A trip to the Zoo during Half Term isn't a bad idea....
Combined with an early morning ferry, a few dinosaurs and a sandy beach, its a blooming brilliant idea.
After an early start from the mainland, we arrive at the Isle of Wight Zoo even before the doors have opened. The Zoo is conveniently located right next to a sandy beach at Yaverland. We quickly admire the long stretch of sand, grab a drink and then head off for our day full of animals.
The Isle of Wight Zoo is a relaxed and simple affair. The staff are exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. There are plenty of interesting animals to keep the little ones entertained (and the parents too, I love a lemur).
Right from the start, there is a feeling of caring in the air. The Zoo is now a charity. It is obvious their number one priority is the welfare of the animals.
Myself and Rosie tagged along to a few talks given by the staff. We learnt about some of the big cats stories. Although sometimes the cats have quite sad stories, my daughter loved hearing about the happy endings and knowing they were now being looked after well at the Zoo. She's still talking about the sad jaguar who had poorly paws and had to have noo-noo cream rubbed on them by the staff (that's Sudocrem to me and you!). Along with the many animals, the Madagascan adventures and talks, there is an education centre to visit (plenty of colouring in and interesting facts). There is a also trail of stamps to collect (probably Rosie's favourite, besides the sleeping white tiger she fancies giving a cuddle?!). You will also find a small park area, plenty of picnic benches and a small cafe serving light refreshments. On the day we visited there was some pottery painting taking place courtesy of Arty Shakes (they didn't have any shakes with them so I am going to have to visit the shop next trip over).
The Isle of Wight Zoo is maybe not a full day out, but it certainly kept us busy for a fair chunk of the day. With a few hours to spare, we headed off to Dinosaur Isle - which is literally 5 minutes away. Dinosaur Isle is a museum dedicated to all things dinosaur. After a pretty quick walk around the museum (Rosie was a bit freaked out by the dinosaur noises, fuelled by the fact we were the only ones in there!), we went upstairs to the education room. Be careful not to miss it when you visit, its not that well advertised. It would be a shame if you did as it was the best bit (according to Rosie). Colouring in, painting, dressing up outfits, toys and more learning to be done. It was only whilst we were up there we learnt they do walks on the beach looking for fossils and dinosaurs on certain days. I think we maybe back to try one of those in the future... maybe we will bring Daddy to escort us around the museum and keep us safe from those Tyrannosaurus Rex's and their friends.
- Don't go expecting a massive zoo that will take you all day to go around. Expect a chilled out day with plenty to see and do. You won't be left feeling like you have walked over 25 miles and spent a days wages in just 20 minutes!
- Bring a picnic to save a few pennies. There are plenty of places to sit and eat (providing its not raining)
- There is a "can I have one of those, one of these, ahh cuddly tiger" shops as you exit... walk fast.
- The Dinosaur Isle gives you 10% off the entrance fee if you have visited the Zoo that day (not that well advertised, so ask).
- Stick some beach clothes in the car. When you have finished at the zoo and dinosaur museum, run around on the beach and build a sandcastle before you head home.
Verdict on Our Day Out - Chilled out day with plenty of learning. 7/10.
If you have a toddler in tow, check out our guest Blog from Mum On an Island