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Today I share with you a trip I took to Chester Zoo! And brace yourself because it’s a long one! Even though this blog doesn’t cover everything in the Zoo (or this post would turn into a novel), there’s still so much that I couldn’t bring myself to cut out. So here it is…

Chester Zoo is one of the most popular zoo’s in the United Kingdom. It functions all year round and is a home to more than 20,000 animals and about 600 different species. What is absolutely amazing- is that Chester Zoo animals are all rescues, from poachers or being kept as exotic pets. The zoo gives them a quality life, by caring for these animals and trying to promote their natural habitat and behaviours. The most important aspect of the zoo is their breeding programme, uniting with other zoo’s in the United Kingdom and other countries to pair the endangered species and promote re-production.

The zoo is so popular it even has its own TV show, which airs in the United Kingdom. The place attracts a lot more tourists that way and also raises money for the care of animals. Being truly fascinated by all animal creatures- I’ve wanted to visit this place for a while. I even watched a few episodes of the TV show which is not only hilarious… but also showcases the unique personalities of animals, making them into a bit of celebrities to general public. Of course, I would have preferred to see those animals in their natural habitat, while travelling the world- but this was the best I could do with my budget at the time.

The journey began early in the morning to try and make the most of the day. Along the drive I listened to some of my favourite songs and admired the Welsh landscapes until I finally arrived at the zoo. Parking the car, I realised how busy this place will be, the sun was shining bright and families were flooding the area.

I bought tickets prior to the trip, so I didn’t have to wait too long in line to enter. The place was so busy! I think if there was a downside to the whole day, that was it…. At times I had to push past people to get through… it was also very loud. You’d think it would be because of animals…. but no, these screeching, shouting and laughing sounds were coming from kids. They’d run ahead with parents chasing them, hang off the fences screaming at the animals, while the animals were calm and relaxed in the sunshine. At times it felt as -the kids should be behind those fences (ok…ok … it’s a joke, calm down hehe). Apart from that -the day was perfect. And honestly, it’s down to personal taste anyway, I’m not the one for crowds or screaming kids but who knows? There might be people out there that love that sort of scenery!

Moving aside to animals though. I began by seeing one of my favourite animals- elephants. They happened to be the closest to the entrance, so the journey began there. I watched them for a while, they were using their trunks to throw sand on their backs to keep cool, munching on some food while the little baby elephant kept running around causing havoc.

The zoo ground is very big to cover so there is a lot of walking to be involved. Make sure to list the animals you’d like to see most and prioritise, ensuring you don’t run out of time. Also make a note of their feeding times, because if you come at a random time, you’re most likely to find animals sleeping somewhere in tall grass or hidden from view. And PLEASE bring a pair of comfy walking boots, just trust me. The one mistake I did is purchasing a monorail pass, which was a goofy moment of mine. I thought the monorail would act like a bus, taking tourists around the zoo stopping at different stops (which would aid my injured knee greatly), but in fact it was just a ride around the zoo without the option to step off … and the lines for it were massive so I didn’t end up using it.

So, with that, let’s move onto the next step which was the monkeys. The line through the corridor showcased different species of monkeys, however majority of them were relaxing outside due to nice weather. So, after seeing some of them I moved onto the bat cave. Now… that was very interesting

I entered the corridor, which was quite narrow with multiple doors, making sure the bats don’t escape when people enter. Then you walk into a very dimly lit and spacious hall. The only source of light- is a lamp shaped like a moon on a ceiling, that gives off a little bit of blue light and making strong silhouettes of the long tree branches that were spread out across the hall. Very atmospheric.

The most fun part is, that while you are admiring all the details of this place, dozens of bats are flying around you. As I walked on the narrow path, I had bats passing me from all directions, but they’re so silent and fast all I really saw- was just dark smudges, with one that flew just a few centimetres away from my face. I thought of this experience to be very memorable and worth the trip alone, as it was quite interactive, a moment to appreciate the animals from very close. Children were walking stunned in awe and laughter while women hugged their partners tight or sped right past me, while covering their heads and screaming. Sometimes I found that watching humans there -actually overshadowed the amazing animals, due to their extreme reactions.

Next on the list was going to the island. I approached the tropical styled paths and even more exotic animals. I had a chance to witness some more monkeys before entering the tropical jungle. Walking into another hall I was suddenly hit by a wave of tropical, humid and hot air. The zoo tried to imitate the climate and the environment occurring in the animals’ natural habitat. And I was sweating buckets in no time.

I was struck by the beauty of the exotic birds, flying around me- very much like in the bat cave. I found it fascinating, not just because of these bright-coloured beauties with such unique features but also due to a number of exotic plants which were surrounding me. Walking into another part of the path, I had a chance to admire some crocodiles and turtles. Until I saw some 8 legged crawlies behind a glass barrier and at this point ‘noped’ out of there. hehe

Stepping outside of the tropical jungle… the next step was …. Orangutans! One of my favourite stops! Some orangutans were relaxing on the grass, covering themselves in blankets. I was so happy to see a little baby orangutan peaking from behind the rock to look at us people! It was so adorable. I stood and watched them for a while… smiling and laughing at their dorky gestures, and their interactions with one another… it brought me such great joy!

I could stay in that section forever, but it was time to move on, as I had still- a pretty extensive list of animals to see. I moved on to see some more animals including tigers, bears, and then I saw the chimpanzees! Which was an incredible experience! Their explosive behaviour and extensive communication skills made them quite a treat to observe.

Looking at them from afar, I didn’t get much of a size comparison… until I walked inside the building to see them behind the glass and one sat by me. Only a wall of glass separating us, I looked at this giant with muscles so refined no sporty jock could compare. I convinced myself that he could shatter that wall with one kick, he looked that strong. Walking back outside, I watched the chimps some more with caution- since I didn’t want to be one of those people who have chimp poop thrown at them.

The next stop was another isolated building, much like the tropical hall before. I walked through a tunnel archway, admiring some more animals on the way, before walking inside and being instantly stunned by the amazing hanging plants surrounding the doorway. Yes, I got excited over plants… just try to imagine my face after I opened the door and this view got revealed…. A beautiful green oasis. All shades of green from tropical plants with a waterfall installation and once again, birds in all shades and colours flying by. I walked around admiring all the animals until I reached one of my favourite spots again, the FROG section!

Yes, that’s was also on top of my ‘must see’ list. I looked at different species of poisonous frogs – with their vibrant colours. I found this brought back some childhood memories of playing around the lake near a forest; catching and releasing frogs. Such a precious memory, I loved it so much. Hehe

Seeing the giraffes being fed was another great experience. Those tall giants were so fun to watch as they ate leaves off the branches that would hang off a rope. They were so calm, so graceful. The sunshine was peeking through the windows illuminating the scenery, it looked as if this scene was taken out of a movie.

I quickly rushed to the last spot – a butterfly greenhouse. Upon entering, I instantly knew that this will be my favourite place; surrounded by beautiful plants and vibrant flowers you walk through a path and have various species of butterflies flying around you!  I can’t compare this experience to anything real, it honestly felt like a dream, a fantasy movie perhaps. Hundreds of butterflies of all sizes and colours flew around me to sit on fellow plants, flowers and trees. It honestly was so beautiful it didn’t feel real.

I admired the butterflies, watching them up-close as they sat on flowers and plants. The place wasn’t that big, so I must have circled it at least three times before finally deciding to leave, though I wanted to stay there forever. Imagine having a cup of coffee while reading a good book surrounded by all those plants and the butterflies, fluttering all around you…. Dreamy.

Upon leaving- there was a big mirror to check if any butterflies landed on you, so you won’t leave with them. I personally didn’t have any land on me but speaking to a fellow enthusiast of the place who visited before, said that the big blue butterflies would often land on people and just sit. It wasn’t their season so there wasn’t any while I was there. But I would love to return to  see them while they’re in season.

And that was it! That was the last stop and I honestly can’t think of any more perfect way to end this wonderful day than this experience. What was a few long hours, in the end felt like minutes with all the excitement and joy. Although long -drive home was very pretty, with gentle views of the sunset gleaming behind the hills.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and adventure! It was such a lovely day and I’m glad to share it with you all!

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See you again,

 Marta x

Marta

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