Marwell Wildlife/Zoo

July 17, 2010

Mr Peacock took a week off work last week, we decided not to spend the money on a holiday cottage, but did days out from home.  We have been meaning to take a trip to the zoo for ages. Martha loves animals, but has never seen most of her favourites for real, I don’t know what your stand is in terms of how humane zoos are, but I think that their work in animal conservation should not be completely knocked and as a first experience for many kids to develop an interest in animals and their welfare it has its place.

We had been planning to go to Regents Park’s London Zoo, but have heard that most of their bigger animals have now been moved to Whipsnade (although I would happily go for the Lubetkin Penguin Pool!), and Marwell was recommended as an alternative. It’s an hour away from us down the M3 and so avoided the M25/M1 to Whipsnade. It’s fairly smallish zoo so perfect for little ones and it was pretty quiet – apart from the school groups.

It was a good day out, Martha and Alice loved seeing the animals up close, particularly the penguins. Marwell have windows  so you can see underwater in their enclosure to see them swimming. Most of the animals seemed to have large and well planned spaces and I liked the fact that most of them contained a mix of animals, the zebras shared an enclosure with Ostriches, Waterbuck and Giraffes (although all the giraffes seemed to be in their giraffe house so we got to see them up close, including a very cute baby who seemed to enjoy the attention, posing for photos). Having said that the enclosures for the big cats, Marwell has Leopards, Tigers, and Snow leopards did seem small, but you did at least get to see them, except the tigers who were sleeping in their houses. Its a shame they don’t have any elephants, but we saw lots of other interesting and rare animals including a red panda and white rhinos.

It was a fairly expensive day out with entrance to the park (including a donation and guide book) for 2 adults and 1 child over 3 being almost £45! We took a picnic and there was plenty of picnic spaces, including some undercover ones. Unfortunately we only discovered the undercover ones after a rain shower drove us into the zoo restaurant, which was not too expensive and very comfortable, and much easier to feed the baby. We ate our sandwiches for tea in the car on the way home!

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