We’re going to the zoo…zoo…zoo…

This weekend, in true summer holiday style, we went to Bristol Zoo, with my sister and my 15 month old nephew, Finn. Here we are see, proof that we know how to rock and roll with the best of them:

I’m not sure how to feel about zoos. I know there is a large chunk of opinion that says they are cruel, and you can’t help but wonder about the sanity of a larger-than-man-sized gorilla spending it’s days in an area smaller than my house, but on the other hand, Bristol Zoo actually does a massive amount of international conservation work, and isn’t particularly full of large animals pacing their cages, looking like they’ve just spent six weeks shut up in the house with a gang of toddlers.

They do have some rather lazy looking lions. This is me trying unsuccessfully to make it look like I have dropped Belle in the cage with them:

Perhaps I should develop¬†a strong opinion either way, but I think the shameful truth is that I just don’t care about animals enough. *Gasps of horror from readers as writer reveals herself to be heartless, selfish cow*

We did have a lovely day out though, despite my managing to make Belle cry several times. “That’s SIX times you’ve made me sad now,” she sobbed pathetically at me at one point. I can’t remember why, but I’m sure I wasn’t beating her or anything.

My only complaint would be that the animals are all rather boring. Our favourite bit, aside from the stink of rotten fish, was the penguin and seal enclosure. The penguins are very good value – plenty of amusing waddling – and the seals do a fair bit of sliding of the rocks, swimming about, and getting back up again. There was even a baby.

Generally though, they just sit about – is this what happens in the wild? I don’t know. Sure, it’s the miracle of nature and everything, but personally I think it would be much more fun if the animals could do tricks of some kind, or at least if they were dressed up like this:

Now that would be my kind of zoo.



  1. 17 August, 2010 / 1:01 pm

    In the zoo in Barcelona most of the animals were hiding in the bushes. Chester zoo had pretty lively creature last time I was there and I do have a soft spot for Blackpool zoo, where the animals are pretty lively.

    I know what you mean though about not really caring enough about the animals, I’m like that too.

    • 19 August, 2010 / 1:05 pm

      Maybe they could do stuff to them to perk them up? Coffee maybe?

  2. hilly
    17 August, 2010 / 1:05 pm

    You are right, animals just sort of sit there looking bored regardless of whether they are in the wild or in captivity. I prefer Longleat, as the animals are a bit less confined, but to be honest, my girls are just as happy watching farm animals sitting around looking bored and it costs a lot less to do!

    • 19 August, 2010 / 1:04 pm

      Perhaps they ARE bored. Or perhaps they are looking back at us thinking ‘God, those people are boring, they just wander round staring moronically into often empty cages’. You never know.

  3. maryfclark
    17 August, 2010 / 1:34 pm

    I like that you are pretty sure you weren’t beating her. A good thing to know. One of my uncles insists that there aren’t any real animals in zoos, just animatronic robots programmed to stretch or flick an ear once in a while.

    • 19 August, 2010 / 1:03 pm

      I tried to convince Belle that the gorillas where men in suits, but she wasn’t having any of it. I also tried to convince her that an empty cage of monkeys was actually home to the lesser known ‘rope snake’ – snakes that look just like ropes and like to hang themselves from the walls on hooks. She didn’t believe that either. That was one of the times she cried – she doesn’t like being teased :-)

  4. 17 August, 2010 / 10:26 pm

    Ha ha – love it. Your blog is so much funnier than mine. I’m off to put some jokes in…

    • 19 August, 2010 / 1:01 pm

      But you have ATMOSPHERE – much more impressive. I have a vivid picture in my head of you and Peter in the woods in the almost rain with your macs tied round your waist :-)

  5. 18 August, 2010 / 10:27 am

    Funny blog! Although I am passionate about zoos, yeah, true, animals kind of bore me sometimes. You have the guts to admit it though!

    • 19 August, 2010 / 1:00 pm

      I was thinking it was just me, be I seem to sparked lots of confessions about how dull we all secretly find nature :-)

  6. 18 August, 2010 / 7:35 pm

    I freeking hate guinea pigs, they should be made to wear sombreros all the time ;)

    • 19 August, 2010 / 12:59 pm

      I can’t say I’m keen either. To me they seem like the kind of pet you settle for when really you want a rabbit.

  7. 18 August, 2010 / 7:49 pm

    I think zoos are great. I was a FONZ, (Friend Of the National Zoo), and enjoyed going whenever I could. I don’t live in DC anymore, so we are just acquaintances now.

    I really liked the last picture. It made me chuckle. I am sorry to hear that scribblingmum hates guinea pigs, but I do agree that I too would like them to wear hats all the time, though not just sombreros. I like guinea pigs and I think I speak for guinea pigs everywhere when I say the accessory industry has not met their fashion needs. This is upsetting and a travesty!

    Viva La Guinea Pig Fashion!

    • 19 August, 2010 / 12:58 pm

      You’re right – dogs have whole fashion ranges – do designers think guinea pigs don’t care about style?? Tut tut.

  8. 18 August, 2010 / 11:17 pm

    I agree. I think it should be compulsory that all guinea pigs wear hats! That photo is so cute…and Sshh! don’t tell anyone but I find most of the animals in zoos pretty boring.

    • 19 August, 2010 / 12:57 pm

      When I am Prime Minister I will pass a law requiring all animals under a foot long to either wear a hat or carry a small purse.

  9. 18 August, 2010 / 11:52 pm

    I would love to have a pet but some of us are just not lucky in love! I have a pet but it’s not really how I imagined it would turn out. I wish Gillian Anderson was my pet.

    • 19 August, 2010 / 12:57 pm


      You’re not Steve! I did think you were to start with, doing some kind of hilarious self-parody. Let’s play nice though :-)

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