Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Teddy Bears Go Free
Artwork by E.H. Shepherd
Who is the most famous literary bear in the world? P.S. please say Winnie the Pooh or you'll ruin my entire premise)
That's right, it's Winnie the Pooh. Children's author A.A. Milne to wrote The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for his own son, Christopher Robin, but this silly old bear made of fluff could not avoid the public eye for long, and came to be loved by all children and adults.
But where did Milne get his inspiration for the character right? If you said Christopher Robin's teddy, Edward bear would be correct. Or at least partly.
Harry Colebourne with Winnie the bear in 1914
The physical appearance of Pooh Bear was inspired by his son's toy, but the name came from someone far more animated. Winnie the black bear played mascot for a Canadian regiment, but upon the outbreak of World War One, she was given to ZSL London Zoo. A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin frequently visited Winnie, and so Milne named his children's character after her.
It is hard to believe, but if it were not for World War One, Winnie the Pooh could have ended up with a very different name, and somehow Eddie the Pooh just doesn't cut it.
To celebrate the hundredth year anniversary since Winnie the bear arrived at ZSL London Zoo, they are holding a Little Creatures Festival. Tickets to the festival is slightly cheaper than standard entry, costing £21.81 for adults, £15.90 for children, and is free for under 3s.
At Little Creatures, which runs between the 29th - 31st August, you will be able to visit the Winnie the Bear exhibition, where you will be able to learn about Winnie, and visit lots of animals featured in the Winnie the Pooh books. These include kangaroos, owls, a donkey, and Jae Jae the tiger. Jae Jae is a male Sumatran tiger born in San Fransico in 2008. In 2012 he travelled over five thousand miles to ZSL London Zoo to find love. There he met Melati, and on the 3rd February 2014 he became a father of triplets.
Go on an 'expotition' through the Woodland Walk, where you will meet the bugs and bees. The trail will take you to Owl's house, where you can learn about the zoo's wisest creatures.
As well as meeting the animals, there will be fun games on the lawn, and when you get a rumbly in your tumbly, grab a small smackeral at the Animal Cafe.
Children are encouraged to bring their teddy bears with them for a teddy bears' picnic. There will be a prize for the most adventurous bear. Other activities include crafts, nature workshops, and face painting.