Visiting Chester Zoo

At the start of summer we asked the boys to come up with ideas for things to do during the summer holidays. One of the ideas was to go to a zoo and after a little research we settled on Chester Zoo. It is supposed to be the best zoo in the country with thousands of species of animals.

When we settled on Chester Zoo we worked out that we had to book in advance to get the best deal on price. It’s always a bit of a risk doing that in this country because you can never count on the weather being good. We did book in advance and checked the weather report daily as the day rolled round.

We got up on the day and it was pouring, the skies were dull and there was no sign of the sun. Typical. Of course we couldn’t abandon the trip because of the weather and I did hold out hope that the weather would improve during our journey to Chester.

It didn’t and by the time we arrived at Chester Zoo the rain was hammering the car. Luckily we’d prepared for a wet day and we put on our coats and grabbed the umbrella out of the boot of the car.

Rain hits a window, the camera is focussed on the rain and not the background.

After entering we took a moment to study the map, there was so much to see and we wanted to plan the most effective route. We decided to go to the Islands first, we figured it would be less busy first thing in the morning and there was a boat ride we wanted to try out.

A map of Chester Zoo

It wasn’t long before we spotted the first animal of the day, a rhino. It was having its breakfast as we walked past. I couldn’t believe how close we could get to it, it was pretty awesome. The rhino stood in the rain eating, seemingly unbothered by the rain. It stood, almost posing, as the Hubby took photos.

A rhino stands next to his "house", a tree in the background - at Chester Zoo

A rhino, at Chester Zoo, sleeps on a bed of what looks like hay.

A rhino, at Chester Zoo, eats on grass
The second and third photos were taken later in the day but that rhino seemed to like to pose for us.

From there we continued our walk towards the Islands, it took us past a bear. This is the first time, ever, that I’ve seen a bear in a zoo. I’ve been to Orlando where they have the Animal Kingdom and I’ve never seen a bear. It was a lot smaller than I expected but it was still cool to be able to snap a photo. Again the rain didn’t seem to bother it much.

A bear hides in the scene, surrounded by trees and grass.

The walk towards the Islands took us past a few more animals and as we walked towards the boat ride I spied the birds section in the distance.

A zebra, at Chester Zoo, stands beneath a large tree to get shade.

To be honest the boat ride wasn’t very good but I think that was mainly due to the weather. The animal areas it took us past were empty and so apart from the trees and plants there wasn’t much to see. It didn’t dampen our spirits though, we just carried on our search for the animals.

Chester Zoo, heading towards a boat ride.

The orang-utan area was brilliant. We stood in an indoor area, looking through large windows and spied a mum and her baby. She slid down a rope, her child clinging to her and began picking up the pieces of fruit that were scattered on the floor. I watched the baby copy its mother, picking up the fruit and eating. The mum then climbed on one of the ropes and began swinging from one rope to the other. She was clearly having fun, her long arms helping her swing. After a while she climbed to an upper level and grabbed herself a passionfruit (or at least that’s what it looked like). It was then that I spied another smaller orang-utan, this one was slightly bigger than the baby but not quite adult. It slid down the ropes and scooped up fruit from the floor, it followed its mother to the upper level, leaving the baby on the ground. I could’ve stayed there for hours watching them play but the boys started getting bored so we moved on.

A mother and baby orangutan standing in their enclosure.

A mother orang-utan puts it's arm around the baby, standing in their enclosure at Chester Zoo

A mother and baby orang-utan in their enclosure at Chester Zoo
The little one clung to her as she climbed down the ropes.

An orang-utan plays on a rope in its enclosure in Chester Zoo

Inside the same building where we looked through the windows to see the orang-utan there were a few glass boxes containing stick insects, spiders, and a frog. We couldn’t see the frog but the boys enjoyed looking at the huge stick insect.

As we walked along the paths the sun did come out and we were able to put the brolly down. It was hot with the sun out but not quite enough to dry the rain. The next animal I was stunned by was the tiger. I adore these animals, I think they’re so elegant at the same time as being strong and powerful. The tiger sat beneath a rock (or fake rock) in the shade. It looked around but didn’t move much at all. Again I could’ve stood there for ages staring at the tiger but we moved on.

Before lunch we also saw smaller monkeys, some in separate areas. Some of the monkeys were really small, they could probably fit in your hand.

It was impossible to get a clear photo as this little monkey wouldn't be still! 

For lunch we’d packed some sandwiches, we had planned on having a picnic. Chester Zoo has lots of grassed areas for picnicking but the rain had made those areas unusable. Some of them were a little flooded. Luckily Chester Zoo caters for this eventuality and next to one of the restaurants was an indoor picnic area. It was sheltered and had tables and chairs. We sat to eat our sandwiches and had a brief break before venturing back into the zoo to see more animals.

Like I said, we’ve been to the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World and they have beautiful giraffes there but you can’t get very close to them. The Safari takes you fairly close but they don’t usually come close to the vehicle. At Chester Zoo we were able to walk right by their indoor area, we were close enough to touch them. We were so close that we couldn’t get the whole animal on the photo! Giraffes are beautiful animals, I watched their movement as they walked around inside and saw the muscles moving beneath their skin. I was truly fascinated by it.

An area LP loved was the aquarium, there were lots of fish to see.

This coral was strange, it danced in the water and you could see the little "hairs" moving constantly.

Clown fish near the coral

 The boys were entertained by this little catfish which kept "sucking" on the glass.

The reptile area had BP running around like an excitable 4 year old. He was taking photos and quickly running to the next window to see what he could see. He also enjoyed reading about the reptiles.

There were so many animals at Chester Zoo that it would take me forever to go through them all. Needless to say there’s plenty to see.

This bird was trying to hide, can you see it hidden in the shadows? 

 The black thing with it's back to the camera is a bird, it is sitting on its nest. There was a sign nearby saying that this bird only lays 1 egg and it takes a really long time to hatch. They requested the bird be left alone as they were hoping to hatch the egg. 

Despite the weather we had a blast at Chester Zoo, the rain didn’t stop us having fun at all. We got to have our picnic lunch, see lots of awesome animals, and all without other people bothering us (for the most part). We hate going to these places when they’re busy and it being a rainy day probably helped to keep numbers down that day. That meant LP could get to the windows easily and saw all the animals without much trouble.

The boys enjoyed playing on this bike.

 Flamingos, and they really were that pink!

The lion began pacing as we watched.

Can you see the otter?

This seahorse is a male. How can I tell? Because he's pregnant!

Chester Zoo is an all-day trip, getting there early means you can get around some of the busier areas before the rush but there’s enough to see that you’ll still be wanting to look around by closing time. 

I would highly recommend a visit.

We paid to go to Chester Zoo ourselves, I was not compensated for this review.