The extra bits...(Under construction).

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Chester Zoo, The Islands, first impressions....

     A day off from domestic and garden duties today as George took the day off work and we toddled off to Chester Zoological Gardens with a view to the highly talked about 'Island at Chester Zoo' project which has not long opened. Boasting the Monsoon rain forest attraction within the UK's largest zoo exhibit and a selection of flora & fauna from the eastern isles, including large crocodiles to boot it was an attraction we'd looked forward to since hearing about the first plans for it. With visions of a lush rain forest teaming with wildlife and well designed areas to give the feel that the larger animals were not caged we headed for the new exhibits with perhaps a slight spring in our step, and can we recommend this new part of the zoo to others? errrr no, I'm afraid not.

     No don't get me wrong it is obvious that a lot of work has gone into this project but one cannot help but feel that there is somehow something missing, it is as if that it has been rushed at the last so as not to lose out on this years summer holiday rush of whinging, crying and generally miss-behaving children, it just feels that an opportunity to make a real statement for flora and fauna that would enchant adults and children alike for generations to coming and wake them up to a world that, until now, was not 'real' for them. It has an unfinished feel to it and the planting does not 'blend' or feel 'lush' as you feel a rain forest should. Perhaps I am being over critical but I can only say how I perceived the Islands and I felt disappointed to say the least. There are displays to represent a 'local' village, fishing beaches, temples and the like which seem unnecessary and to be honest detract from what the zoo is about such as conservation, raising awareness of the impact we as a species are having and getting people involved with wildlife and respecting its importance to our survival from an early age.

      In time the planting will mature and perhaps as well the introduction of more species and animals will take place. And also perhaps the tacky 'this is how people live on the islands' displays will make way for more appropriate attractions to enthrall and capture our imaginations. I sincerely hope so...

A promising view but it lacked a lushness and vibrancy you'd expect.

And this helps education about conservation how?

     As for the rest of the zoo? Absolutely bloody enchanting as ever. For a start off there is a 6 day old Asian elephant, now that is enchanting and shows real commitment to conservation...

     As well as the new baby elephant there have been three recent births for the Giraffes...

     But Chester Zoo also helps local wildlife with many projects, educational and hands on, taking place. One visible sign of this are the wild flower meadows that are springing up on what were grassed areas around the zoo...

How I would love the area beneath me cider trees to look..

    The old tropical house is still enchanting and the way it wraps itself around your senses puts the new exhibit to shame...

         It is not just the animals though that draw the both of us to Chester Zoo, there are areas within its gardens that just insist you sit awhile and forget about the world for a short time. I can only dream that Compromise Garden would ever be as peaceful as this...

     Of course there are many areas to wander through and animals to see which can delight and enthrall, here is just a few....

      So perhaps it could have been a disappointing visit but for George and myself but it was a lovely day, yes the Islands were a big let down but in time they may mature into something enchanting but, for now, the rest of the zoo is still well worth a visit.

Till the next time take care,



  1. Some lovely photos
    Chris took me to he zoo last year for my birthday and generally i was dreadfully disappointed
    I remember the zoo from the 1970s
    Now it looks too themed

    1. I tend to agree John, somehow they are missing something and it is less magical than it should be.

  2. Hello John.
    I appreciate what you have said about Chester Zoo and the islands when looked at through mature eyes.
    Yet I suggest to you: that in seeing those boats etc the imagination of children is fired up and the knowledge more easily retained because of the setting ?

    Your wonderful photos are greatly appreciated John.

  3. Great photos John. Zoo's don't be so popular these days. I always liked Belle Vue in Manchester (no more) and Chester. Knowsley Safari Park was good also.

  4. I've not been to Chester Zoo since I was a child and can't remember what it was like that long ago.
    It's a pity that it is lacking somehow now but I think your photos are wonderful! You have a real talent John.

  5. Still lots of good stuff to photo. Zoo's are fun.

  6. I love the photo of the hiding toadie the best!

  7. Such wonderful, vibrant photographs, John, thank you for sharing them.

  8. Wonderful photos John - your camera certainly wasn't damaged by the fall! Haven't been to Chester Zoo since I was at school although I did watch the tv series on how it had come into being which I rather enjoyed and then read the book! Shame about the Islands not living up to expectations but there are certainly lots of lovely areas there :)

  9. Lovely John, Thanks for sharing. You have a gift.


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