The Welsh Mountain Zoo

Thursday 7 August 2014 by

The Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

Birthday, Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

At the end of last month Tori, my eldest, turned five and lucky for her the school term finished the Thursday before her birthday so she didn’t have to spend the day at school.

As if this wasn’t enough of a treat, we decided to surprise her on the day before her birthday with a special day out.

We didn’t tell the Smalls our plan, just popped them in the car and set off for Wales after breakfast – I think they thought we were going to the park.

Arthur can only read (and spell) one word at the moment and that is ‘Zoo’ so as soon as the sign was spotted excitement levels rocketed. We parked next to the camels and then headed off to recharge from the journey with lunch which was in the café stationed overlooking the Siberian tiger enclosure. It was great being able to wander out onto the balcony after our chips and watch a tiger lazily exploring her home.

Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

The whole zoo is set on the side of a mountain overlooking Colwyn Bay so there are lots of up and downs as you walk round, but nothing too steep to manage easily and the views are absolutely stunning (when the sea mist clears!)

There are all manner of animals to see as you walk around; snakes and frogs and alligators, lemurs, tamarins and otters, Siberian tigers, snow leopards and brown bears.

I particularly liked the snow leopards at they currently have two small cubs born this summer – I couldn’t get a photograph though as they were playing inside and it was too awkward to focus the camera on them through the fence.

Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

The Smalls loved the meerkats and we got to watch the penguins being fed which was great fun. There was enough to keep their attention throughout and plenty of space for them to run about and explore. It wasn’t just animals on display there were displays of plants and the coastal mountain environment meant that a lot of unusual plants have been persuaded to grow there around the paths so sometimes it felt like you were in a jungle or forest somewhere a lot more exotic than North Wales!

It is the little touches that make a place and the addition of a mirror next to the chimp enclosure with pictures of the different expressions chimps use to communicate was a great idea. Tori had fun trying to pull all the different faces and it was hilarious to watch!

One of the highlights though has to be the excellent play facilities. There are three play areas: one aimed at younger children with swings, a seesaw and a small slide/bridge equipment, one aimed at older children with a bigger, higher jungle gym and slide then two big slides down the side of the hill to a large wooden adventure play area with zip lines, bridges and obstacle courses.

Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay

We all played on ALL of the play areas to round off the day and Tori really found her confidence in climbing things – something she hasn’t really shown before but was great to see. I snuck into the shop whilst they were distracted on the slides and bought them giant pencils and a notebook each as souvenirs before we headed back down the mountain and along the coastal road home to Shropshire. Stopping in Chester for birthday Pizza Hut dinner on the way of course!

The Welsh Mountain zoo is open every day except for Christmas day and from Easter to mid-September there is a free mini bus service provided from the Colwyn Bay railway station up the mountain to the zoo.

It cost us £31.40 for a family ticket to get into the zoo and it is open from 9:30am until 6pm (last admissions at 5pm) from April to October and the rest of the year 9.30am until 5pm (last admissions at 4pm) so you can easily spend a whole day there.

We didn’t get to see everything – as ever in a zoo some animals were elusive and we didn’t explore the media centre or arts room or go watch the falconry or chimp displays. We also missed the Lemur walk experience – something I want to go back and do another time.

To find out more about the Welsh Mountain Zoo go visit their website: www.welshmountainzoo.org

Or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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