Friday, July 25, 2008
Location: Whipsnade Zoo
Bedfordshire LU6 2LF
Tel: 01582 872171
Fax: 01582 872649
When we found out by chance that Whipsnade will have a special night opening we decided to make that special trip to Dunstable and stay at the weekend there.
We found Whipsnade 1 and half years ago after visiting the London Zoo. At that time The Little One was 1 year old and we wanted to expose her to other living creatures big and small. Her then favourite book was Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" so we thought it would be apt for her to see a brown bear in person.
We had a wonderful day out that winter day and when I found out about their special "once a year" night opening in the summer, we decided that the opportunity was too good to be missed. Afterall, surely it was a stroke of good luck that they had the night opening when we were in town!
We rented a car and drove over 2.5 hours to Dunstable and checked in at the Travellodge Dunstable Hockliffe at GBP53.50 a night. Hockliffe is somewhat between Whipsnade and Woburn, and we were going to Woburn the following day.
We arrived at Whipsnade early and was really excited to get in. The Kiasu and Kanciong part of me was afraid that they may have limited tickets for the night and wanted to be in the front of the queue to make sure that we could get in.
I had tried to buy the tickets online in advance but was not able to do so. We called the zoo about the ticket sales and they assured us that we could buy them when we get there. But hey! We've come a long long way to turn back and miss this opportunity.
Of course the minute we got in, I had to head off to the toilets first! The weather was slightly chilly and I was so glad we didn't forget our jumpers!
First we saw the Lemurs. I must say that the whole night opening was very well organized. There were many zookeepers and volunteers, all friendly and smiling. Willing to tell us about the animal friends.
They were feeding the Lemur raisins as we were at their enclosure and one even came up close and almost personal to The Little One. But of course we didn't have the camera ready for the Kodak moment. And these Little creatures are so nimble and so quick indeed!
We then decided to walk over to the Elephant enclosure for the Elephant show. Elephants, being the Little One's current favorite animal is a must see animal for the evening.
The Little One's last trip here was when she was 12 months old, and there she was in my Ergo carrier. Carrying her high up with us was part of our attachment parenting style. So that she is more aware of what does on at our level.
And here she is now at 30 months old! Talkative, inquisitive, curious, full of questions and imaginative play. I think the attachment parenting bit paid off. She shows attentiveness and at her age she does speak quite well and is able to express herself clearly. She can tell us when she is happy, sad, scared and what it is exactly that she wants. (Normally its ice-cream.)
And then that customary ride on the steam engine train. She has been watching Thomas the Tank engine and is very curious about trains. Afterall she doesn't get to sit in one very often here.
I could not resist the smell of fish and chips nearby and got some for our dinner. I forgot how quickly food gets cold over there but it was really nice to have a good fish and chips!
The Little One insisted on playing at the play area for while. She just loves running and going down the slide. We didn't object as it would allow her to release some steam and burn off excess energy.
Time just seemed to fly by when you're having fun and before we know it, the sun was setting and the closing time was not too far off.
We caught the fire show by "Flame Oz" and I must say that I found them thoroughly mesmerizing and enjoyable.
But alas the beautiful evening had to come to an end and we were excited to rest for the night as next on our agenda was another animal park which we have never been to before.