Chester Zoo is among the best-loved attractions in the country. If you’re a person who likes to spend time walking around and looking at all manner of interesting and beautiful animals, then it’s a must-visit. The Zoo is thoroughly committed to conservation efforts, and has found fame in a recent television series documenting the goings-on behind the scenes.
This spring is to be marked by a whole host of events, some of them free. They’re great fun for people of every age and ability, and so if you’re planning a visit to Cheshire or the surrounding counties, or you’re fortunate enough to live locally, you should consider a visit obligatory.
Much of the early spring-related activities will have already passed by the time that you read this, but there’s still a bevvy of events upcoming. Let’s take a look at some of them – and see which of them might grab your attention.
Sunday morning is an ideal time to go for a walk. It’s among the best forms of exercise you can get, as it’s low intensity, easy to get into, doesn’t demand investment in a lot of equipment, and provides us with a chance to take in the sights and sounds of the countryside. If you’re going to go for a guided walk in Chester Zoo, then you’ll also benefit from the expertise of one of the Zoo’s rangers, who’ll be able to point out all the local wildlife, as well as the more exotic specimens, too.
Early-bird tours take place every Sunday morning during February and March. You’ll have the entire zoo to yourself, and you’ll be able to enjoy a hot drink and a pasty at the end of the tour. All for the very reasonable price of £10. Places in this walk are limited, however, and so it’s best to book online now in order to avoid disappointment.
As well as the ‘Bloom’ tour, there are a few others in the Zoo to attract your attention. The Monsoon Forest tour will take you through the ‘Islands’ section of the Zoo, which focusses on the wildlife found in Pacific islands like Indonesia. You may even be able to experience a deluge of monsoon-style rain used to water the plants (but you’ll need to wrap yourself up with waterproof clothing.) This tour takes place on the 29th of March, and is free, but again you’ll need to book a place in advance.
A little later into the year, on the 19th of April and the 3rd of May, the Bee Garden will once again be a hive of activity (if you’ll pardon the pun). Bees are crucial to the global ecosystem, and without them plant life (and therefore all life) as we know it simply wouldn’t be possible. You’ll be informed about which plants are beneficial for bees, and how you might encourage bees to come into your garden (and, indeed, why you might wish to do so).
Lastly, there’s the garden and plants which takes place on the 22nd of April. There, you’ll be able to experience a guided tour of the gardens and plants. For each of the walks we’ve mentioned, you’ll need to pay to enter the zoo if you aren’t obliged to pay for the walk itself. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
What if you don’t feel like going for a walk, or you’d prefer to exercise your creative muscles? The zoo is an inspiring place for artists and photographers – and there are plenty of subjects on hand to draw your eye. On the 25th of March, visitors will have the opportunity to learn from wildlife artist Kerry Newell, who will instruct on the finer points of watercolour. Attendees will be charged £150.
Slightly more expensive, at £160, if the garden photography course, where you’ll be provided with a short course and then a practical workshop, courtesy of Clive Nichols. Clive is a master photographer with experience photographing the world’s best gardens. You’ll need to bring your own camera.
Where can I stay?
If you’re intent on travelling to the zoo from well outside Cheshire, then you might want to stay overnight. Carden Park in Cheshire is among the best places in the county to stay. It’s a hotel and wedding venue in Cheshire, attached to two sizeable golf courses, a swimming pool, a spa, two restaurants, two bars, and plenty of grounds for walking – and perhaps doing some wildlife-spotting of your own!