We decided to venture out the other day and headed off to Whipsnade Zoo. Now, this was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, oh no, we had looked at numerous places to go during these long summer school holidays and had been totally shocked at the cost of almost everywhere in the UK in 'peak season'. To be honest, it was tough to find anywhere that wouldn't end up costing around £100 for a single day out.
Having a Tween, toddler and baby, we needed something to entertain them all and decided a zoo, (or wildlife park to give it it's correct title), would probably be the best bet. We did think of a couple of other places like Poulton's Park with its Peppa Pig world but that did not appeal to Tween and a major theme park would have been a waste of time for Toddler and baby so I think we made the best decision.
We decided early on to take a picnic as we know what these 'captive audience' food places can be like and also to take the car into the premises so we could drive around as well as walk. Having been there a few times before, it's one thing I would always do, especially with little ones.
We paid the £69 (yep, 2 adults, 1 child, 1 car and 1 guide book - little 'uns were free!) and were on our way. We parked up near the entrance and then walked around that section looking at all the animals. Toddler's favourite - the giraffes. We then piled into the car and drove up to the top end of the park and got our picnic out overlooking the Downs sitting in the shade of a tree. Very sociable. My clever hubby had packed me some Coke and him some beers - his were purely to keep the cool bag cool you'll understand ;-)
Whilst I was armed with my Potette Plus, we did have a minor disaster when I had noticed toddler doing her 'wee-wee dance' but actually took her at her word that she did not want one, until she wet herself! Seems she did not want to leave the picnic in case she missed something. For once, I had not brought a change of clothes with me :( We headed to the restrooms and I did a bit of rapid rinsing under the tap whilst some shouting and crying took place (her, not me!) and then back to our next location with shorts drying out on top of the pram :)
We drove around the 'Africa' bit which really should be renamed 'Deer Only' (as nice as it was) and then headed down to the last third of the park where we saw the elephant show and Tweens favourite, the tigers, before heading into the gift shop to gasp at the prices, refuse to buy anything and leave. We did get an ice cream first though at the little stand which turned out to be cheaper than my local shopping centre!
We were there for a good 5 1/2 hours so it worked out to be a great day out. Suffice to say there were 3 tired children in the back of the car on the way home which is definitely a bonus :)
I am still horrified at the cost of a day out in the UK though. No wonder so many people have a trampoline in their back garden!