Written on: 24/06/2014 by Angels Sin (82 reviews written)
Ok so this is a city zoo, they don't have the space that the safari parks have, and that calls into question whether they should be allowed to keep some of the bigger animals, and that's up to you to make your mind up about, but it’s not what this review is about.
When I arrived at the zoo, it was a beautiful day and I expected big crowds, but actually it was fairly quiet and we didn't have to wait long to get in.
The park is clean and fairly well maintained although some of the exhibits could do with upgrading. You do get the feeling though that the zoo really does care about it's animals and that's nice to see.
Some of the exhibits have more recently been upgraded and I love the new style they are using of wood and glass. The Komodo Dragon has one of these newer enclosures and has lots of space to explore. There were also lots of really useful and interesting boards displaying information about them. Did you know female komodo dragons don't need a male's contribution to produce young?!
The enclosure I was most looking forward to seeing was the tigers. It's so much better that the old one, really beautiful and it's clear a lot of work has gone into making it a better home for them. In an ideal world, of course they need more space than even the new enclosure can provide, but I'm just happy to see they've provided the best they can. The tigers can't be too unhappy either seeing as one of the females had just had cubs!
Most of the enclosures are the old style (lots of metal bars) but more and more are being transformed into these lovely wood and glass, more natural looking spaces that make me feel much happier about being a customer at the zoo.
We stopped for lunch at the Terrace Restaurant expecting to struggle to find a free table and to pay over the odds for rubbish food. I was genuinely shocked! The restaurant is huge and had plenty of seating. It's set up a little like a canteen with different food stations depending on the type of food you want (pasta, pizza, salads etc). There are also coffee bars and stands displaying delicious looking cakes and treats. I picked cottage pie and it was absolutely delicious! I was really surprised at just how good the quality was, and the portion size was very generous too. It's not cheap, but no more than you would pay in any good London gastro pub.
The gift shop also sold some lovely items, your normal cheaper souvenirs as well as more expensive homeware pieces and decorations.
Overall we had a lovely day. It’s not a cheap day out but I don’t mind paying a bit extra towards a cause that does actually do a lot of good work for animals (irrelevant of the zoo side of things).