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Family day out at Chester Zoo

When we were invited to spend the day at Chester Zoo recently I was really excited.  I love the zoo but we hadn’t got around to taking Harry yet so I was really looking forward to  seeing his face when he saw all the animals.

Chester Zoo currently have lots going on for children over the Summer holidays and, even though Harry is still a bit young for most of the activities, we couldn’t wait to see what their new ‘Play!’ events were all about.

We arrived at the zoo at 10am and were greeted by a lovely gentleman who gave Harry a lovely goodie bag and told us the best route to head on to avoid the worst queues.

We headed to ‘Islands’ first as we were told it gets busy quickly.  The thing we enjoyed the most about this area was the boat ride.  I’ll be honest, we were really nervous at the idea of taking Harry on a boat as he’s not a fan of sitting still and he loves water play so I was convinced he would try and dive over the edge!  I couldn’t have been more wrong though and there was so much to see that he sat quite happily pointing out everything that he knew and asking us to name everything that he didn’t.

Harry really enjoyed the surroundings in the Islands and particularly enjoyed the little scenes dotted about.  We struggled to get him out of one tent and he decided to make friends with another little boy who wanted his photo taken there and sit next to him, smiling for the camera!

As we continued around the zoo Harry loved looking at all the different animals and Alistair enjoyed naming them for him and giving us lots of random facts! (Who knew he knew so much about animals!?)

One of the thing that really impressed us about Chester Zoo was how much there was for children to do.  There were activities going on all over the zoo and the play areas were amazing, Harry especially enjoyed the sand and water play.  We had a few tantrums trying to get him away from it though!

In addition to the fantastic play areas there were challenges dotted all around the zoo to keep children entertained throughout the day.  Challenges like ‘How long can you stand on one leg like a flamingo for?’ made the day more interactive and were really fun to spot throughout the day.


For lunch we had a picnic at one of the many picnic tables dotted around the zoo.  There were plenty of places to buy food if you don’t want to take it yourself but we made a picnic to keep it cheap and to ensure we had food bribes available for Harry whenever we needed them!

We did treat ourselves to some ice creams which were huge!!

Top tips for a trip to the zoo!

Get there early

To avoid the crowds we found it best to get there early.  It also meant that we had longer with Harry before he got tired and whingy!

Wear comfy shoes

A day at the zoo involves lots of walking and, especially at 34 weeks pregnant, comfy shoes are a must! I started out in flip flops but changed to something a little comfier halfway through the day.

Take a picnic

To make things cheaper it’s good to take a picnic with you.  It also ensures you have food that your children will enjoy, especially if they’re fussy eaters!

Plan your day

Get one of the park maps (you can see this on their website before you go) and plan your day out before you go.  There were a few times where our heads really could’ve saved our legs if we’d just made a plan for what route we were going to take.

Take spare clothes

Harry really enjoyed the sand and water play and we were lucky that we remembered to take his wellies so he didn’t get too wet.  There were some children there though who just rolled up their trousers, took shoes and socks off and went in.  Spare clothes are definitely a good idea just in case they get over excited here!

Have you been to Chester Zoo?  What was your favourite part of the day?  Where are your favourite places to go as a family during the school holidays?  I’d love more ideas for places we can enjoy as a family!

For another great family day out idea in Cheshire why not try Cheshire Ice Cream Farm?  You can hear more about our experience here:

A perfect family day out: Cheshire Ice Cream Farm

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