18 months ago when I was brand new to twitter, I won a competition through Asda. I had to pick a name for a new tiger cub at Chester zoo. I had a choice of 5 names. I do not even remember which one I picked. However I was one of the winners. I won 4 adult tickets to the zoo valid until Dec 2013. We used the first ones in March 2012 and the others recently. It meant we only had to pay for 5yo and our petrol. From York it is about a 2 hour journey.
We were all looking forward to our day out and so armed with a buggy and a picnic we were out of the house early and arrived just after 10am. We gave each boy a map of the park and explained to them that if they get lost, they are to head to the elephant house and stay there. Seemed a good idea to have a meeting point.
First stop was the Tropical house and the butterflies.
We made our way around the zoo, looking at what the boys wanted to as well as trying not to miss anything out. They loved watching the orang u tangs.
They also loved the penguins.
From 13th July- 3rd November Chester Zoo are running ‘mind-boggling BUGS!’ This is a display you can walk around showing larger than life bugs. There are a lot of different facts about these different mini beasts. They move and some have water spray or lights. There was a fly, spider, scorpion, glo worm, ladybird and dragon fly to name a few.
Lighting up a glo worm’s bum (much to 3yo amusement)
The boys really enjoyed this display (except maybe the spider moving on his web). They offer a scared photo too.
This is one of my favourite pictures of the day. Just a shame we couldn’t sit baby on there too.
We carried on around the zoo looking at the different animals including tortoises and lions.
He was a fast tortoise lol
We enjoyed our picnic and a ride on the monorail. It was a lovely day and the boys were being very good.
baby enjoying the monorail
We headed for the chimps not long after. Near the chimp house there is a growing willow tunnel. It has 3 entrances. What happened next is every parent’s nightmare. This is an email I wrote to the boys (they have a ‘future’ email address) not long afterwards: I*= 5yo, O= 3yo and L is baby.
Hello boys, mummy here!
This is my first email to you. At the moment you are 5, 3 and 9months. keeping us busy.
This last weekend we went to chester zoo. We love it there. It is the 3rd time we have been. The day was a lovely one, with a bit of rain. There is one thing I wanted to write and tell you about.
I* got lost!!!!
I* and O went through a willow tunnel which has 3 entrances. O comes out. No I*. O goes back through. No I*. Daddy runs round it. No I*. Daddy runs through and round again. No I*. Cue PANIC!!!! I shout your name a few times. 5 mins past and still no I*, I scream your name a bit hysterically. This scares O and L, so I have to calm down.
10mins and Daddy is running round the zoo looking for you. Still no I*. I didn’t know whether I was going to pass out or throw up. I was so scared about where you were, who you were with and if you were scared. Daddy rang me. Still no I*.
I find a member of zoo staff. She goes off to ring security. I daren’t leave the willow tunnel in case you come back. You hear of horror stories of children going missing and never seen again. Not my baby? NO!!! Where is he?
15mins and security are with me. I give this description.
A tall 5yo with dark blonde hair, grey combat trousers, white trainers and a smurfs t shirt with slogan on it ‘Got you’
This description goes out over the radio. Daddy rings again. Nope no I*. I was close to crying, but had to stay strong for O, he kept saying he misses I*. He must feel my panic. L was chatting in his buggy, unaware of the drama.
I go with security and search the giraffes, scanning all the time to spot you. Daddy rings. HE’S GOT YOU! My heart jumped and I couldn’t stop smiling. I was escorted to the elephants where you were with Daddy. Completely unaware that you had been lost for 20 minutes! THE LONGEST 20 MINUTES OF MY LIFE!!!!!
Turns out you had followed our directions to the letter. We told you that if you got lost you were to go to the elephants. You had come out of the tunnel away from us. Instead of thinking ‘oh yes I will go back that way, mummy is there’ your unique mind thought ‘oh I am lost. I must go to the elephants’. No common sense, but you can find your way aged 5 across a large zoo!!!!!
You followed the signs and doubled back on yourself, walking past where I had been. To get to the elephants. Not the most direct route or else Daddy would have found you. He ran round the park twice. You were safe though. That was the main thing.
I am sure it won’t be the last time one of you gets lost. However don’t do it again!
Lots of Love Mummy
Certainly was a very scary 20 minutes and not one I want to repeat in a hurry. It then started to rain, so we seeked shelter in the girrafe house.
We then headed for a cafe near the entrance. The rain really came down. Lots of people leave.The rain stopped again and we went to look at the elephants. There were the cutest two baby elephants. We watched them play for ages.
We then headed for the zoo shop for a souvenir. While we were in the shop the heavens opened and we enjoyed a thunderstorm. It was by now about 4.30pm and so we decided to head for home. Via mcdonalds on the way home.
We had an amazing day, despite 5yo scaring us half to death. Unfortunatly we managed to take our camera with no batteries in it (doh), so these photos were taken with the boys’ cameras.