Family Days Out Are a Big Mistake. #3: The Zoo

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Husband came home last night clutching a bundle of leaflets.

‘I think we should take Noodles to the zoo. He likes animals. It would be fun.’

As if on cue Noodles gave his best elephant impression, waving his arm from his nose, ‘Brrrrrrrrrrrrrppppppphhhhhhh.’

Husband may have a point. Noodles would probably love it at the zoo. Except:

• At Whipsnade Zoo monkeys threw poo at my grandad. Funny for us kids. Not so funny for my grandad.

• At Edinburgh Zoo it rained so hard for so long that our jeans had soaked water up to our thighs by the time we left.

• At Port Lympne Wild Animal Park I left Boo’s shoes at home. A fiercely independent 2-year-old, she was less than happy at being constrained to her buggy all day, constantly scolding ‘Silly Mummy – shoes!’ throughout the day.

• At Pettitts Animal Adventure Park a goat took a good munch at Boo’s skirt in the petting area, causing much hysterical screaming and tears.

• At Chester Zoo Boo fell over whilst scampering along the path to see the meerkats. Her screams sent the meerkats scattering back to their burrows to the disappointment of the crowd.
It then took us half an hour for zoo staff to locate a first aider and a pile of paperwork for them to administer a Band-Aid.

• At London Zoo Boo got lost. That heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moment when you turn around to find your child very much not there.
Several decades before, as a child, my mum also got lost at London Zoo whilst in the reptile room. It gave her a lifelong fear of snakes. Thankfully Boo was found stuck on some play equipment, but hasn’t since developed a fear of slides.

• At Longleat Safari Park the car started to overheat whilst stuck in a jam in the lion’s enclosure. The twins got excited every time a lion stretched a limb in our direction. I was freaking out, wishing I had a flare on me.

• At Banham Zoo we saw the zebras getting it on. Cue lots of awkward questions from the twins, then 3, and their nursery school friends about why ‘that zebra is trying to get on the back of that other one.’

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So, Husband, yes – let’s take Noodles to the zoo. BUT let’s pick a fine day, but not one so hot that the car’s likely to break down. Let’s stay clear of monkeys and goats. And YOU can take full responsibility for packing (remember shoes and distress flares) and for keeping an eye on the children, restraining them if need be. AND for answering any questions about life, death and sex that might result from the day.

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12 thoughts on “Family Days Out Are a Big Mistake. #3: The Zoo”

  1. The first time I took my nephew to the zoo, one colobus monkey shoved his arm all the way up his friend’s behind, pulled something out, and ate it. Yeah. That was exciting.

    We live a block from a zoo now, so I do take my kids a lot, but it’s always easy to leave quickly.

    1. Hahaha. That’s really made me laugh (although also vomit in my mouth a little bit). Thank you for the comment.
      Farms aren’t much better either. We watched one pig pee into some mud and a second pig instantly drink it. It sealed my daughter’s choice as pigs being her favourite animal.

  2. Best written impression of an elephant I have ever seen. You have an impeccable memory. Did anything pleasant happen at all at these zoos? Hope you find a nice day for going to the zoo. I am looking forward to your story on that day.

    1. On the whole good things DO happen to us (the penguin parade at Edinburgh was the cutest and I’m planning another trip to London Zoo with friends in the summer. Otherwise we might have called it a day after 3 or so visits.
      But we DO seem to attract misfortune. But just as well really as it gives me something to blog about. 😉

      1. You’re planning another trip … If you need a little misfortune to write great blogs I’m secretly hoping a little of that happens at the Zoo (not too much though, you should have a great time, too).

  3. Oh my goodness. You and your family have not had great run-ins with any establishment that contains animals! Do let us know how this trip will turn out… And your poor, poor grandfather… That has got to be one of the funniest things I have heard in a while! 😉 I will keep my fingers crossed for you, friend.

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