When we returned from living in Canada we settled in a lovely country village not too far away from where we both grew up. One of the wonders of the location is that it is only a few miles from one of the UK top zoo’s.
I know what you’re thinking, a zoo? Well Whipsnade Zoo is not just any normal zoo; it houses a huge amount of sentimental family memories and is renowned as one of the premier zoological societies in all of Europe.
Located on the brow of the beautiful Chiltern Hills, Whipsnade covers a huge 600 acres. The views from the south west portion of the zoo are inspiring to say the least. This view changes day to day depending on the eclectic British weather, however on a clear day you could easily see for 20-30 miles across the glorious quintessential English countryside. It’s a sensational location for a summer picnic, playtime with your children or just a place to soak in the fresh countryside air.
Whipsnade is the location of a vast amount of our Wandering Memories from the age of eight years old to a couple of weeks ago. I remember first visiting and always running to the Penguin feeding, thinking what an incredible place it was and it was the only place we would be able to witness these magnificent creatures… (little did we know!).
The zoo itself has developed over the years and now includes vast enclosures for the animals it houses. For us both being animal lovers that is essential as there is nothing worse than caging creatures that need space to roam. No longer being a child doesn’t take away from the experiences at Whipsnade, as the more we visit the more we see the care and love that keepers provide to these elegant creatures.
The zoo features some of our most loved animals from all corners of the world, from cats (such as Lynx, Cheetahs, Lions and Tigers) to Elephants, Rhinos and Bears. However it also has a long standing sea-lion and penguin enclosures and is an incredible place to learn about the creatures themselves. Some of the animals have been at the zoo longer than I have been alive, which again is a accolade of the zoological society. What I really like however is the learning aspect of the zoo which we know they take pride in. There are daily educational talks about the Lemurs, Elephants and Penguins, and their life in the wild. There are bird and sea-lion shows in the summer and even a safari drive for people who have bought their cars in (can also be accessed by a train).
We enjoyed our first visit as a couple so much that we initiated a tradition that every weekend before Christmas we would visit. The bonus at winter is that the price of bringing a car into the zoo is reduced as walking in the low temperatures can be very off-putting.
We are a huge advocate of wildlife adventures, be it in the American wilderness, Asian forests or African plains… there are few experiences as breathtaking. A zoo would never match up to these, however it gives everyone the opportunity to appreciate and learn about the natural world in which we live – Whipsnade is a great teaching ground for people of every age.
Whipsnade is under an hours journey from London by car, just off the M1 motorway and is twinned with the marvellous (yet more compact) London Zoo in Regents park.
We will continue to visit, and hopefully be able to make countless new Wandering Memories with our own family.