Chester Zoo, England – Day Trip
When Laurence and I went to Chester Zoo, we had a specific animal in mind we wanted to see. Despite that everyone we knew recommended Chester Zoo as one of the best zoo’s in the UK, we had only discovered it and planned to go because it is one of the only places in the UK you can see a sloth! Our love for sloths goes way back, and it’s safe to say at this point that – having a sloth teddy which sleeps on the bed – this was about to be a big achievement for us!
When we went to Chester Zoo however, from first glance, we could tell we were about to enjoy a journey that was going to be more special. In that first glance, as soon as we passed the ticket centre, out in the open, we could see a huge conservation of elephants. Not just one or two, but a big group of them – some even sporting huge tusks walking across the large Safari terrain. Although I had seen elephants at a zoo before, they were too far away and too difficult to spot. However here, from a bridge, we were close enough to even watch as the babies played with sticks and frolicked around their parents. We were mesmerized.
Following this, our experiences were nothing short of exciting. Next we explored the huge bat cave, which I never thought was even possible before! We entered a large warehouse that was almost completely dark aside from a few glowing lights as though we were in an enchanted forest, and above our heads bats flew, spreading their large wings before us. There were trees scattered everywhere, and a path where people walked. Despite how large it was, if you held your hand out you could touch the branches, but you didn’t need to. The bats seemed used to the company, zooming past and swooping into the air. You could see them drop from the ceiling, and circle all around. I was so excited that I didn’t want to leave!
One moment we felt like Batman and the next Snow White, in a beautiful greenhouse tropical conservation with vivid trees, beautiful flowers everywhere, and myriads of different species of butterflies fluttering out of them. It seemed like all that was missing were the dwarfs. One huge one even landed on my thigh!
Chester Zoo was not only incredibly big, it was also very well set out, interactive and fun. There were specific areas set out like ‘The Island’ where they had crocodiles, tigers, and other exotic creatures, so that you could learn about their cultures as a whole as well as being able to marvel at them individually. The crocodile was especially exciting as we not only could see it from above, but there was a glass view of the underwater where we saw the rock-like creature suddenly become animated and dive inside like a mermaid. I never knew crocodiles could be that fluid! Frightening!
We saw giant otters, we fed the okapi who was at first shy but then came over to the fence so close to us, that it even slid out his long blue tongue just to reach the leaves we were passing. And I even got my face-painted. I have no shame!
Chester Zoo was beautiful, and its care for the animals was clearly spread to the keeping of the park in general, as there were several parks even within the park. Some were made specifically for families to enjoy little picnics by the large ‘Snack Stations’, with benches all around, and some parks dedicated only to the beautiful display of flowers and trees. The different colours of the flowers were so vibrant and lush, you could almost miss the beautiful temple statue that they surrounded, which stood so high it got lost within the trees. It was like a sanctuary.
Finally we did see our sloth. The best thing about it was that although it was inside an indoor conservation, it was free to roam everywhere without a barrier between us. At first we couldn’t find it, however with the help of the park volunteers and staff, we finally spotted him high above our heads, in a nest – sleeping! We totally forgot that sloths sleep so much! Inwardly we were slightly gutted, however while watching this cute ball of fluff, amazed to even be so close to it, by some miracle it started to wake up.
It was the most wonderful and exciting sight. It not only woke up, but slowly arose, scratched itself and climbed down its nest; and hanging from the rope above our heads, it made its way from one corner of the room all the way to the other! It passed right above us as the growing crowd gazed with their mouths wide open. We were definitely among them, astonished and ecstatic. There were other animals in that conservation which the sloth shared with, however in that moment he stole the show.
He made his way to a tree, climbed down its branch, and settled right behind us so that we could take a selfie! Some might say it’s a coincidence, but in that moment Laurence and I knew it was for us. 😉
Our dream of seeing a sloth had come true, however after 6 hours spent in Chester Zoo, we can say for sure that the zoo had a lot more to offer than that. It was an amazing experience. It is one of the highlights of Chester, however definitely also one of the highlights of UK. Please check out the video we made showing some of these exciting moments below!
Laurence – The main attraction for our trip to Chester was definitely the notorious Chester Zoo, and it most certainly lived up to our high expectations! Chester Zoo has a terrific reputation, not just in the UK – but across Europe as well. I have visited a number of Zoos and Animal Sanctuaries across different countries, and Chester Zoo was without a doubt one of my favourites! I think a lot of people say they have a soft spot for animals, or that they are ‘animal lovers’ – I would definitely class myself as one of these people. Growing up on a small farm has meant I was never too far away from an animal companion. What’s great about Chester Zoo is the sheer diversity of animals that inhabit the zoo (giraffes, elephants, sloths, penguins, lions, the list goes on!).
Another factor which separates Chester from your average Zoo, is that all the animals actually looked extremely well kept and had a reasonably sized area to roam around freely. It’s horrible visiting a Zoo when you can visually see the animals in distress or looking malnourished. Thankfully, this was not the case at Chester Zoo – the whole experience was incredible. I will warn you though, there is so much to see you may need to make several trips!
Check out our video below!