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The Superb Blackpool Zoo – Get CLOSE to the Animals

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Nature3 Comments

Yesterday a good friend, her son, two of his friends and I went to Blackpool Zoo. It was raining heavily, but we didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits.

Blackpool Zoo is a superb Zoo, I can’t believe I’ve never visited it before. It is the perfect size, allowing you to see everything in a day at a stroll.

Blackpool Zoo has all the animals you’d expect in a Zoo (plus a few more) and you can get really close to them. The animals look happy and well looked after. Here are some photos from the day, along with my comments, click any photo to see the full size:

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The Elephants – Indoors sheltering themselves from the rain.

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The camels didn’t seem to mind the rain or the temperature that was significantly lower than their natural environment.

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Blackpool Zoo has Amazonia an exhibit where you can walk freely in an enclosure with monkeys and other wildlife from South America. It transports you into a rain forest like environment and is where we saw these cheeky little monkeys.

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I saw these gorgeous pink birds and just had to take a photo.

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A white wallaby. I’ve never seen a wallaby in real life, they’re so cute.

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The kangaroos were all taking shelter from the rain. The first time I’ve seen kangaroos. I don’t blame them for taking shelter from the rain, it was bucketing down at that point.

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Sea Lions. The photo was a lucky shot, as they were weaving around and in and out of each other quite quickly. As if they were doing some sort of intricate and improvised dance in the water.

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A giant in the Orangutan world – just look at the size of his face, never mind the rest of him.

I am particularly proud of this awesome photo:

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This photo of a penguin is most probably the best photo I’ve ever taken. The penguin was swimming at great speed, although you wouldn’t have guested. I looked at this photo when I got home and it looks like it was taken by a professional. A total fluke.

Here’s even more photos:

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Blackpool Zoo even has an exhibit of Farm Animals. These animals included two Shetland ponies, goats, donkeys, pigs and sheep (photo is of one of the sheep).

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A pair of attention seeking otters. Wonderfully fun, playful and liked to upstage one another. I love the spirit of these animals.

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Look how close we got to this tiger at Blackpool Zoo. In Chester Zoo I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tiger, let alone been able to get close enough to appreciate its stripy beauty.

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Another of the beautiful tiger. Blackpool Zoo have two tigers from what we saw. The tiger is more than slightly moist because of the rain.

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Lion: *yawn*
Me: I totally understand how you feel. I’ve walked around Blackpool Zoo all day.

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This is how close we got to a Lion. Able to look in its eye and see the intelligence, along with the hunter instinct. He appeared to be eyeing us up as a snack. Blackpool Zoo had two male Lions living in the enclosure together from what I saw. They seemed pretty well bonded and one went and groomed the other while we watched.

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Quickly becoming my favourite animal, the giraffes. What I love about giraffes is that every time I’ve politely called over to one (in different Zoos I might add), they come over. They look at me with their big black eyes and some times, if I’m really lucky, they let me take a photo before they walk off.

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Another photo of the giraffes. I had politely called out to the one in the foreground.

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Essential Info

  • Parking: There is an onsite car park, with overflow parking. It is charged reasonably at £2.50 for the day.
  • Opening Times: Vary throughout the year, click here to see opening times.
  • Admission Prices: Vary throughout the year, but are cheaper if you buy them online.
  • Facilities: Toilets, two gift shops, a cafe, a Starbucks Coffee at the entrance, a small train that takes passengers (for a charge) from one end of the Zoo to the other, an indoor children’s play area (separate to Zoo and doesn’t require Zoo entry), experience days.

Chester Zoo VS Blackpool Zoo
I couldn’t help but compare my many visits to Chester Zoo with my experience in Blackpool Zoo. Chester Zoo could learn a few lessons from Blackpool Zoo including:

  • Have more of the bigger and more popular animals. Chester Zoo’s selection of big and popular animals is pitiful when compared with Blackpool Zoo.
  • Ensure good viewing opportunities for visitors in enclosures. Blackpool Zoo have done this really well. It makes visitors feel that they can get really close to the animals. Chester Zoo hasn’t got this right.
  • Make it realistic to visit everywhere in the Zoo in one day. Currently to see everything in Chester Zoo you need about a day and a half of rushing around.

We had a brilliant time at Blackpool Zoo and I would highly recommend it to you all.

Blog soon,

Antony



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Chester Zoo with Jayne

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Nature2 Comments

On Monday, my good friend Jayne and I visited to Chester Zoo. The weather was glorious, sunshine, temperatures 30+ °C and not a cloud in the sky. It was so warm that Jayne and I were grateful for Chester Zoo’s unlimited refillable drinks cups for sale at around £10 each.

Jayne hadn’t been to Chester Zoo for years. These days Chester Zoo is massive and I’d recommend that you do visit the zoo over two days to see everything.

Here are photos from the day, click on any photo for full size image:

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The elephant family.

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A close up of the baby elephant.

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The smiley bull elephant.

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Exotic squirrels.

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An exotic squirrel eating a grape upside down.

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My new lover! He’s the strong, wooden, silent type.

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Deer.

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Butterfly (1).

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Butterfly (2).

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An Okapi.

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The Giraffes.

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This gorgeous beauty came to say hello and flirted with me (by winking with her big eye and long eyelashes) when I said ‘Hello Gorgeous.’ to her as she passed by.

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My gorgeous giraffe at a distance.

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The pink flamingos.

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The penguins (1).

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The penguins (2).

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A rhino.

Essential Info

  • A massive zoo with a variety of animals.
  • Opening Times: See opening times here.
  • Admission Prices: See admission prices here.
  • Parking: Ample free parking.
  • Facilities: toilets, restaurants, refreshment stalls, gift shops, experience days.

Chester Zoo is a brilliant day out. It was great to see volunteers around the zoo.

However it’s a large zoo with not enough big animals. Jayne and I saw quite a number of empty enclosures for larger animals. They should put better signage up on the Islands Exhibit to direct visitors back to the main part of the zoo.

The zoo is so huge now, that they really should consider transportation methods in the zoo. The monorail is too limited. Perhaps they could look at golf buggies for hire or something similar. This would enable visitors to get around and see the whole zoo in one day.

Write soon,

Antony

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Did You Know? (Part 5 – Animals)

By The WebNo Comments
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Did You Know?

This is the fifth in a series of Did You Know? blog posts. Each blog post will gives fascinating facts on a particular topic. In part 1 the topic was science. In part 2 the topic was history. In part 3 the topic was geography. In part 4 the topics were art & music.

Today, I give you ten facts about Animals:

1. Cats domesticated themselves around 10,000 years ago. Dogs are thought to be the first animal domesticated by humans also around 10,000 years ago.

2. Elephants have the longest gestation period among mammals lasting nearly 2 years. However the spiny dogfish shark gestation period tops the elephant at 3.5 years, as does the black alpine salamander with a gestation period of 2-3 years.

3. Animals with the shortest gestation period include: koala (34-36 days), squirrel (about 40 days) and a number of animals that have a 60-62 day gestation period.

4. The largest bat colony is believed to have 20m bats and is in Bracken Cave, Texas, USA.

5. Bees taste with their feet.

6. Octopi each have 9 brains, 3 hearts, blue blood and are about 90% muscle.

7. Dolphins can sleep half a brain at a time, meaning they can be active for 15 or more days.

8. Seahorse males carry fertilised eggs and give birth to hundreds of baby seahorses per time.

9. Ants never sleep and don’t have lungs. There are 1 million ants for every 1 human in the world.

10. Flamingos can only eat when their head is upside down.

Write soon,

Antony

References
The Nest – How Long Have Dogs & Cats Been Domesticated?
Mother Nature Network – 12 animals with the longest gestation period
Info.com – Which mammals have the shortest and longest gestation periods?
BuzzFeed – 47 Surprising Facts About Animals
The Daily Catch – An Octopus has 3 Hearts, 9 Brains & Blue Blood
List 25 – 25 Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About Animals
The Fact Site – 300 Random Animal Facts

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A Day Trip to Chester Zoo

By Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, NatureNo Comments

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Chester Zoo Invite To Friends

On Saturday some good friends and I visited Chester Zoo. It was a belated birthday celebration event. It was lovely to see the friends and the Watts family that came along. I was super excited to see the new Islands Exhibit.

The day before I got this email below, telling me about the return of the dinosaurs. Last time I visited Chester Zoo was 4 years ago, when the dinosaurs were last there.

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The day before I got this email about the return of the Dinosaurs, on the very day of our visit. I love dinosaurs! Yey!

I love the dinosaurs and had no idea that they were even coming back. That’s lucky I immediately thought and then remembered that I’d recently burned the Hot Damn candle created by Dorothy Morrison (for more info on this see Dorothy Morrison’s Wickedly Wonderful Magical Mystery Packages). This isn’t the only lucky thing that’s happened to me recently, but that as they say: is another story.

Here are some photos from the day trip to Chester Zoo:

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Islands Exhibit Sign

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Islands Exhibit – Was well designed but lacked good signage to direct visitors.

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Islands Exhibit – Mask with smoke.

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Me in a makeshift tent on the Islands Exhibit.

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Islands Exhibit- Hogs (1).

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Islands Exhibit- Hogs (2).

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A ginormous exotic plant.

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The Elephants.

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A Donkey.

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The best photo of the day – a butterfly in the Butterfly House.

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The Giraffes (1).

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The Giraffes (2).

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The Chimpanzees (1).

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The Chimpanzees (2).

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Turtles having a Mother’s Meeting.

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The Flamingos.

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Dinosaurs have returned! The dinosaurs and display were exactly same as we saw 4 years ago.

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Lioness.

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Lion.

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Penguins.

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Fountain.

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I finally got a photo of the Speckled Bear (1). I tried last time I visited the zoo (4 years ago), but the bear walked off and went behind a bush before I could get a photo.

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Speckled Bear (2).

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Black Rhino (1).

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Black Rhino (2).

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Black Rhino (3).

In 2011 the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct in the wild. According to Chester Zoo’s website there are only 500 Eastern Black Rhinos left in the wild.

I was fortunate to see and watch an Eastern Black Rhino majestically eating. As I watched and videoed I reflected the sad realisation that generations to come might never see Black Rhinos alive. Nor will they see the thousands of animals that are already extinct. I reflected on the cruelty of human poachers. Poachers have hunted Black Rhinos close to extinction, hunting them for their horns and for sport.

Here is an edited video of an Eastern Black Rhino’s eating:

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Write soon,

Antony

Edited 30/05/16 @ 15:25 – Changed information about Black Rhinos. There are two subspecies of Black Rhino, the Western Black Rhino and the Eastern Black Rhino.

The Western Black Rhino that has been declared extinct in the wild and there are only a few left in captivity, all of which are the same gender, so they will be unable to breed.

Chester Zoo has the Eastern Black Rhinos. There are only 500 Eastern Black Rhinos left in the wild and a good number in Zoos around the world.

The post above has been changed to reflect this fact checked information.



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