast track in.
We were given a map of the site, and then could decide when and where we wanted to go. The one thing about zoos (and other places) is that sometimes you can’t see the sensible route around and you aimlessly wander from place to place. It would be nice if maps would sometimes show different routes you can take, rather than you having to back track. Most people want to see everything, so following a trail could be useful for some of us who like a bit more structure. Of course it didn’t worry N, but we did spend a lot of time going back and forth when we spotted things.
We started off with the monkeys. N wasn’t that excited about them, but once we saw the gorillas and gibbons later on he was much more interested in their athletic swinging, filming them himself, and asking lots of questions about what they were doing and why they were different, and just generally giving me a commentary on their activity.
The giant tortoises were a surprise hit with N. We watched them moving from inside, through their door out into the open air. We spent a lot of time watching them and even returned later on in the day.
N spotted the picnic area with the playground train on so he had some time playing on that before we moved on.
The zebras didn’t hold much interest, but the giraffes were gorgeous. It was a nice walk round to get closer to the elephants, with some lovely wooden walkways and information posted as you walk round past little huts and stop points.
We didn’t really get near the elephants, but N did get excited to point out that one was trying to cool himself down with a puddle of water.
The blossom around the zoo was beautiful so I had to snap away much to N’s annoyance. ‘No more photos mummy, come on follow me’.
While it was a warm morning we were there, it wasn’t warm enough to get stripped down for N to go in the water play area. If you’re visiting Twycross Zoo in summer, then definitely take swim wear for the children because the water area did look fun. I didn’t notice any changing areas though so I presume it’s just get them changed in nearby toilets or outside?
There’s numerous ice cream and drinks kiosks around the zoo and we did stop for an ice cream. Get your money out though because the ice cream options aren’t cheap, even the children’s options.
N’s other favourite animals were the penguins. He loved them, as did lots of other children. You could get fairly close to where the humbolt penguins were standing at the edge of their enclosure, and could stand alongside the underwater windows to spot them swimming by. N loved running alongside and waiting for them to pop up and spot them. Great fun and easy entertainment for children.
Once we’d had our fill of walking around and spotting all the animals it was time for some lunch. Oddly, you have to exit towards the shop to get to the main restaurant. There is a smaller one in the middle of the zoo but there wasn’t much choice. We had our hand stamped to get back in, although it was a bit of a mystery to work out which way to head out (exit signs, or a re-entry point sign might have been handy. It was the fast track booth, but then you had people coming in and out in both directions, and when we headed back in for a bit after lunch, the booth was shut anyway. Mystery!
The main restaurant is quite large with plenty of tables, and you’re able to overlook the snow leopard’s enclosure which was nice to see. Foodwise there was a variety of hot meals to choose from, plus lunchboxes for kids (just under a fiver for 5 items), and then baguettes or paninis (although I couldn’t work out where the latter were). I would say don’t choose the egg mayo baguettes unless you like onion in them – a bit of a surprise and not really a good mix in my opinion! There’s also a standalone coffee takeaway part where you can buy delicious looking cakes from.
N spent a lot of the trip begging to go in the soft play area, but it was an additional cost so I refused. It wasn’t that large, and for the amount of time he’d spend in there it wasn’t worth the money for me. But watch out for the pester power because N was a pain in the backside about it!
After lunch we had a bit more time so headed to the explorer zone to investigate the pet area and outdoor play areas. N refused to have a go (see above, he was still moaning about soft play), but the climbing frames and equipment looked quite good.
You can walk through a goat walkway but N refused, but other small children were loving it being able to stroke the goats. We did race through the pet areas which included rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and more, including some tiny donkeys outside that were watched being fed.
On the way back out to the car we managed to catch a look at the leopard circling round.
We really enjoyed our visit to Twycross Zoo. They certainly do great conservation work, here’s a good variety of animals too see and it’s a small enough site for walking comfortably round, but large enough to not feel too busy.
Have you ever been? Are you a fan of zoos?
Why not take a look at these similar posts.