Chester Zoo

This Saturday was my sister's 21st, and instead of having a party she wanted to go to the zoo (we also went for cocktails in Liverpool later on with her friends, so the alcohol box did get ticked). Our nearest zoo is Chester and I've spent lots of happy days there over my twenty three years. It's an amazing place and as it was built out in the sticks it's been able to keep expanding over time - every time you go there's something new to see. This trip it was the 'Islands' - I can't say I was all that impressed (they haven't finished moving all the animals in yet) but it was great to see the Tigers had a new, larger enclosure - and last year's cubs are all grown up!

(*Photos are from a trip to the zoo last year with my cousins - we didn't bother with the camera this time.)

I'm sure everyone has their own favourites at Chester Zoo, a particular animal or activity that's not to be missed (when I was younger the monorail ride across the zoo was the best bit!) and my own favourites change with each trip. Although the Red Pandas remain a must see, I walk a bit faster through the free flight bat cave the older I get (they come so close!) and recently I've discovered a new found awe of the giraffes. This time my favourite was the sloth (you can find him in the Jaguar house) so I guess people really do change.

Chester Zoo has always been a fun (if pretty expensive) day out, but since watching the BBC drama Our Zoo this last year, I've begun to realise what a great achievement the place is, and how lucky I am to have it on my door-step. The zoo was opened in 1931 by George Mottershead and his family - just an ordinary man with the big idea to build a 'zoo without bars' where the animals would live in enclosures, not cages. Facing much opposition when he first began the venture (understandably the locals didn't want polar bears etc. escaping into their village) his dream was eventually realised and the zoo remains a popular attraction across England, continuing to do good with it's conservation work across the world.

The BBC show was based on the autobiography of June Mottershead, George's youngest daughter, and stars Lee Ingleby, Anne Reid and Sophia Myles. Sadly, I don't think it's going to be renewed for a second series, but it really is worth a watch! The below pictures are of the real George (later in life) and June.

Basically. if you live near to Chester (or not) and have never actually been the zoo, I would highly recommend it. It's a great day out and a great tribute to what an ordinary person can achieve if they put their mind to it.

Why not visit the Chester Zoo website? :


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