London Zoo review
If you want to do London Zoo properly then you'll be walking around for 4-5 hours so you need to take it slow, because it's a proper zoo: there are no rides, no rollercoasters, no dolphins doing tricks with the kids. You just stand in front of the cages trying to find the animals, then you buy a stuffed monkey from the gift shop and go home.
The aquarium is a nice peaceful way to begin your day. When you push open the door you're into a world of watery music and mushy pea green scenes, rock scenes, log scenes and tropical coral scenes. Next-door to that is the Reptile House. You might want to skip this one if you're scared of snakes because they've got boas, cobras, pythons, vipers and sidewinders. Some of the lizards look like dinosaurs. They've put them in Jurassic tanks and you'll have a hard time picking them out amongst the jungle plants, ponds and fronds.
Normally the Gorilla Kingdom is my favourite section but it was a bit disappointing today because they seemed to be on strike. Maybe they're holding out for more bananas because there wasn't a single one outside. It's very difficult to see them when they're sulking inside because they've painted the windows with fake ferns to give them a bit of privacy. These are not wild animals anymore, they are retired animals. If I have one criticism of Gorilla Kingdom then it's the tiny size of the moat -- they need to double it. And they need to double the fences as well. I wouldn't like to be standing around if a gorilla tried to jump them because I reckon he'd make it!
The Tiger Territory is one of the largest enclosures in the zoo but unfortunately that means there are even more hiding places. It took me about fifteen minutes of patient waiting before he finally slumped against the window... literally two inches from my feet. He had his back up against the glass as if we weren't there. He knew full well that we were, but he didn't care. And no I'm not turning around, he said. Take your damn photo and leave me alone.
The Land of the Lions is nicely styled like the foothills of the Himalayas. But don't ask me where the lions where... I had more luck with the buzzards. And they put the vultures in with the peacocks, which I thought was rather unfair. That's like putting me in a cage with George Clooney.
I've just been sitting here watching a Giant Tortoise that was born in 1940 -- how mad is that? This tortoise witnessed the Blitz! A zookeeper has suddenly entered the enclosure... What's he doing? Get out of there! He's going to get killed! The tortoise is coming straight at him, he's lumbering over... the zookeeper can't shoot it because of the bulletproof armour it's wearing.
The famous Mappin Terrace has got four huge desert mountains at the back and a bit of brush, grassy hills, six pigeons, two emus and a wallaby. But what's going on with this giraffe? It looks like God put a leg where its neck should be. Maybe he just ran out of necks that day and thought sod it, I'll just luzz another leg on there and put some camouflage skin on it so nobody will notice. But then he came to the snakes and what happened? He ran out of legs! He'd used them all up on the bloody giraffes. So he ordered a big batch of spare legs and when he got to the end of Day Seven he still had loads of them left, so he just stuck them all on the millipedes to get rid of them. That's how I think it happened.
If you like bugs (who doesn't like bugs?) then you'll love the Bugs House. This place is full of ants, flies, fleas, crickets, cockroaches... all of the cuddly stuff. All the stuff you'd normally step on. They've also got a little walkthrough section full of spiderwebs, and if you're lucky one of the spiders will drop on your head.
Talking of things that can drop on your head... how about a monkey? They've got an enclosure full of squirrel monkeys playing games around the posts and poles, running and jumping around and chasing each other, whilst you're standing underneath. You can walk amongst some lemurs as well, but don't go inside Rainforest Life with a jumper on for chrissakes because you'll pass out in five seconds. They've got the heat and humidity pumped up so high that your sweat turns into steam. If you can stand the sauna then you'll get up close and personal with some fruit bats, tamarins and sloths. (Now I know why sloths are so slow -- it's too hot to move.)
Butterfly Paradise sounds a bit girly on paper but it's well worth a look. Imagine a big warm tented tunnel full of jungle plants and millions and bazillions of butterflies. They are literally all around you, flitting past your head and hands (you feel like swatting them away). They're so colourful it's as if they've paid some kids to paint them. It's really rather wonderful. Of course, if you swapped the lot for wasps then it would be absolutely terrifying.
They've got a few walkthrough bird exhibits as well. The Blackburn Pavillion is home to their doves and ducks and robins and finches, but the best one is the Snowdon Aviary. The first time people see this gigantic cage they immediately think of that scene in Jurassic Park -- the one where they nearly get pecked to death by pterodactyls. Luckily there are no pterodactyls in here, but they've got some big beaked ibis who don't look too friendly.
What do you think?Please leave a comment
I’ve been here more than once…