Rain couldn't dampen the animal magic
Getting there: Chester Zoo is a little over two hours' drive from Hull and there is free parking on-site. Alternatively, the zoo is pretty easy to reach by train, as it is only a couple of miles from Chester station.
Open: Every day from 10am. Closing times vary. Last entry is one hour before closing.
Prices: £14.50 to £18 for adults and £11 to £14 for children, depending on the season.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Y ou're never too old to go to the zoo. Not in my opinion, anyway. So when my partner and I found ourselves in Chester visiting some friends, we decided there was no better place for a catch-up than meandering around the city's famous zoo.
Having set off for our journey in bright sunshine, we found ourselves a little caught out in inappropriate footwear and jackets when we arrived at the attraction on what turned out to be a wet and dreary day.
We didn't need to worry, though, as Chester Zoo has a wet weather trail for guests to follow in order to stay as dry as possible without missing out on all the animals.
With more than 11,000 animals from 400 species to discover, there certainly is a lot to see at Chester Zoo.
If you've never been before, it's easy to accidently miss some animals out, so it's definitely worth keeping the free map handy at all times.
Our first port of call on arriving at the zoo was to check out the monkeys and apes. With orang-utans and chimpanzees to see, we first headed towards The Realm of the Red Ape.
While the young orang-utans spent their time spinning on ropes and entertaining the visitors, the older members of the group were content with sitting at the bottom of their pen keeping a close eye on their infants.
As we left the orang-utans, we were welcomed to the chimpanzee enclosure by reverberations of screams. Two of the younger, much cheekier, chimpanzees chased each other around their pen throwing pieces of mud at one another, while their elder "smiled" at visitors.
As apes are my partner's favourite animal, we could have spent all day watching the primates and their human-like behaviour, but we moved on, vowing to return later if we had time.
We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the new baby rhino on our visit. The youngster was standing at the back of her pen, sheltered from the rain, while her mother paced up and down offering her protection from the crowds of cooing visitors.
After a couple of hours of spying on the animals, we decided it was time to refuel and warm up at Bembe Kitchen. Not hungry enough for a full meal, but slightly peckish, we all enjoyed a panini and a cup of tea, which filled us up and warmed us through.
The eatery also proved a great place to chill out for half an hour while we planned where we were going to go next.
As well as the usual sandwiches and salads, Bembe Kitchen also offers a range of delicious-sounding meals. On our visit, some of the options available were: soup of the day with artisan bread (£3.90), ricotta cheese, butternut squash and red onion tart (£6.25) and deep-fried salmon, sweet potato and spinach burrito (£6.50). All of the main meals are also offered in children's portions, with chips or beans (£4.25).
After our break, we headed over to see the zoo's latest arrival, Napo, the two-year- old jaguar.
The jaguar enclosure was every bit as impressive as the creature itself. With lots of people gathering around the windows, itching to catch a glimpse of the beautiful big cat, we sat behind everyone and waited patiently.
As we watched intently, the jaguar silently and elegantly prowled past the window, displaying his beautifully patterned coat and baring his impressive fangs as he yawned. It was mesmerising.
Later in the day, we hopped aboard the Zoofari Monorail for £2 each, which gave us a chance to rest our worn-out legs and get a different view of all the animals. The on-board commentary tells you more about the animals and gives you an insight into the great conservation work the zoo does.
As well as all the animals to see, Chester Zoo has extra activities to keep guests entertained. So, when the rain subsided for a bit, we decided to give mini-golf a go. For £2.50 per person or £8 for a group of four, the conservation-themed nine-hole course is great fun.
If you're bringing little ones along with you, there are play areas dotted around the zoo that are sure to help them burn off excess energy while you have a break.
We had just enough time left to take a quick trip back to see the chimpanzees play-fighting with each other before the zoo closed and we had to head back home.
Despite the miserable weather, we had a great time at Chester Zoo, and I'm sure it won't be long before we return.