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Monday, 19 November 2012

Blackpool Zoo


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















Before we had children, finding entertainments during the weekends and holidays was simple: 

'Let's stay at home and do nothing.' 
'Sounds like a great idea!'

And then we had Abby, and life was never the same again. Discovering new places to go for a family day out has been our mission ever since, but budget is tight, so we don't do them very often. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out that tots100, a British parents' blogging network, has teamed up with moneysupermarket.com, to look for hundreds of parent bloggers to try out some of the best British family attractions from their family days out vouchers range. Yes please! 

We didn't have to wait for long and was told that we will be visiting our chosen Blackpool Zoo, which we've never been before.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out

























We don't normally go to the zoo during Autumn/ Winter as it's just too cold, and the opening times are short (10am to 3:45pm). But we decided to go last Sunday anyway before the days get darker, and were lucky that it was a sunny, beautiful day. There weren't too many families around (because of the season of course), so it was like a stroll in the park. There was a lot to see, including the beauty of nature that we normally won't spot in a zoo (loving my new SONY Cybershot HX200V camera!).


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out




















The zoo isn't one of the bigger ones, but we do prefer it as there was less walking from one area to another. This is especially important if you have younger children with easily tired feet. The zoo was overall very clean and organised. There were a few playgrounds, both indoors and out, and plenty of picnic areas scattered around the zoo so you don't have to walk miles away for it when you are ready to sit down there and then.

There were plenty of hand sanitisers around, especially near areas where you can get close to the animals (more about this later), and it was nice to see that they have a separate Parent & Baby Room for nursing and changing as well.

We were given a list of show times, which we tried to follow, but we ended up like headless chicken running from one place to another, trying to catch them all. So we decided to just take it easy and catch whatever we could. If you don't want to miss any shows, you should plan in advance the route you are taking in the zoo to avoid disappointment.

There were plenty of animals to look at:

Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out

















Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out


















Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out


















Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out


















Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out




















Overall these animals will just mind their own business, taking in as much warmth from the sun as they could before heading to bed in the evening (around 4pm). However, we have encountered quite a few cheeky ones, including a bogie eating Orangutan and a young giraffe chasing us away by slamming a chunky branch at the window.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















Sun tanning Lemur


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















Our personal guard. It guarded our  food  picnic table while we were having lunch so that  it can have all the leftover.  we won't be bothered by other hungry seagulls.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















This small, cute and cheeky Squirrel Monkey from Amazonia (Blackpool zoo enclosed section) was trying to search our buggy. The staff sprayed it with water to chase it away before I could take a picture.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out















3 of the Lemurs from the Lemur Wood have been following us, either wanting to get out of the wood with us, or chase us away. Luckily they didn't bite nor scratch!


Some other interesting animals we've spotted:

Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out















A milking cow inside the children's farm. Abby ended up on top of it instead of under it.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















Farm animals inside the children's farm. Children are allowed to feed and pet (during feeding and handling sessions) them, and there were plenty of sinks for the children to wash their hands with warm water and soap to make sure that all bacteria are washed away. Be careful of the splashing though!


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out

















Can you see it? It's a Tree Porcupine. They were so high up in the trees we thought that they were giant bird nests!


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















Another Squirrel Monkey, playing with Abby


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















I called this a Puffer Bird. No idea what it really is though!


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















This lion looked more like a scruffy, sulking cat than a King of the Jungle!


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















I have to say that these tigers looked much more fierce and alert than the lion. One of them was circling the compound all the time, while this one just stare. And pose.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out
















We had a fantastic day at the Blackpool Zoo, and although the opening times were shorter, we were really tired at the end of the day. We really enjoyed the fact that there was much to see wherever we walked, instead of seeing a long path ahead to get to another attraction.

We do however think that the admission fee is a bit high for this zoo (£48 for a family ticket of 2 adults and 2 children), and on top of that you'll still have to pay £2.50 for parking (unless you park outside the zoo on the main road), and £1.50 for each activity (crazy golf, bouncy castle, slide, return ticket for zoo train) inside the zoo. Comparing it to another nearby zoo which is much bigger (longer walks between attractions of course), cheaper (£41.50 for a family ticket of 2 adults and 2 children, £46 if you would like to donate to the zoo) and with free parking, Blackpool Zoo just doesn't seem as value for money.


Blackpool Zoo, British family attraction, best British Day Out




















Nonetheless, we enjoyed our day, and we ended it with a nice cup of Starbucks coffee served at the zoo's cafe. I tried their new Caramel Macchiato Latte and it was absolutely delicious! I'll definitely have it again! 


Disclosure: I was sent a family ticket to the zoo to review; all opinions are completely ours and ours alone

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