I’m just gonna come out and say it; I’m a huge animal lover. I’ve fed alpacas, been whale watching, and even seen alligators in Flordia! During a break between modules at University, my Dad & I headed to Chester Zoo for a little day out. I’ve been going to Chester Zoo for as long as I can remember as it’s pretty near to Manchester. Despite having lots of good memories, I’ve not been back for a couple of years. So, when the sun decided to pay North West England a visit for a couple of days, we decided to go and see all the new attractions.
Animals are my all time favorite thing to photograph, so I apologize now for a number of photos.
Islands at Chester Zoo
One of the newest attractions at Chester Zoo is the Islands. A re-creation of 6 South East Asian Islands, each area is linked by a series of waterways and bridges. If you fancy resting your weary feet, you can also hop onto the Lazy River Boat Trip to get a different perspective.
If the aim was to give me major wanderlust and a desperate desire to head to Indonesia, it succeeded. Although we did pick a particularly glorious day to see the Islands (I got burnt through my T-shirt FYI), you could easily forget you were in the North of England.
Despite the amazing landscaping, this is still a zoo, and it’s the animals that take the lead. From Warty Pigs (I fell in love) and Orangutans to the Sumatran Tiger and the Bali Starling, all animals had their unique habitat re-created beautifully. I love being able to experience things first hand so having interactive elements was perfect. I really enjoyed walking through an aviary and getting really close to the Bali Starling (that funky white bird). It just made everything much more natural and engaging.
Out of all the zones, my favorite was the Monsoon Forest, which happens to be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in UK history! Super humid, it was like walking through an actual forest, with birds flying all around us. In little caves, there were separate enclosures such as the Sunda Gharial, one of the largest types of crocodile. As someone who has dreamed of visiting Asia, it was the next best thing to actually getting on a plane.
Chester Zoo highlights
Because I took so many photos, I thought I’d just show you my favorites as a sort of highlights of our visit.
The last photos are of the monorail which I think is absolutely amazing. Essentially, it’s a tram on a high-level track that circles the zoo. There are two stops, each one-half way around the park, making it the perfect way to get to a particular point. It’s also great for resting tired feet or just seeing the zoo from another perspective. I love that you can see into the enclosures from the carriages, and we even saw a lion that wouldn’t have been visible had we not been on a tram.
There’s one exhibit that has a special place in my heart, but for obvious reasons, I didn’t take pictures. The Fruit Bat Forest very cleverly switches the lighting around so it’s dark in daytime and light at nighttime. This allows visitors to walk through an indoor enclosure with bats flying all around. I have a bit of a story about this exhibit that I think should be told. When it first opened I was really young and absolutely terrified. The only bats I’d ever seen were in horror films, so I was a bit scared of them flying around my head. My Dad decided to go in on his own and mentioned me to a keeper who happened to be in the exhibit. Well, that keeper told my Dad to go get me, and bring me in. After a lot of persuading, I did go in, and the Keeper was waiting for me at the door. He then proceeded to take me around the exhibit. He even got out a little light to show me bats were actually fluffy and kinda cute up close. Suddenly I wasn’t afraid, and it was all thanks to that Keeper taking the time to share his passion with me. I have never forgotten that day, and how amazing it was, and that’s why I will always come back to Chester Zoo.
The Chimpanzee that stole the show
I couldn’t do a blog post on our day at Chester Zoo without including this guy. Like most people who go to the Zoo, we go and see the Chimpanzees. I’m always fascinated by Chimpanzee’s and how similar to humans they are, but there was one chimpanzee who took this to a new level. I’ll walk you through what happened …
To give you some background info, the main area in the Chimpanzee House had a metal climbing frame in the middle, with different tiers etc. One of the chimpanzees was climbing right to the top level and rolling around getting everyone’s attention. Another Chimpanzee (show stealer) came into the indoor section and sat down. He first caught my attention because he just looked so human like. I think he was an older Chimpanzee as he was a bit gray, I mean silver. Anyway, he continued to watch the Chimpanzee at the top and looked like he was smiling. It was almost like he was baby sitting and smiling as the young ones played. He even looked at us visitors as if he understood we were sharing a moment, like a proud parent.
Mr Show Stealer then got restless and moved to a position a bit closer to me. I actually think the reason behind it was so he could get a better view of the Chimpanzee at the top of the climbing frame! Anyway, it was at this point the Chimpanzee on the frame was playing with a sack and threw it over his head, playing with it. Mr Show Stealer seemed to find this hilarious and looked like he was almost laughing at it. What really struck me was that he even turned to us visitors to see our reactions. If I hadn’t had my David Attenborough fix for one day, I think the Chimpanzee then realized I was taking photos of him, and appeared to pose for them!
Don’t believe me? Here’s the gif I made from the photos!
As you can see, I had the best day at Chester Zoo with my Dad. I absolutely loved exploring the Islands, and even made a Chimpanzee friend! Now I want to know where has the best wildlife experiences? Let me know in the comments below.
Now I want to know where has the best wildlife experiences? Let me know in the comments below.
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