Aberdare Bike Races – BattleKid’s First Motorbike Race Meet

On Saturday 30th July this year we went to Aberdare Bike Races. Now BattleDad and I have been quite a number of years ago on a Sunday afternoon and it was really good. We quite enjoyed it and, as it was our first race meet before we went to the TT for the first time, it gave us a good idea of what to expect when going to the Isle of Man. We decided to take BattleKid this year because he is two and a half years of age, motorbike mad and we thought this year would be a good time to take him to see whether or not he would enjoy it.aberdare bike races

We decided to go early in the morning in case BattleKid didn’t enjoy it, as there are still times that he gets a little uneasy when BattleDad starts up his own bike. If he did enjoy it we could stay until lunchtime and still be back in time for BattleKid’s nap at the afternoon, if he didn’t then we could leave early enough. We arrived about 9:30 in the morning and made our way through the gates into the park.

We had booked our tickets online which was really handy. When you first go into the park, if there are bikes going around the track, you need to wait by the gates until the bikes have completed their laps. Only then do the Marshalls let you through into the middle of Aberdare Park where spectators are allowed and where the merchandise stands and food stalls are located.

We waited with everybody else by the gates until the bikes had completed their practice laps and this gave us a chance to see how BattleKid would take to the noise. Lolo was over visiting us from Ireland so he took him up into his arms and made a game of the bikes going around. By doing this, not only did BattleKid get really excited but it calmed any nerves he had. He did get a little fright when one of the bikes backfired but he soon got over it.

Once the bikes had finished their laps, the Marshalls opened the gates and let us through, and the first thing we hit was the playground. BattleKid had an absolute ball going up and down the slides, having fun on the swings as well, all while the bikes were doing their practice laps. The morning session is practice session and race laps are in the afternoon.aberdare park races

After a couple more goes on the swings we decided to make our way to the merchandise stands because BattleDad wanted to see a friend of his who would be on the Institute of Advanced Motorists stand. Unfortunately his friend wasn’t there yet but this gave us a chance to check out some of the clothes stands. I picked up a lovely Honda jacket for him for next year.

We also had time for BattleKid to have his first ever carousel ride on his own. He had a very serious face on him going around. After that we took another walk around the stands, stopping by the quad bikes track for the two boys to have a ride together. I think it was more for BattleDad than BattleKid, if we’re being honest!

BattleKid had a very serious face on him again as he and BattleDad were going around the track. It was quite funny looking at his little serious face with the very big helmet they had put on his head but they both seem to enjoy it.

After that we had another little wander around before walking around the lake and stopping by the side of the barriers to watch some more of the bikes doing their practice rounds. BattleKid had been getting a bit tired before this. However once we got to the side of the barriers he got a second wind and started really enjoying watching the bikes going round and round doing their laps. We watched a few more rounds of practice before we decided to head for home.aberdare park races

aberdare park races

aberdare park races

 

Although we didn’t spend too long at Aberdare Bike Races this year, it was a good introduction for BattleKid and he seemed to really enjoy it as did Mum, Dad and Lolo. We will definitely be taking him back next year when we will probably spend most of the day there as he won’t need his nap. Going to Aberdare Bike Races this year gives us a good idea that BattleKid will enjoy motor racing in the flesh. He enjoys watching the TT and MotoGP on the TV but seeing bikes up close and personal is a different story. This year’s visit to Aberdare Races also gets us excited for when we finally get ferry tickets for the Isle of Man TT, which we haven’t managed to do this year! One year soon we’ll get ferry tickets! They are the hardest part of trying to attend the TT.

Aberdare Bike Races are held on an 0.9 mile demanding circuit which winds it’s way through the trees in the local town park. First raced in 1950, it has seen not only local racers participate but also TT stars such as Ian Lougher and John McGuinness. This year it cost £12 per adult for a single day pass, or £23 for a full weekend adult pass. Under 13’s went free when accompanied by a full paying adult and children between 13 and 16 years of age cost £5 for a day pass.

There are numerous food stalls, plenty of merchandise stands and some fairground-type attractions for kids. There is no car parking at the park, although there is some limited space for bikes at the entrance. There are car parks in the town, less than half a mile away and you might be lucky to find some street parking around the park.aberdare park races

So if you are a biking family and plan to visit South Wales in July, I’d recommend you visit when Aberdare Bike Races are on. We’ll definitely be attending again next year. I also recorded a little vlog of our visit to the races this year which you can view below.

Thanks for reading.

Cath x

 

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo – Our Visit and Review

While on a recent long weekend away at Bluestone in West Wales, we visited Folly Farm for the first time. Now I’ll admit when I first heard the name Folly Farm, I automatically assumed it was a small petting farm similar to Cefn Mably or the Small Breeds Farm, and when it first opened back in 1988 I wouldn’t have been far off.

However that assumption is now way off the mark as Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, to give it its full name, is a hell of a lot more than the name Folly Farm suggests. Winner of the “Best Day Out” in the National Tourism Awards Wales in 2015, and a 2015 Traveller’s Choice on TripAdvisor, Folly Farm is an amazing place situated in Begelly in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, not too far from Tenby or Bluestone.Folly Farm

It is not only a farm but also has a full indoor vintage funfair, an award-winning zoo with over 200 species of animals and extensive indoor and outdoor adventure attractions and play areas.

On our visit to Folly Farm we arrived shortly after its opening of 10am, parked our car and made our way to the entrance where our friends sorted out our tickets, courtesy of Tesco Clubcard vouchers. We passed the huge gift shop, which both of us mums commented we’d visit on the way out, and out we went into Folly Farm itself.

First stop was the Jolly Barn & Farm, an indoor barn that houses farm animals including pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens and the most magnificent Shire horse. He was amazing and very majestic looking. BattleKid had a great time running around shouting “oh piggy, oh chicken” while doing the noises they make. I even got brave and touched a rat during the “meet a rat” time although BattleKid was having none of it at first until the handler said he was going away and then he just had to touch it!Folly Farm

Folly Farm

Folly Farm

Folly Farm

folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

I then showed BattleKid how to milk a cow which he thought was hilarious as he squirmed milk (water) over himself and me.

From the Jolly Farm we decided to visit the vintage Funfair as it was getting close to lunchtime. We got change and tokens and then proceeded to get frustrated trying to win Batman teddies on the grabber machines from the boys. £5 later we were still empty-handed despite getting them in the grabbers a number of times. The arms just let go too easily. This was our only disappointment of the day. BattleDad was sure we’d get one after spending £5 but no! After this we wandered around the amusement rides and us mums took the boys on the Ghost Trains. I’ve never been one for these types of rides but I’m fast coming to the realisation that I have to start doing them for BattleKid’s sake. I was also a bit apprehensive about how BattleKid would react to it but I just made a fuss of the flashing lights and the ‘dragons’ and he was fine, shouting “peep peep” ala Thomas the Tank Engine. After the ghost train I took BattleKid on the carousel which he really enjoyed. We didn’t get to see all of the Funfair as it is huge and our bellies were rumbling.folly farm

We decided to have lunch in the Funfair Restaurant and my jacket potato was tasty, while BattleDad thoroughly enjoyed his fish and chips. BattleKid ate his garlic bread and only picked at his pasta Bolognese, too distracted by the lights and sounds around him. He is also not a huge fan of pasta shapes, preferring spaghetti instead.

Before we left the Funfair the adults tried their hands at the Side Stalls, knocking tins off shelves and Duck Bingo. BattleDad actually knocked all his tins off during one of his goes and won a large blue dragon for BattleKid. He tried his best to repeat it to win our friend’s son one but ran out of tokens.

With lighter pockets and satisfied bellies we made our way to the zoo and first up was some monkeys and the lions. BattleKid loves lions from his “How to Hide a Lion” bedtime stories and didn’t want to leave their enclosure. We then saw the Tapiers, Giant Tortoise, Meerkats (Kalahari Critters) and the camels before making our way to the Rhino enclosure.folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

To our surprise there were not one but two Rhino enclosures and they were huge. After the rhinos we went to show BattleKid the pen-pens (penguins) and flamingos. He loves pen-pens as some of you know from our Oliver Jeffers book “Lost and Found” and I literally had to drag him away.folly farm

folly farm

After the penguins we quickly made our way to see the giraffes. I’ve always found them to be majestic looking animals, so graceful.

folly farm

From the zoo we went to the outdoor adventure area where BattleKid made a beeline for the pedal tractors, picking the largest one he could find. He is still learning what pedals are all about and usually goes backwards more than he does forwards, as you do when you’re two. folly farmFrom there we went to the sand diggers while we waited for the Big Dig attendant to return and BattleKid loved them. He actually managed to operate the two levers on his own!folly farm

Once the attendant was back the Dads handed over their tokens and spent the next few minutes living out their dreams of operating diggers. Boys never grow up. However BattleDad didn’t get much hands-on experience as BattleKid kept swiping his hands away shouting “no dada, Ada do it”. Al I could do was chuckle as I filmed it.folly farm

After the diggers and another quick visit to the sand diggers we started thinking about heading for home. We passed by the go-karts ad BattleKid had an absolute canary fit when we explained the cars were too big for him. He was both hugely disappointed and overtired, having not napped all day. We said he could do them next time but it’s unlikely as well be back before he’s old enough.

We stopped at the gift shop and got some pick’n’mix and I got one or two other little things too. BattleKid only then fell asleep in his buggy, pooped after a big day out. It was 4.30pm so hardly surprising he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer.

I couldn’t believe that it was 4.30 before we headed for the cars. I certainly hadn’t anticipated spending the while day at Folly Farm but it’s so easily done!

As I’ve mentioned Folly Farm outdid my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised by everything Folly Farm has to offer. It is no wonder it is an award-winning day out. There is plenty to do and see for all age groups and lots of places to eat too which we thought were reasonably priced. There are extra charges for certain things like the Funfair and diggers but they are reasonable.folly farm

Folly Farm is family friendly as you’d expect and also wheel chair accessible. There is free parking there, baby changing and feeding facilities and a large gift shop too. Prices, as shown below, are great value-for-money in my opinion and, as our friends did, you can use your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers towards Folly Farm tickets.

We will definitely be visiting Folly Farm in the not so distant future. So if you are based in South Wales or are visiting Pembrokeshire on holidays, such as Bluestone, then I can highly recommend a day out at Folly Farm, especially if you have children!

Cath x

General Information about Folly Farm:

  • General Opening Hours are 10-5.
  •  

    Winter Opening hours are 10-4.

  •  

    Adult £13.95, Concession £11.95 (concessions are for child age 3-15, Senior citizens or disabled patrons).

  •  

    Children aged 2 and under go free.

  •  

    Discounts are available online.

folly farm
BattleKid loved the tractors in the Jolly Barn and did not want to leave them!

Wriggle Exhibition – The Wonderful World of Worms

Last Saturday BattleKid and I were invited down to Cardiff Museum to the official opening of the new exhibition Wriggle! the Wonderful world of worms. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was apprehensive whether the Wriggle Exhibition would be above BattleKid’s age range.

We arrived at 9am and when the doors opened for the invitees, we made our way in and I found a place to stow BattleKid’s buggy and stashed his change bag in the lockers (they cost £1) before we had some of the breakfast refreshments that had been laid on. Once BattleKid had finished his snack, we took a look around the displays that were on the ground floor foyer for the event. Wriggle Exhibition

There was everything from microscopes to fossils and even stands explaining the importance of worms in food production. We had a look around and BattleKid honed in on the microscopes, fascinated with them, although I’m not 100% sure he actually saw anything under them. I explained to him that mama uses them in work, which he thought meant one of them was mine to take away. Eh no.

He kept going back to them time and time again to look through the eyepiece. You never know, we could have another scientist in the making! There was also a fossil-making stand where children could press fossil specimens into clay to take home with them which I thought was a great idea.Wriggle Exhibition

After about 20 minutes we were all called to the bottom of the stairs for the opening talk from Dr Andrew Mackie. All the children were invited to the top and I tagged along to get a front row seat, keeping BattleKid company. Dr Mackie thanked all the efforts from the scientists and teams who put together the exhibition as well as the local Primary School who helped put together some of the ideas in the exhibition. He then invited Dr Rhys Jones, an evolutionary scientist and BBC presenter, to the front to officially open the exhibition.

Rhys was a great speaker, funny and very passionate, and was extremely engaging with the children, particularly one little boy sat beside us. And although the exhibition wasn’t open to the public until after 10am when the museum opened, he managed to sneak us in for a preview, on the proviso we didn’t tell anyone!

Wriggle Exhibition
Dr Rhys Jones officially opening the Wriggle Exhibition

Wriggle Exhibition

Supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery and Western Power Distribution, Wriggle is an innovative exhibition which is both family friendly and interactive. And although he can’t read yet, the displays were enough to capture BattleKid’s attention. Wriggle delves into the world of worms in a number of ways including:

  • Awesome Worms – showing us weird and wonderful worms including the bone-eating snot flowers worm. Yuck! There were lots of different specimens to view, with descriptions alongside their display jars.Wriggle Exhibition
  • Worm or Not a Worm – an interactive wall which acts as a game to help see if we can tell a worm from another creature. Believe me, even I couldn’t tell with most of them!Wriggle Exhibition
  • Worms’R’Us – explaining the worm research going on behind the scenes. I was delighted to see some of the tools used and recognised them from my day job too! I felt right at home.Wriggle Exhibition
  • Wriggle Exhibition
  • From Fossils to Fantasy – looking at worms in popular culture such as books and films.
  • Size Really Matters – exploring worms of various sizes from tiny worms no bigger than a fingernail, to a 30m long bootlace worm. They have a rope you can follow to the display that is as long as one of these and you can’t imagine a worm that long until you see this rope!
  • The Wriggloo – almost like a den, it gives you the opportunity to see the world from a worms perspective and the animals they live alongside, and often need to dodge. You can wriggle your way inside and believe me, BattleKid did just that. He loved this part of the exhibition, spending what felt like ages going in and out of the wriggle holes which were too small for mama which meant I spent my time running around trying to keep up with him. He was also quite taken by the animals in the display holes and the badger inside the Wriggloo. The Wriggloo also houses a real-live wormery.Wriggle Exhibition
  • Wriggle Exhibition
  • Wriggle Exhibition
  • Wriggle Exhibition
  • Wriggle Exhibition

There is so much to see and do in the Wriggle Exhibition and although I thought it would be outside BattleKid’s age range as I’ve said, far from it as he was fascinated by the worms and animals. He spent ages looking at the display panels in the floor and their contents as well as inside the Wriggloo. Wriggle Exhibition

There is quite a lot to see at the Wriggle Exhibition and unfortunately, as I didn’t have BattleDad with me, I didn’t get to spend time reading all the displays. However, that just means I’ll have to return!

The Wriggle Exhibition is suitable for all ages, even two year olds, and is both educational and fun. There is plenty of time to visit the exhibition as it runs until 30th September 2017 and the museum will be running supporting events throughout this summer, details of which can be found on the Cardiff Museum website.

Wriggle Exhibition

Although worms are not my thing, I thoroughly enjoyed what I got to see of the Wriggle Exhibition and have no doubt I’ll return, either with BattleDad in tow or on my own. i would like to spend some time reading and exploring those displays I didn’t get a chance to see, due to running around the Wriggloo after BattleKid. Thanks to Cardiff Museum for inviting us to the official opening of the Wriggle Exhibition.

So if you are looking for both a fun and educational thing to do with your children, especially this summer, why not visit Wriggle! the Wonderful world of worms at Cardiff Museum. You might be squeamish like me but I bet you enjoy it and your kids will love it!

Cath x

Cardiff Museum details:

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 5pm.

Closed Mondays except most bank holidays.

Free entry, although there are donation points in the foyer.

Visitor parking is located behind the museum and costs £6.50, exit token available in Museum shop.

 

Cuddle Fairy

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff – Our Visit

Last weekend we were kindly invited down to the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff in the Red Dragon Centre for a game of bowling and some food. Now, it’s been a number of years since I’ve been bowling and to be perfectly honest I hadn’t been overly impressed by the Hollywood Bowl the previous time I’d been. I was also apprehensive about taking a 2 year old bowling and whether he would get bored with it. But I need not have feared.

Firstly, the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff has had a complete make over and looks nothing like it did 5 or 6 years ago when I last went with work. Gone is the drab interior and sticky carpets. The Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff is now modern, fresh and really cool now. We arrived shortly before our 11am slot and made our way to reception where we were greeted by our Lane server, Morgan. Also new, and a surprise to us, was the fact we didn’t need to don bowling shoes as we were all in flat shoes so could remain in our own shoes. This was a first and the set of socks I’d stashed in BattleKid’s change bag weren’t needed after all. I think this is quite a good thing, so be warned, if you are in heels you will be required to change shoes, so go in flats of your own ladiesHollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

After checking in at reception we were shown to our VIP lane, number 26, which is the last lane and was a nice quiet one out-of-the-way. The VIP section consists of four lanes with coloured pins, more comfortable seating than the other lanes and with more professional bowls as well. With them being out-of-the-way they are ideal for families wanting some quiet time or if you want to be away from possible parties. That said you could also hire them for a party if you wanted and they don’t actually cost too much more as I’ll explain later.Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Morgan put our names into the computer and once we got settled, we were soon all set for our game of bowling. BattleKid wasn’t sure at first but as soon as he saw someone in a lane nearby knocking down the pins with their ball he shout “crash” and wanted to do the same. We used the ball launcher and had the sides up for him and off he went. He couldn’t quite understand why we had to take turns and in the end we let him take most of the turns to save having a tantrum. To be honest we didn’t mind at all, we just had to have patience while he decided which ball he wanted to use, all based on colour mind you, not weight! I have to say I was very impressed with our server, Morgan, as soon as she realised BattleKid was taking all our goes she asked if we wanted the bumpers up permanently and we said that might be best.Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Each lane, VIP or regular, has a dedicated lane server to get you drinks and food if you want, handy for parents who might not want to leave their children unattended. There are also ample ball launchers for younger children or wheelchair users (there was a wheelchair users using one in a lane near us). The lanes are wheelchair friendly with ramps for chairs and plenty of space around them.

During our game the manager, Keith from Dublin of all places, came over to say hi and to make sure we were being taken good care of, which we were. Morgan had brought us over our drinks and sorted out the bumpers for us without us having to ask. Halfway through our game the lighting on the lanes was changed and it looked mightily impressive, very cool I have to say.

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
Before the lighting change
Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
After the lighting change

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed his game of bowling, with a little help from mum and dad at setting up his balls for him. He enjoyed pushing the balls down the launcher and watching the pins being knocked down, all accompanied by shouts of “crash”. He even managed to get a few strikes which was more than what mum and dad may have managed had we been allowed to take our turns. We were both very surprised that his attention was kept for the majority of the game as we were sure he’d lose interest before we’d gotten halfway through. Who knew a game of bowling would be such a hit with a two year old!

As I’ve mentioned the new decor is brilliant and the Hollywood theme is evident throughout the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff, with Hollywood stars on the lanes and floors, and pictures of famous actors and actresses decorating the VIP section.Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

As we neared the end of our game Morgan came to take our food order to ensure it would be ready once we’d finished our game and were ready to move to the diner. We were given the option of eating at our lane but we thought it would be best to sit at a table with BattleKid. The diner in the Hollywood in Cardiff is called Harry’s and has a good number of seating available with booths as well as comfy chairs. Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

We were seated in a booth and our food was with us in minutes. It was nice and hot when it arrived and looked great. BattleDad chose a Sloppy Joes Burger while I went for a Chicken Caesar Salad and we asked for a children’s chicken nuggets and chips. I have to say the food was really tasty and fresh. BattleDad’s burger was delicious and BattleKid’s chicken nuggets were really yummy, made from fresh chicken too. BattleDad commented that his fries were tasty and the burger and bun were really good quality.

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
BattleKid’s lunch
Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
BattleMum’s lunch
Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
BattleDad’s lunch

Another plus was our drinks. BattleDad and I went for lemonades and were glad they actually tasted of lemonade, while BattleKid had an apple juice. They weren’t watered down like some fast food chains. Another thing I’ll say about the food at the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff is the menu is quite good and the portions are generous, they don’t skimp on food quantity. While my salad was nice and tasty I ended up wishing I’d gone for the Empire Burger as recommended by Morgan, but there’s always next time (and there will be a next time).

After we finished our lunch, and after we had high-fived the Hollywood Mouse (see below), BattleDad brought BattleKid into the arcade while I spoke to reception to get some information on prices (see below). We had promised him a ride on the car at the entrance so off the boys went while I got the particulars. Once I’d spoken to the girl at reception I joined the boys and did one car ride with the boy before we headed to the Lightening McQueen car for BattleKid to have a go in before we headed home.Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff

What we liked about Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff:

  • Great, fresh, modern decor.
  • Regular and VIP lanes which won’t break the bank.
  • VIP lanes have coloured pins and pro-bowls and are perfect for quiet family games away from the crowds, or for intimate parties.
  • Can wear your own shoes provided they are flats.
  • Plenty of lanes (26) and ball launchers too.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Parking is free within the Red Dragon centre car park and there are plenty of spaces.
  • Diner has also been redecorated.
  • Food is tasty, fresh and with generous portions.
  • Soft drinks are not watered down like in other fast food retailers.
  • There is a bar serving alcoholic drinks for over 18’s.
  • Each lane has a dedicated lane server meaning parents do not need to leave children unattended.
  • Arcade area to keep kids and adults entertained before or after your game of bowling.
  • Value-for-money.

What we didn’t like about Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff:

  • Nothing, we had a great time!

I have to say our experience of the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff was nothing like I’d envisaged and was a thoroughly enjoyable outing for us. We hadn’t been sure of what BattleKid would make of it all, given he is only 2, but he enjoyed himself and to our surprise his attention was kept throughout the game of bowling. He was really well-behaved and even got a strike sticker from Morgan for his efforts. Stickers win all the time.

We came away very impressed by both the service we had received and the decor of the revamped Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff, and now that we know BattleKid will enjoy it, we can see us returning in the not so distant future. I can highly recommend the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff as a place to spend a few quality hours together as a family having fun!

Thanks again to everyone at the Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff for a very enjoyable first game of bowling with BattleKid.

Cath x

Hollywood Bowl in Cardiff
High Five!

 

Our Visit to Bristol Zoo

Having not spent Easter with BattleDad we decided to take BattleKid to Bristol Zoo on the first weekend of April and today I’m sharing with you a round-up of our visit to Bristol Zoo. I looked into buying tickets online and decided to buy annual tickets as we would probably be back a few times in the year seeing as BattleKid is older and starting to become more interested in animals, so it would work out cheaper to get an annual ticket.

Armed with a printout of our confirmation email we set off before 8.30am on the Saturday and headed over the Severn to Bristol Zoo. We arrived around 9.30 and made our way to the membership desk to get our cards. The lovely lady at the desk explained our membership pack, took our pictures and we were set.

First stop was the flamingos, BattleKid’s aunties favourite. BattleKid looked on in awe as we watched one stamp the ground at the water’s edge before gobbling up whatever he or she had been after.

our visit to bristol zoo

our visit to bristol zoo

We then headed to the lion enclosure where BattleKid exclaimed “oh lion” before giving a roar as he does at the right parts in our ‘How to Hide a Lion’ story books. Imagine his delight when he realised there were two big cats in the enclosure.our visit to bristol zoo

We made our way clockwise around the zoo from the lions, passing the red pandas and giant tortoise which BattleKid thought was a dog! We then went into the reptile house and showed BattleKid the lizards which we called dragons for him and he loved them. BattleDad and I had a leopard gecko until a few years ago so we’ve always had a fondness for lizards, although I don’t like them all and definitely won’t have one as a pet again. BattleKid also enjoyed seeing the different types of frogs in the reptile house.

We decided to have a pit stop at the food court, so BattleKid tucked into fruit and a yogurt I had brought with us while BattleDad and I had cake and tea. It cost us £10.50 for two of each, which considering the size of the slices of cake we got was actually reasonable in our opinion. BattleKid had a little bit of cake but soon lost interest much to our delight. We polished them off and got on our way again.

Next on the agenda was the gorilla enclosure to show BattleKid one of his favourite animals. He is mad about monkeys ever since George entered his life nearly a year ago. Zoos can be a little bitter-sweet for me having been born in Africa but at the same time I do think they are a good place for children to see and learn about animals they would only see on TV, and if they help with conservation then all the better.our visit to bristol zoo

Soon after the gorillas we arrived at the highlight of our visit to Bristol Zoo for both BattleKid and us: the penguins. He has loved penguins just as much as monkeys, particularly since we started reading the Oliver Jeffers book “Lost and Found” which features a ‘pen pen’.

One particular penguin came over to BattleKid and he spent ages looking at him and talking to the ‘pen pen’. I think if we could have taken that penguin home with us BattleKid would have been overjoyed. It was lovely just watching his little face light up when the penguin came over to him. It is like it knew what it would mean to this small boy to interact for a minute with him.

our visit to bristol zoo
Watching the penguins swimming

our visit to bristol zoo

our visit to bristol zoo
Saying hi to the “pen pen”

BattleKid eventually prized himself away from that penguin to watch others swimming in the water, still truly fascinated by them. We then saw the seals swimming in their pool before going underneath to watch them in the water. It never ceases to amaze me how graceful a creature they are in the water. In the aquarium section we came across an interactive sensory feature that combined bubbles and different coloured lights which BattleKid did not want to leave. He spent a long time just watching the bubbles float upwards while the light changed colour. We had to remind ourselves that this was the first time he had ever seen anything like this and to be patient while he discovered it in his own good time. He also watched the seals through a port hole.

our visit to bristol zoo
Sensory Lights and Bubbles
our visit to bristol zoo
Peering through a port hole at the seals

Soon after the penguins and seals, little legs started to give way and a small boy asked to get into his buggy. We decided to wizz by the meerkats and through the butterfly house before heading to the car, having spent the best part of two hours at the zoo by that stage. We didn’t see all the animals but as we now have annual membership we can return at our leisure and maybe go anticlockwise next time to ensure we see the animals we missed.

We had a lovely few hours during our visit to Bristol Zoo as a family, spending quality time together amongst the animals after missing spending Easter together. Needless-to-say a small boy slept the whole way home and then some! And he loves his new ‘pen-pen’ we picked up in the gift shop on our way out.

For details on visiting Bristol Zoo and ticket prices, please visit their website. We’re looking forward to our next visit to Bristol Zoo already!

Thanks for reading,

Cath x