Alicia Babaee took her three-year-old son and her hubby to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and the trip was a roaring success, as she explains.
Once upon a time, there was nothing I liked more than prosecco-filled nights out.
These days, I’m all about fun-filled family days out – and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is just the ticket.
Based in Dunstable, it’s on MK’s doorstep. It’s pricey, with entry starting at £16.60 for a child, but there’s so much to see and do that you can make an entire day of it.
We went on a gloriously sunny day. We’d failed to plan our route (standard for us!) so we set off exploring spontaneously.
Our first encounter was with the chimpanzees. We spent a good 20 minutes watching them smashing giant ice blocks containing frozen fruits, and playing with toys to release nuts the keepers had hidden inside.
We saw a rhino having a shower, cooed over a cute baby hippo (while holding our noses!) and got scarily close to the lions by the glass viewing area.
We laughed at the adorable sloth bears (think Baloo in Jungle Book), ducked our way through the butterfly house and watched the giraffes feasting on tasty straw.
There’s a jam-packed schedule of talks but, with three-year-old Henry in tow, we just did an elephant one.
With two babies in the herd, it was an excellent choice – and it was engaging and educational. Top marks!
Without the foresight to pack a picnic, we had to hunt out some food.
Whipsnade’s recently collaborated with the well-known River Cottage, so the seven other available pit stops didn’t get a look in.
We ordered BBQ’d beef brisket flatbreads and posh hot dogs but, for the price, it was disappointing.
After lunch we hopped aboard the steam train for a ride on which we learnt about the impressive conservation work taking place.
Another highlight was the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, open all summer. Henry was a little young, but loved learning about wild foods and doing an observation challenge – but drew the line at camouflage make-up!
We also spent 30 minutes in the park and, given the sunshine, high-fived ourselves for managing to avoid soft play.
We’ll definitely return and may consider an annual pass as they’re superb value.