The husband and I had our first date at Bristol Zoo, so it holds a special meaning to us. I've watched it grow and change over many years and seen it develop its habitats and enclosures to meet the growing needs of an increasingly endangered population. It's a really special place. Wedged into a beautiful, but heavily populated, part of Clifton, space is at a premium and it's a balancing act to give all the animals the best environment for their needs, whilst also accommodating a vast number of visitors 364 days of the year. In recent years, there have been many changes and developments within the zoo and if you haven't been in a while, you may be surprised by how different it is now. It was the perfect place to begin our last week of the school holidays!
The biggest change I've noticed is in the quality of the enclosures. The layouts show a real imagination and insight into the welfare of the animals. The monkeys have huge, real trees to climb! If you look very carefully in this photo, you will see a tiny squirrel monkey, making the most of his fantastic climbing environment!
There are tunnels and walkways to mimic the animals natural environment and maximise the space available. The most impressive walkway is the glass ceiling in the Gorilla House. There is really nothing quite like the sight of a 400lb gorilla ambling casually above your head!
The lovely keepers make the Lemur walk really special. You can walk right inside the enclosure and there is always someone there to welcome you and tell you all about them. There are babies right now and they are adorable!
I love how the zoo is arranged so that you really feel part of what is going on. For lunch, we found some picnic benches right next to the Howler Monkeys and it almost felt like they would quite like to share!
The Zoo is very pretty, the landscaping is stunning and you can even join the gardeners for a gardening experience and learn all about the different species of plants that grow there. You could probably spend half a day just walking around the grounds, enjoying the scenery!
My only slight frustration with the grounds is that I find them quite hard to navigate! I don't know if it's just me, as it's not really my strong point, but I nearly always get lost at least once and I would personally benefit from a couple more signposts. However, I do always find great places for picnics, or just sitting in the sunshine, along the way!
Whilst walking around the Zoo, there are all kinds of different facts and activities, to amuse guests young and old. Luke always tries to find out how high he can jump and how long his tongue is, even though it probably hasn't grown since the last time we visited!