Battersea Park Children's Zoo review
I'm always a bit embarrassed coming to Battersea Park Children's Zoo because I'm obviously not a kid. It's definitely a kid's place. All of the other adults have got wailing babies, volcanic toddlers or stormcloud-faced teenagers to drag around, but not me. So I'm just going to have a look at the meerkats and the monkeys and keep the rain company for a while.
This must be one of the sleepiness zoo in England. I keep meaning to bring some drums and cymbals with me to wake the monkeys up, because they always seem to be snoozing in their sheds out the back. I've been here for fifteen minutes and I've had a read about the lemurs, had a read about the squirrel monkeys, had a read about the tamarins... but I haven't actually seen any of them. What time do monkeys get up in the morning? What time do they start work? The only time they poke their noses out is when a zoo keeper chucks in a piece of carrot, or a piece of orange (I don't know exactly what it is -- but it's something orange). They have a quick sniff and go straight back to sleep again. Sounds like a nice easy life to me. Most people want to be reincarnated as something better when they die, but I wouldn't mind regressing back to being a monkey again. Why not? I'm bored of being a human. I'll have a couple of rounds as a monkey and then maybe one as a bird, and then maybe I'll try being a human again.
The chipmunks are quite cute, I suppose. They're like little balls of lightning zipping around at 100 miles an hour. They're banging off the walls like a rubber bullet. It's almost as if they're teleporting across the other side of the cage -- that is how fast they're moving. I tried to take a photo of one but the little blighter wouldn't keep still. I said, "hey mate, keep still for a second so I can take a photo will you please", but nope. He had places he needed to be, things he needed to see on the other side of the cage.
If your kid is a big fan of snakes then good news: they've got a corn snake. And if they're absolutely petrified of snakes then here's some even better news: they've got a six-foot rat snake as well.
The otter enclosure has lots of rocks and bushes and a little pond and a waterfall. I watched the otters for a few minutes and they spent the entire time chasing each other round the rocks. Either it was a fun game or a fight to the death, I'm not sure which.
The most popular enclosure is the meerkats because they let you scoot through an underground pipe and poke your head up in the middle (you have to be a little kid though, because adults will never fit inside). Unfortunately it was pouring down with rain today so the meerkats decided to stay indoors. The staff don't issue them with umbrellas, you see, so what are they supposed to do?
The big flat field in the middle is where the Aussie wallabies live (hide). I didn't see any of them either. You'd think they'd be easy to spot with their big feet sticking out of the end of the hut... but nope. After five minutes one of them eventually obliged and came to the door, but after a quick sniff of the air he decided that he didn't fancy the cold clouds over Battersea and went back to bed again.
It was around this time (11:30 AM) that the inevitable happened: three thousand school kids turned up wearing their bright yellow fluorescent builders jackets, looking like little construction workers, with their foreman teachers barking orders at them and demanding that they all hold hands, keep close to their partners, not talk or walk too close to the fences, or sit on the benches, poke their fingers through the cages, or basically do anything at all except what their teachers tell them. Battersea Zoo is very much a little kids place, so you have to accept that there will be kids in it. Toddler kids. Pram kids. Hyperactive kids. School kids. Personally I think they've got it all back to front -- it's the kids who should be in the cages. They're the ones who should be locked up.
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