My memories of visiting the zoo include my mother and father taking us to large grassy parks, whilst abroad, to see the lions, and my sisters and I being frightened by the peacock that was stalking around, and at five years old, it's not far off your height. Aside from the peacock incident, the zoo was always a fun day out where I got to explore and wander and see wild animals before my eyes.
In a bid to relive my childhood, my boyfriend and I planned a trip to Chester Zoo – the nearest to Manchester – in the hope of seeing the top jungle predators: lions, tigers, and bears …
We planned our visit relatively last minute (the day before), and thankfully there was no trouble buying our tickets at such short notice. Even though we had bought student tickets, we weren't asked for our student cards, as our barcode was simply scanned, and we went straight through.
We were given a map at the entrance, and the zoo attendants were on hand, ready to guide us. There are also signs around the park, so if you are truly lost, there are sign posts at every corner. We strolled leisurely around the 11-mile radius park and decided not to take the optional monorail service.
As I mentioned, I was looking forward to seeing the big cats, and boy did we see them – as we delved into the zoo, the lions were a few metres away, lying languidly in the grass.
They have the following animals: Amphibians and reptiles Bugs and insects Birds Bats Cats
As you reach the perimeters surrounding the animals you're looking at, there are plaques which detail the homeland of the animal, the behavioural tactics, and the way in which you might help their existence.
Don't be surprised if the lions and tigers just lie there. They still have an air of majesty even when lying down.
Chester Zoo is fantastic for little ones, medium ones, and big ones. The fascination with a different species is shared curiosity by all ages. Most of the visitors were OAP's, babies, toddlers, children, and parents. If anything, we were only a few of the young adults in the whole park, but everyone seemed in awe of the animals.
There are also gardens for you to peruse. We only spent about ten minutes in this section because of my fear of trees, but keen gardeners will love the exotic plants and wild flowers they have at the zoo.
As far as amenities are concerned I was surprised by the variety and quality of the food available at the zoo. Having visited zoos in the past, I was imagining chips and burgers, so we brought a picnic - like most of the other visitors. However, there is a total of four restaurants, one being a rather swanky-looking pub, a bar, and numerous ice cream and sorbet stands dotted around the zoo. Although we ate our food, it was too much temptation not to buy the food on offer. We indulged in a large salad box to share (£6.75), an ice cream each (£1.80), and a slushy (£1.90). It's not cheap, and if you usually bring a packed lunch, indulging in the zoo's offerings can be a real treat.
Whatever you do, do not feed the animals, there are signs all over the zoo, and although it's tempting to try and interact with them (primates in particular), I wouldn't because the food we eat could harm the animals, and get you thrown out.
The unpredictable nature of animals is what made our trip so fun. At one point the chimps were grooming each other, the next they were scrambling around, play fighting and hanging from the ropes.
Entry price is a little expensive, so treat it as a special day out. There are family package prices and the following concessions you can take advantage of the prices: OAP's £18.50, Kids £15.00 Students £16.50 and groups of over fifteen receive a discount.
Chester Zoo does have disabled access, as well as daily events, aimed mainly at children. Either way, the zoo itself is a whole day's worth of exploring and discovering animals you never knew existed.