My best uni friend’s best school friend’s sister’s husband is a zoo keeper at London Zoo in Regent’s Park – a tenuous link tbh – but good enough to get me and my kids behind the scenes for the day. And it was ace.
First off we did all the usual things that the visitors do – lions, tigers and bears oh my! Plus penguins (we love penguins), Komodo dragons, camels, monkeys, snakes, etc etc. And I must say just doing and seeing what the general public do and see is well worth the entrance fee. But then we had an added bonus of knowing people that know people that know people….
After lunch Jim (the lovely zoo keeper) came and met us and took me and my kids into the meerkat enclosure where we had to sit on the meerkats’ rocks with our arms folded while the meerkats clambered on us. They are most inquisitive little creatures I must say – and I was a little scared. But the kids loved it!
Once we’d waved goodbye to the meerkats (one of which got a little too up close and personal with my son giving him a slight nip on the earlobe…) Jim took us into the real behind-the-scenes zone where he was training a new arrival before she could meet the general public.
Yema is a really cute tree kangaroo and my kids got to sit in her enclosure with her and feed her, stroke her, and watch as Jim trained her. This was such an amazing experience and one that money really couldn’t (and didn’t) buy!
We then met some super-cool spider monkeys called Sonny (the boy) and Cher (the mum) – we particularly liked this being called Sonny (my boy) and Char!
After this Jim had to return to his work and we were free to roam the rest of the zoo – we saw zebras, lemurs, giraffes, hippos – plus wandered around in the stunning and tranquil aquarium.
Finally we were all way too tired to look at anything else (we missed out on the Bug Zone but I am assured that’s no biggie) so it was time to head to our car and go home.
What a brilliant day out!