Family Fun in Chester


It seems like an age ago now, but during the last week of the holidays we took a short break and headed down to Chester. The main attraction was to the zoo as we had promised that the kids that they would get to see some elephants.

We decided to head down on the Tuesday so we could set off to the zoo first thing Wednesday morning. As we were due to arrive a little after lunch we thought it would be fun to try and fit another visit in while we were there. We had a quick look at what was around and choose the Blue Planet Aquarium.

Blue Planet Aquarium

I must admit that I never checked any of the reviews before booking but on the way down I had a quick browse and began to wonder if we had made the right decision. As it turned out, it wasn’t as bad as some of the reviews would have you believe. The otters weren’t there to see and it was a little overpriced in my opinion, but overall we had a reasonably good time there watching the sharks and checking out the other underwater wildlife.

After we’d finished at the aquarium we made the short journey to Cheshire Oaks Outlet Village. We had a quick walk around the shops before heading to the next complex for some food. After our meal we headed off to our lodgings for the evening. We had booked a room at a Travelodge about 15 minutes from Cheshire Oaks as the one in the complex was fully booked.

Chester Zoo

I’m going to start by saying that I know there are people who don’t agree with zoos and animals being kept in enclosures. Personally have mixed feelings about this. On the one had, if it wasn’t for the zoos many animals would be extinct, or at least verging on extinction, so to me they play an important part in conservation.

However I don’t like to see animals cooped up in small enclosures. That said the enclosures at Chester Zoo, although not as big as the Masai Mara, were large enough for the animals to roam around freely. In fact some were large enough for them to completely hide from view, much to the annoyance of some of the visitors.


After a comfortable nights sleep and a quick breakfast we were ready for our day at the zoo. We arrived shortly after 10am and the car park was already beginning to fill up quickly.  Fortunately we got a space quite near the entrance as if not I would never have been able to find the car when we left.

We had pre-booked out tickets so were able to head straight to the entrance to be scanned in. This took around 2 minutes and then we were ready to make our way to see the animals (after a quick toilet stop)

Elephants, Monkeys and Bats

Our first animal encounter was with the elephants. We spent a good 15 minutes watching and counting them. The baby ones were the main attraction for Anya who decided they were cute.

From there we went to the monkey house and then onto the bat enclosure. This was one of my favourite places. However, my OH and the kids weren’t so excited to be in the pitch black with ‘flying rodents’ whizzing past. Personally for a family obsessed with Batman I was a little disappointed at their lack of interest, although I was informed once we were outside that Batman got his name was for his fear of bats not his love of them!

Big Cats

From here we strolled across the bridge, where we caught a glimpse of a cheetah and then on to see the lions.

We then had a brief stop to refuel and play in the adventure playground and water play before heading off see my OH’s favourite creature, the Komodo Dragon.

Another of my our animals was the sloths. There’s something about them that I find intriguing and we all loved watching them climbing across the ropes and sunbathing.

The kids loved the giraffes, especially their long tongues, the zebras and the rhinoceros and her baby.

We also managed to fit a quick ride on the monorail in which gave us a different view of the zoo.


One of the main focuses at Chester Zoo appears to be the primates, apes and monkeys. The have loads of them from Orangutans and gibbons to chimpanzees and miniature monkeys.

We saw several baby orangutans during our visit as well as some that were probably there last time I visited. Corey was mesmerised by them and stood watching them for ages.

New Exhibits

I haven’t been to the zoo for over 15 years and while some of the areas haven’t changed there are some big changes in other areas. The new Islands exhibit was fun to walk around and I found the theatrics of it all really good. However I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see some of the larger animals housed there such as the Siberian Tigers or the bears.

More to See

We left just before the zoo closed  at 6pm. Even though we had spent all day there we still didn’t see all the animals and could easily have spent another hour or so there. That said we did have a fantastic day and saw loads of animals we had never seen before. Plus the kids were over the moon at seeing the elephants which was the main attraction for us.

Our Verdict

There was a fantastic variety of animals as well as some other areas with things to do such as the adventure playground. It was a little disappointing not to be able to see some of the larger animals but I completely understand why and it didn’t affect our enjoyment of the day.

There are plenty of toilets and changing facilities around the zoo and, although we didn’t require them, wheelchairs, scooters and kids’ buggies are available to hire for a small fee.

We didn’t test out any of the food outlets but again, there were plenty about in the various areas and menus for the Manado Street Kitchen looked really nice.

Although I will probably take the kids again when they are a little older, I won’t be rushing back as it was a little on the expensive side. It cost us around £100 for the day (excluding food as we took our own and overnight lodgings) and was extremely tiring for all of us.

Have you been to Chester Zoo? What was your favourite animal? 

Debbie x




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