We were thrilled to be invited down to London Zoo on a blogger sponsored day out by the lovely people at Virgin Money. It was just what we needed after all the events of late, a little mummy and daughter adventure!
I challenged myself to drive down to London, excited to be heading to the city and my old neighbourhood after many years. The sun well and truly had it’s hat on and we knew it was the start of a great day out :) Driving past my old haunts, the school I used to go to, the cinema at Swiss cottage, we animatedly chatted about the day ahead until we reached Regents Park and our destination London Zoo! We parked up and quickly made our way to the main entrance where our hosts for the day, Julie and Max waited patiently.
After a quick brief and hello to the other mummy bloggers we were let loose into the zoo! What to do first? Littlelish grabbed a map and beamed with pride at being allowed to choose where we went. Our mission of the day according to Littlelish was to find the sweetest, cutest animal in the zoo… what would it be? She decided our first destination was the aquarium, it’s the first thing you see as you come into the zoo and we do enjoy a good aquarium. Littlelish navigated us round, still clutching the map. She definitely liked leading the way. We saw big fish, little fish, our favourite was the show off sting ray who entertained us with his funny ray smile. Littlelish was curious to know why his stinging tail didn’t sting all the other fish in the tank! To which I did not have an answer ;)
After a good look in the dark aquarium we ventured blinking, into the bright sunshine, next destination – the giraffes. Littlelish was convinced there was a baby giraffe who she needed to see! We went via the hunting dogs, warthogs and okapi who Littlelish thought were so cool with their stripey tights on!
Once we arrived at the giraffes we climbed up the frame to get a look at the them up close while they munched away on their branches. Littelish was desperate to get even closer and attempted to scale the barrier. She said they looked very soft and would like to stroke them and I have to say I agree! Lovely, graceful animals :) We didn’t find a baby one, only one which was a little shorter than the others – was it a baby? I’m still not sure…
We then headed over to the sticky rainforest to spot some monkeys but had to leave rather quickly as Littlelish couldn’t stand the stench, puffing her cheeks up and not daring to inhale the smelly air! It did make me chuckle. Our next stop was the nightlife area, funnily the dark didn’t phase her at all! She loved watching the bats and we especially loved the loris because it looked so cool! Definitely a contender for the zoo’s cutest animal don’t you think?
We scooted past the meerkats, lemurs, otters and reindeer and decided we would make our way to see some monkeys! The Gorillas had a fantastic enclosure and the coolest of play areas, Littlelish and I decided we would like one of these rooms in our house!!!
It was now time for a spot of lunch we wrestled our way to a free table where we could snack on our packed lunch. We’d been warned that the restaurant was pretty pricey but I have to say the food did look excellent and I felt a little hard done by tucking into my sandwich while everyone was having a nice hot meal. We treated ourselves after lunch with a nice refreshing ice lolly :)
After refueling we headed off to meet the other mummy bloggers and the virgin media team for the penguin show over at Penguin Beach! We managed to get a spot and heard all about the new penguin pool, how the Zoo are trying to keep the environment as natural as possible, they even feed the penguins through a ingenious drain pipe construction which means the penguins are not being fed by human hands but rather the fish is falling directly in the water for them to catch it more naturally. They also explained to us just why a penguin is black and white and no it wasn’t a cheesy joke! The birds are black on their backs so as not to be spotted by predators from above against a dark blue sea and light on their fronts so as not be be spotted from below against the white light as it shines into the water – camouflage, how clever!
It was now group photo time by the lions who were lazily lounging in the sun. There was no time for lordly lounging for us as we still had plenty to see! We headed back to the butterfly pavillion to admire the beautiful butterflies. Littlelish was particularily pleased they weren’t in cages and were free to flutter around. After the butterflies it was on to the other creepy crawlies which I was rather glad were in cages! Spiders, cockroaches and scorpions… no cuties in here!
We had made our way all the way to the back corner of the zoo but here tucked away is in my opinion one of the best areas of the zoo – Meet the Monkeys! An area of the zoo where you can enter the squirrel monkeys home where they run and jump free. On our way in Littlelish noticed the picture of a little boy with only nine fingers! Needlesstosay touching the monkeys was not allowed. She listened well to these instructions but I wasn’t sure she would! Especially when the little boy next to her stroked one and said, mummy it’s soooo soft! Ooops!
One part of the squirrel monkey home is a hide where you could look through binoculars to see the monkeys in the bushes. The cheeky monkeys only came to say hello at the side window, jumped onto the binoculars and off out the other side window!! These were definitely the zoo sweeties we were looking for, absolutely my favourite!!
Next along our path was the area of the zoo designed especially by children for children – Animal Adventure. Always a recipe for success this was definitely Littlelishs favourite part of the zoo. A giant tipi where they do storytelling, chickens roaming around, a special childrens cafe, even a water play area for on a hot day. The specially designed playground was awesome, creative and original and I literally had to bribe her away from the teletubbies style climbing hill! Luckily there was something even more exciting round the corner, the petting zoo! Littlelish has always loved the farm and has absolutely no fear of petting animals. And finally she had found her cutest, cuddliest animal at the zoo… a goat!! She named it whitey black black and spent a good 20 minutes hugging it much to the amusement of some Japanese tourists who started taking photos of her! It was rather cute.
The sun was starting to set so we popped past the llamas and alpacas and tried to spot the difference between the two, watched the camel spit, took a quick peak inside the old elephant house which I remember from being a small child. We said hello and goodbye to the hippo as we made our way to the exit.
I was proud of Littlelish, she managed to walk the entire way round the zoo, never complaining, taking it all in and loving every minute. We had a fantastic day together, it was good to be doing something fun together and making some memories. I have such fond ones of London Zoo as a child so it was lovely that it was something we could now share.
And Littlelish found her cutest zoo animal… Whitey Black Black!
A huge thank you to Virgin Money and Carat Media for organising a wonderful day out.
Our top 10 things to see and do at London Zoo
1. Meet some cheeky squirrel monkeys and see if you can climb like a squirrel monkey
2. Have a play in the childrens area, see how fast you can climb the hill!
3. Hug a goat in the petting zoo!
4. See if you can spot the Loris in the dark
5. Listen to a story in the childrens tipi
6. Admire some beautiful butterflies in the butterfly pavillion, see if you can spot the camoflaged ones!
7. Say hello to ray the show off sting ray
8. Watch the giraffes munching on their lunch with their long tongues!
9. Learn more about the penguins and meet ricky the rockhopper at the penguin show at Penguin Beach
10. Go and meet an okapi! What’s an okapi? Go and find out :)
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