Friday 14 June 2019

Watch Out! There's Brickosaurs About at Marwell Zoo!

One thing we have both been dying to do with Joshua is going to a zoo but we wanted to hang on until he'd appreciate it and be able to recognise what we were pointing out. We have a wonderful zoo near us called Marwell Zoo and as it's dubbed as one of the best days out in Hampshire, that's exactly where we headed during Arran's week of annual leave.

Marwell Zoo invited us to experience their all-new and interactive expedition which is on until 1st September. Brickosaurs is an interactive experience featuring more than two million LEGO® bricks so it's sure to excite children and adults of all ages. 

There's a free Brickosaurs trail map so you can hunt down all of the pesky dinosaurs that are traipsing around the zoo including the largest touring LEGO® brick dinosaur ever made, an eight-meter tall Tyrannosaurus rex! As well as the Brickosaurs trail, be sure to head to Base Camp for plenty of photo opportunities, brick pits and the Bricksaurs shop where you can pick up a little dino friend to take home with you.

During the school holidays, you'll also be able to meet legendary Brickosaurs keeper, Brucy Brick. You can find all the times and meeting points on the Marwell Zoo website and if you're really lucky you might even see Spike the Stegosaurus.

He loves a photo opportunity so get practising your best smile! Marwell Zoo is known for their wonderful family fun activities and this was no different, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The 140-acre zoo was opened in 1972 and is home to over 1200 animals of 135 species. It's somewhere I've visited since I was veryyyy small, I have very fond memories of the zoo so being able to take our son there was quite special. Thankfully he loved it just as much as we did and giraffe has quickly become his word of the week. 

The zoo is a registered charity so any support is greatly appreciated to enable them to do the valuable work that they do. Their mission is to conserve biodiversity both locally and internationally as well as bringing to life conservation educational programmes for thousands all while welcoming half a million visitors every year. I know zoos can be quite a sensitive thing to discuss especially online but having spoken to numerous people at Marwell over the years including when I had a penguin experience at the zoo in 2016, I'm comfortable in my heart supporting Marwell and the work they do for the animals.

I've been to some places where I've felt that animals don't have enough space or they don't look happy but I've never felt like that at Marwell Zoo so that is why I support the zoo however I can. We thoroughly enjoyed our day and are hoping to be back there again in July once the weather has picked up.

We had a perfectly dry day this time around and as soon as we were through the gates, we headed to Penguin Station to board the train which travels along the south side of the zoo. Tickets are £2.50  each with under-threes going free. The train takes you past the capybaras, flamingos, pygmy hippos, white rhinos, Grevy's zebras, scimitar-horned oryx and ostrich then back round to the station. 

It's a great added extra for a zoo day and to rest those little legs. We also saw a pretty angry ostrich having an argument with a zebra, definitely not something you see every day.

After the 15-minute train ride, we grabbed a coffee and a dinosaur cake from Coffee Corner before starting from the south side of the zoo. No matter how many times I go to Marwell, I always seem to miss the top corner where the Red Panda is so I was determined to go backwards around and we still managed to miss out that area because we bee-lined for the Tropical House then continued round.

One day I will make it there!

We saw wild Brickosaurs, zebras, rhinos, a beautiful snow leopard and deer before heading round to Marwell House for a sit-down and a picnic which was interrupted by hangry ducks. I've never jumped up so fast to stop it from nipping my ankles, all while Joshua is exclaiming duck, duck and quack, quack. After lunch, Joshua fell asleep (for two hours!) so we headed off to the Brickosaur's Base Camp and the Tropical House to see if we could spot the elusive sloth.

The Tropical House was incredible, spanning two levels you are able to come face to face with a huge diversity of wildlife, a mix of stunning tropical plants and flowing waterfalls. Beautiful butterflies dart overhead while birds sing a beautiful song around you. 

The best bit? We saw the sloth! 

The entire exhibit is incredible, there was something to look at on every turn and as you move through the canopy down to the lower level you'll spy pygmy marmosets and an aquarium which is home to 2500 fish. It's really quite special and I wish we'd spent more time in there with my new sloth friend. 

With Joshua asleep we decided to head back round to Marwell House with a drink and sit under the clouds before having a wander round to the big cats. I really wanted to hang on until he woke up to see the giraffes, lemurs and penguins, we just didn't quite expect to be hanging on for so long! When our bambino eventually stirred we were sat in the giraffe house and had been for sometime watching five of the majestic mammals go about their day. 

Joshua loved the giraffes so much more than I thought he would and the new viewing point made all the difference as you could get even closer to them than ever before.

Soon it was penguin o'clock, my favourite! We took Joshua round to the viewing pad and he said penguin unprompted which made me so proud, boy takes after his mother.

As much as Joshua loved the giraffes, the real highlight for him was the road train lead by a huge red tractor! He absolutely adores tractors and stopped to stare in awe every time we saw it, it melted my heart so we had to make sure we hopped on the road train before we went home. His face lit up so it was inevitable that when we went to the gift shop, he chose a tractor to take home with him. 

We had such a wonderful day at Marwell Zoo and I already can't wait to go back, a HUGE thank you to Marwell Zoo for providing us with tickets for the day to experience Bricksaurs and so much more.

You can find out more information on ticket prices and making the most of your day on their website, You can also book online which I've always found the easiest way to book tickets and plan your day at the zoo. 

There's also plenty of information on how you can support the zoo via Support Us by adopting an animal, leaving a donation or by volunteering at the zoo. Just £1.20 can buy a coconut to put a huge smile on a gibbons face and £64.48 would feed the Amur tigers for a week.

Every little bit really does help. 

Brickosaurs is on now until September so be sure to visit until it's too late!

Complimentary tickets for the purpose of review - see disclaimer.
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