ZSL Whipsnade in the Sunshine

Obviously, given the distinctly Arctic nature to the weather right now, it was a few months’ back that we visited Whipsnade Zoo. The Zoological Society of London at Whipsnade was created in the late 1920’s to house the London Zoo’s larger animals and is ginormous at 600 acres. To my then huge pregnant self, that sounded like more of a hindrance with a toddler than a positive thing. But I guess the animals enjoy it, blah dee blah, good for them.

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Lions Tigers and Bears, oh my? There are definitely enough animals to keep kiddos entertained, although their natural environments make them slightly more difficult to spot. You get to be super close to the giraffes. Weasel and her friend seemed to enjoy the fake concrete elephants at the cafe far more than any of the living ones. And of course Weasel particularly enjoyed the one that required and extra pound- 

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Tasty Food? There were a few cafes, including a nice on the top of a unnecessarily large hill which did make for a nice picnic spot. Picnic tables were very thin on the ground, so bring a blanket. The ice cream stand near a play area conveniently had tables that only elves and toddlers could squeeze into to. They’re shaped like toadstools? Lovely. My swollen ankles were not appeased by that fact.

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Changing: Facilities did exist, but given the weather, we just changed Weasel outside. In the cold you’re going to need a map to find them since the whole site is so incredibly spread out. You’re never quite sure if you’re walking towards an animal or just wandering aimlessly into the neighbouring countryside.

Verdict: Fantastic for the animals, but bring a blanket for rests and a few coins for the rides/bouncy castle/ice cream as you know that’s sadly what your toddler is going to find interesting. Definitely don’t expect little legs to manage the day – there are large distances between animals and hills that can make toddlers beg for shoulder rides and a poor pregnant mummy’s sciatica scream.

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