If there is one constant for the great British holiday, it must be rain. Only in the UK would you get rows upon rows of brochures for local attractions bragging about indoor play areas. So, on such a wondrous day, we headed out to Paignton Zoo near Torquay for a seriously soggy, but fun day out. Buying tickets in advance will always get your lazy backside out the door no matter how much rain there is.
As zoos go, it seemed like the very friendly to animals type – so fantastic, just not always visible to the public (or possible cowering in their cages awaiting an ark rather than design flaw). Weasel enjoyed the animals anyways, but if your kid is into elephants they might be slightly disappointed. The baby giraffe rocked, but it left me very down to read about a fire there killing 3 giraffes a few years back. Weasel enjoyed shouting ‘turtle!!!’ at the tortoises (I feel bad correcting it since she’s so enthusiastic) and ‘owl!!!!’ at the owls.
Parking: Free!!! Holy crap, I think that’s the only time in the week-long holiday I can say that.
Indoor Space (of course…): Apart from the restaurants and the indoor animal places, they did have a pretty good indoor picnic area with soft play. Happily the average age in the play area was about 2, so we didn’t have to worry too much (although inevitably a kid her age managed to crush her in the ball pit with a foam cube, grrr). Disappointingly the food stand inside was closed (given that half the zoo guests were probably in there it seemed an big oversight), but we brought our own and there was a snack/drinks machine. Thankfully the toilets were there too, including 2 baby changing rooms, so no mad dash out in the rain.
Accessibility: Fine, as you’d expect from a big zoo. It was only the hoard of French school children, who seemed to be following us from attraction to attraction over the week, to climb over (why would you be doing each-others’ makeup in the jungle swamp building, really!?).
Verdict: Definitely worth a go. We booked our Woodlands Theme Park and zoo tickets together and it saved us a few quid, so have a look at offers. Plenty of space to keep toddlers entertained even in a deluge.