Saturday, 5 January 2013
Taking them to the Zoo while it's FREE
Given that next week we are back to routine and the Christmas holiday is officially over, yesterday we decided to take advantage of the dry weather and take Oliver and Isabella for a day at the zoo. We have visited plenty of zoos and wildlife parks between us over the years, and Marwell Zoo is a favourite. It's quite a large zoo with plenty to see and it's not to far to get to from where we live.
The only downside these days is the cost. During the peak season Marwell Zoo costs £18.00 per adult and £14.00 per child ((or £16.35 per adult if you opt out of the voluntary donation, and £12.72 per child, note you have to ask to opt out). In the winter months the entrance fee is a few pounds cheaper for both adults and children. Thankfully for us Under 3's are FREE, so we didn't have to pay at all for Oliver or Isabella. We didn't take Samuel with us as he was spending the day with his dad, but if we had taken him it would have worked out slightly cheaper as there is a concession for children with disabilities and one carer (i.e. me) would've been free.
So, for Gary, myself and two under 3's it cost us £25.44. We opted out of the voluntary donation for two reasons, firstly as we have been before and paid the donation I feel that I have done my bit this year, and secondly if it's a voluntary donation I don't think that it should be added on automatically and visitors have to opt out. They don't tell you when you pay that it includes a voluntary donation, so in theory if you don't read about it you won't know you're paying it.
Once in the children were keen to go and see the animals and both were shrieking with excitement and non stop chatting about what they could see. If they couldn't see properly they quickly asked one of us to lift them. We took our double buggy, but at this point both children chose to walk and the buggy carried our lunch, drinks and the travel potty!
We saw the penguins first then went to look at the Capybara. Isabella and Oliver spent ages looking at them, and it took a while to persuade them that there was much more to see.
We have always visited before in the summer months, but this usually means that some of the animals are too hot and bothered to move around and so chose to dose in shady spots instead. The beauty of going in the winter meant that the animals were moving around more and we got to see them much easier.
Oliver fell in love with the giraffes. Isabella loved the leopards. We were hoping to see the Tiger again, but when we reached the enclosure read a sign to say that sadly he had died earlier in the year, following a period of illness.
A favourite of mine is the lemurs and they didn't fail to impress the children either. Two of them came running right up to the window to Oliver and Isabella who jumped with excitement.
The nice thing about the day is that it was relaxing. There were no bustling crowds and we could take a gentle walk around the park and allow the children to scamper along with us with no fear of them going missing. It is a long walk so Isabella did take a break in the buggy for a while, but Oliver made it virtually all the way round without needing much buggy time.
I feel that both children got so much out of the day, they were interested in the animals and keen to learn what they were all called. Both children talked non stop and even though Issy is very young, she was trying to say the animal names and was even able to tell me the name of her favourite animal at the end of the day.
Days out like this are so valuable to pre-school children and at £25 for the day was not overly priced for the four of us, however, this price would rise to £60 in the summer months and once Olly and Issy turn 3 years old. Sadly this will price us out of day trips like this until Gary can have a hip replacement.