Tuesday, 17 June 2008

London Zoo

People ask how I manage with three small kids and I say it is usually ok...as long as I keep my expectations low for what I can get done. And I mean very low! I would add to that, as long as I don't have to get anywhere important by a specific time! This morning we had to be at LissaLou's nursery by 9.30am with all our packed lunches etc ready for our day out at the zoo, and it was nothing short of a miracle that we were there on time. With more or less everything we needed. If you don't count CassCass telling me at the bottom of the outside stairs (where there is no going back!) that she didn't have any knickers on...!

With LissaLou waiting for her nursery coach, we dashed along to the bus stop and waited...and waited...and waited... As typical of London buses, we saw many go by without space for us to squeeze in and I began to lose hope that we would be there on time, so I did a very exceptional thing and waved down a taxi! Normally we wouldn't consider such a frivolity, but it was great fun and CassCass was delighted to sit next to me with her seatbelt and survey the world from this new perspective! The great thing with black cabs is that they fit even the largest buggies in with no need to fold. Bliss!

CassCass enjoying taxi life
When we had all finally arrived at the zoo, we wandered around and enjoyed the animals. The giraffes and gorillas were particular favourites - there was a mother with her new baby, very cute! We marvelled at the messiness of the camels (the sign next to them said "Bad hair day"! apparently they shed their hair in spring). It was fun to see some animals mentioned in one of our current favourite books, Happy I'm A Hippo - meerkats and warthogs. The girls were pleased to see the lions, though they were pretty inactive (and the daddy lion was called Lucifer as his lion number is 666 - hmm). I stayed clear of the snakes etc - shudder - but we all loved the butterfly house and marvelled at moths that are born with no mouth as they just live a few days and live entirely from the food supplies they were born with. The monkeys were great too, especially the ones that use their tail as a fifth arm - so agile! The otters can be seen both above and below water and there was so many of them rolling around on one another.
Above - gorilla, girls, warthog, okapi
zebra, giraffes, meerkat
otters, penguins, butterflies, pelicans
heron, flamingoes, camel
and finally, we didn't see any crocodiles, so we had to make do with the one on Baby JoJo's top!

But the highlight of the day was...THE BOUNCY CASTLE!!! Sigh! Which, I hasten to add, cost £1 per 5 minutes! I will get on my high horse about these places which add in such features at a high cost and in very obvious places, making it very hard for poor parents to resist all the nagging that ensues...If you must put them in (and I don't see why, as the point of going is to see the animals), either include them in the price or hide them away somewhere, please!

In the end (and due to an empty purse) we gave LissaLou the choice of an ice cream or a go on the bouncy castle. She went for the later (waiting 10 minutes for the pleasure!) and on getting off immediately requested the ice cream because she was hot! Needless to say, she was offered water! CassCass was a bit subdued all day and just went with the ice lolly, spending most the day in the buggy. She made it out to play in the playpark though!
Our overall conclusion was that it was a pleasant day out - free for LissaLou and reduced for us as we were with the school - but it was just too overwhelming for the girls. LissaLou complained that there was too much to see. It would also have been nice for them to have had more hands on activities with the animals. I wouldn't recommend taking little children for the full price of some £50 for a family!


Grandma said...

I thought the lack of tigers elephants and wolves was disappointing. I didn't realise they'd gone to Whipsnade for their own good. The lions needed magnifying glass in the glass barriers to bring them a bit closer.
but hey! The sun shone all day long and I was with you and my grandchildren so it was a good day. The otters and butterflies were realy good.

the dĂșnadan said...

I hope the taxi driver gave good service! You know what to do if he didn't!

Lions are fairly inactive creatures. In the wild, it is lionnesses who go out and make the kill. The lions come along aferwards, look hard and eat the meal their wives have obtained for them! We humans could learn from this I think!

*Malc does a runner!*

Hevs said...

Hmm, strikes me that we humans have already learnt from them...
speaking of the taxi, well he didnt help me in (a passerby did as the buggy nearly fell on me!) but he did help me out. The puzzle was, the fare on the meter said one thing, and he gave me a lower figure, and when i gave him a bit more (but less than the meter said)he looked really pleased. Is the meter not to be trusted??

Malc said...

That sounds interesting. I thought the meter would be accurate. I shall ask when I go back to the office next week!