Me and the kids went out for one last gasp summer holidays trip out yesterday, we went to Regent’s Park, first to go on the Mascot trail there and then to go onto the zoo. The Mascots will be going soon (they’re currently in the process of being auctioned off, oh if only I had £6k spare and a bit of a bigger garden!) but they’re around I think to the end of the Paralympic Games. So if you’re thinking of doing a Mascot trail do it now, the trails are on the Olympic app but to be honest they’re just a bunch of clues (no maps) and the clues are pretty useless as you would think for example that the Sherlock Wenlock would be in Baker Street, nope, just as the Rose Garden Mascot, Midsummer’s Night Dream Mascot and Safari Mascot aren’t immediately close to the Rose Garden, theatre and zoo respectively. But having said that they were fairly easy to find, although we were slightly thwarted by one of the bridges across the boating lake being out for repair, so although we could see the first two mascots of the trail across the water in the distance, we couldn’t get to them, it took ages to walk round the water to find another bridge, but at least on the way we found the other mascots, we sort of ended up doing it back to front.
And then it was off to the zoo. Now we haven’t been to London Zoo for so long I’m not even sure Boy Lacer was born (I think he may have been but not 100% sure), we did used to go quite a bit but when the kids got past the age of 3 and we started to have to pay for them to get in, suddenly a not exactly cheap day out turned into something eye wateringly expensive. So consequently we didn’t go (we did go to Chester Zoo a few times in the intervening years, the kids weren’t totally zoo deprived) but I was aware that they were building all these new amazing enclosures at London Zoo and we just weren’t seeing them, so I thought I’d change that yesterday.
And yes it was eye wateringly expensive but (I used to volunteer at London Zoo a long time ago), I do know that there is a reason behind the ticket price, the zoo gets no government subsidy and they do a lot of amazing preservation work and well they’ve got to pay for it some how. Plus those new enclosures aren’t going to build themselves (although I suspect at least with Penguin Beach they’ve been sponsored by a certain other well known Penguin, as the logo outside looked a bit familiar).
And it was lovely to see the new enclosures, now obviously it’d be fantastic if zoos weren’t necessary, if every animal was safe in its natural environment and there was some sort of teleport machine that could beam people in to see the animals in the wild in a completely unobtrusive manner, but obviously it’s the real world and we need zoos, good zoos (I hate zoos where the animals look so bored and unhappy in their sparse cages, pacing up and down). And I think London Zoo have done wonderfully in the last ten years or so, updating and renewing their site, when they’ve been so constrained by the size of their site (the whole zoo is relatively small).
The gorilla walk through was lovely.
And the aforementioned Penguin Beach really, really makes me to reincarnate as a London Zoo penguin, it looked that blissful.
(The kids loved Penguin Beach, particularly the underwater glass bubble you could go into to see the penguins swimming around).
They’d also updated the rainforest building, with a large open display area inside, which was literally as if they’d transplanted a bit of rainforest, with glimpses of large birds strutting through the undergrowth and monkeys nestled in the trees or occasionally climbing over your head (as the branches from the enclosure extended over your head). I really liked that bit (I’d always thought the rainforest building was a bit boring before), I like how it’s a bit of a challenge to spot the animals sometimes because after all if you were to go the actual rainforest the animals wouldn’t be strutting around on display for you and it’s always so much more rewarding when you do spot something.
Plus is was lovely to see some old favourites ….