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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Day Out At Whipsnade

It was a bright and sunny day today, although cold. I wasn't working, so we decided to go to Whipsnade Zoo. We are members of the Zoological Society Of London, so we don't have to pay to get in, and we also get discount if we go to any of their restaurants and cafes. The year's membership is around £85 for the two of us, and we can go to either Whipsnade or London Zoos as many times as we want to during the year. As a single entry to Whipsnade is £16.50, you can see that if we go a couple of times we have more or less paid for the year's membership, so it more than pays for itself. It's not far either, about 40 minutes down the A5 south from Milton Keynes and through Dunstable. On the way we had to cross the Dunstable Downs and saw lots of gliders, kites and people in what looked like hang gliders. The weather conditions seemed ideal for these activities and there were even gliders flying over the zoo itself. I don't know what any of the animals made of them, and it also occured to us what would happen if a glider had to make an emergency landing in the zoo, and in particular the enclosure of any of the more dangerous animals, such as the lions. We saw the baby elephant which had been born there a few months ago and wanted to see her again to see how she was progressing, and generally it makes a lovely day out.

We got to the zoo and found that we couldn't use the car park as we usually would, and then found that we could take the car into the zoo, something we haven't done before. We parked near the wolf enclosure and walked around within the zoo. We got to the meerkat enclosure just in time to hear a talk from one of the keepers and she fed them at the end of the talk. These are little animals which we have seen quite a lot of on television and seeing them in real-life we never realised how small they are.

The animals seemed a good deal more active than when we've been during the summer. I put it down to the fact that, when it's really hot, most animals shelter in the shade and don't make an appearance, and when it's colder they are more active. Such was the case on this visit.

It was bright and sunny, but there was an underlying chill out of the sunshine, and it was coldest up on the downs where the wind seemed to blow in without anything in the way to stop it. We walked around for most of our time there, but decided to drive around some of the areas which we hadn't seen before, the Animals Of Asia, which usually has a small train running through it, but you can't get into by foot. There were bison, deer and camels in that area.

One of our favourite parts of the zoo is the relatively new 'In With The Lemurs' exhibit, where you walk through the Ringed Lemurs enclosure. We have lots of photographs of these delightful little animals, the photographs at the top of this post being one of them. They are so photogenic and seem to enjoy it when a camera is directed at them!

We had coffee and something to eat in one of the cafes, and then made our way home.
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