The sky was Cinderella blue, the
jackdaws tiny bluebirds were squawking singing, and then….it was time to sing the blues in the rain as Bristol’s skies opened and decided the earth needed a really good watering.
Our perfect day out, as we made our way towards our destination as guests of Visit Bristol to their picturesque zoo, dressed in shorts and t-shirts, seemed completely doomed. Wet children are one thing, but wet and grumpy grown-ups with tank tops and denim cut off shorts are quite another. I was also pretty sure that the animals would be running for cover too.
Luckily for the boys, they were snug in their waterproofs which we store in the car for puddle-jumping emergencies, and so it was ponchos for two as me and the mister located them in the expansive gift shop at the entrance to the zoo.
We hustled inside and layered up – me looking like Quasimodo with the poncho covering rucksack on my back and camera on my front – whilst the boys sent copper coins shooting gloriously down the chute of the animal charity display boxes.
All I could think about was how ruined our day was – and even at the end of the day I was so worried that we hadn’t seen enough to be able to show just how fantastic Bristol Zoo really is; but when I looked back over our photos it was easy to see that despite the incredibly wet weather, the boys made some amazing memories to treasure that soggy Sunday. In case you’re wondering – I took the opening photo on the way out of the zoo. On the way in I’d have been washed away.
We’d done a little reading up beforehand and discovered a “Big Bugs” app for the zoo. We had no idea what was in store though – until we came face to face with a giant animatronic ladybird.
The lions weren’t phased by the downpour – and whilst I was busy admiring them, the boys had found their favourite attraction of the day – the lion pee machine.
Yes, you read that right. The lion pee machine. Bristol Zoo has a button to press which makes it appear as though a lion is shooting urine at you. Hilariously we actually saw a lion come close to the contraption and go to the toilet as if to demonstrate the reality of the concept – but for at least twenty minutes, the boys leapt in and out of pretend lion pee in fits of giggles over who got the most squirts on them.
They were absolutely soaked.
Seeing a gorilla so close – and at one point over his head on the glass ceiling, which again sent the boys into hysterics imagining a gorilla squashing them – was such a treat for him, and his little eyes were wide with wonder.
It was so crowded in the gorilla house, which is more like a huge jungle gym for them – and as we watched the big guys playing with the babies, we jostled for a space and eventually managed to get a capture of this magnificent guy above.
Below was his favourite by far.
Back outside it was still raining as we took part in learning about cockroaches [which we are all quite fond of now, although sad to hear that they actually can’t survive a nuclear attack] and land snails [whilst I imagined the damage they would cause to my poor pumpkins] as Lyoto hitched a lift in Hero’s Quinny.
Around the corner we found the most beautiful cricket – and we collected him on our app, whilst Jensen demonstrated how they eat.
We found more props to enjoy – a giant tortoise and kangaroo. Our little joeys were adorable if I say so myself.
At the end of the day, the sunshine started to come out and Jensen made his way up onto a ladybird that he was allowed to sit on for a picture [despite his believing I was going to get into trouble with a park employee], whilst we helped ourselves to scrumptious mini tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Despite the weather, Bristol Zoo proved to be a fantastic day. Perfectly manicured and carefully thought out enclosures with areas for little ones to play safely in the open. It was an absolute delight and a complete pleasure to have spent the day at such a special place – and we are proud to be ambassadors of such a beautiful attraction. We hope to return soon!