See ring-tailed attraction that fascinates kids
Getting there: Church Lane, Sewerby, Bridlington, YO15 1EA. Sewerby Hall is situated two miles north of Bridlington.
Open: The children's zoo is open daily from 10am to 3.30pm.
Prices: Entry to the zoo costs £2.50 for adults and £1.20 for children
Call: 01262 673769
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T he animated film Madagascar would have you believe animals can do incredible things.
They can drive cars, hatch plots, sing impressive musical numbers and escape the clutches of animal control wardens through a combination of high jinks and zinging one-liners.
King Julien, a Madagascan lemur, is one of the stars of the children's comedy. So when the kids heard that Sewerby Hall's zoo was now home to a band of the ring-tailed animals, their incessant nagging finally forced us to head east and investigate.
The zoo did not disappoint. While not enjoying the ability to engage in witty banter like their cartoon counterparts, Sewerby's ring-tailed attractions seemed to fascinate our youngsters.
Our family is no stranger to Sewerby Hall.
We make the pilgrimage to the grade two-listed seaside house two or three times a year to allow our girls (six and four – that is how old they are, not what we call them) the freedom to rampage around its lawns, rose gardens and stately rooms.
But as winter is here and the house is now closed to the public until March 23, 2013, apart from advertised events, this time our focus was on its zoo and its collection of exotic, and not so exotic, animals.
At £2.50 entry for a grown-up and £1.20 per child, it is a day out that will not break the bank. It will tire them enough to ensure they flake out in the car on the way home, providing some much-needed peace and quiet for the adults.
Boasting everything from African pygmy goats to South America llamas, Humboldt Penguins, Shetland Ponies and the biggest rabbit I have ever seen in my life – seriously, it could have swallowed a small dog – there is plenty to see in the zoo.
The lemurs are an obvious highlight. Anything but shy, they leapt to the front of their enclosure to give us the once over and sent the children into shrieks of retreating delight.
The perky primates proved a hit but, as usual, it was the capuchin monkeys who stole the show, emerging occasionally from their densely wooded enclosure to gurn and gaze out at us disdainfully.
A brief wander to see the llamas, the exotic birds of paradise and then through the walk-through aviary preceded a peak at the penguins. The penguins were clearly not in the form for entertaining visitors. My youngest even asked if they had been stuffed. But before we knew it, we had managed to pass a good hour.
Once you have gawped at nature's rich furry variety, what else is there to do at Sewerby? There are obviously tea rooms, which are open all winter and proved a nice stopping off point to escape the North Sea chill during our visit, but children are not particularly impressed by sitting still and eating cake for long.
We did not spend much time relaxing before we were off again exploring the grounds.
Our girls, Poppy and Tilly, enjoyed following the trails throughout the formal lawns by finding carved stone animals statues through a series of cryptic clues and, as it was free, the grown-ups enjoyed it too.
A quick skip around the rose gardens and through the hall's green houses and we found ourselves at the Beeford Bee Products potting shed, to the rear of the main hall, where, for the princely sum of 50p, children can make their own beeswax candle.
Both Poppy and Tilly enjoyed making their Cornetto-shaped candles, which now proudly adorn the dining room sideboard waiting to be lit at the Christmas dinner table. We also picked out some novelty- shaped animal candles festive gifts.
The stall stocks honey, natural cosmetics, soap, polish and waterproofing for boots – all handmade up the road by Roz and Howard Rudkin in the appropriately named Beeford.
One more rampage around the grounds and we were ready for off. There was no venturing down to the seafront or Sewerby Hall foot golf but nevertheless, the girls had enjoyed some fresh air, had a good exercise, came face-to-face with nature and indulged in some crafty candle-making and we had not spent much more then £15.
A decent family day out on your doorstep, just add children and animals.