Monday, 13 August 2018

Wild Worlds Festival at Chester Zoo - A Review

Chester Zoo is only a ten minute drive away from our home, so it is an attraction that we visit regularly and know well. We have seen the changes that have been implemented over the years as well as watching the zoo expand, with the addition of the Island's habitats that opened in 2015. In recent years the zoo has seen its visitors grow to over 1.9 million guests a year, as well as being recognised for its regular animal care programmes and vital conservation work. Each time we visit, we find that something new has been introduced for guests to enjoy and our recent trip to the zoo was certainly no exception, as we learnt more about their Wild Worlds Festival.


Wild Worlds at Chester Zoo is advertised as being a festival like no other, which celebrates the amazing worlds of plants and animals. It is a unique festival that provides guests with fun experiences, educational insights and exciting events. There are opportunities to enjoy pop up performances which vary from day to day, entertainment shows of music and dance, as well as the chance to learn more and become a poo scientist or even a science rapper!

On arrival we were provided with a Wild Worlds map that showed us where some of the spaces around the zoo had been transformed. The experience began from right outside the main entrance as we looked at the incredible artwork and prints that had been created onto life-size animal backdrops. These pieces of art had fantastic attention to detail and we spent a little bit of time trying to find what other animals we could find hiding within each piece. This area was described as Transitions, which allowed you to get a taste of Wild Worlds prior to entering the Zoo.


As usual Riley took charge of the map and despite only being five years old, he found it easy to follow thanks to the picture designs that indicated where things were. There were no event times listed within the map which we would have liked to help plan our day around them, however this is due to the fact that events vary each day. You can however visit the Wild Worlds website which provides full event details along with dates, locations and times so that you can see exactly what will be available during your visit. The website can be found here: https://wildworlds.chesterzoo.org/

Riley noticed that the first feature we came to was located by the elephants, so we made our way over to the bird symbol which stood for "What the Botanist Saw". These were intimate Victorian-style peep shows that allowed you to take a sneak peek into the plant world. There were three of these located around the zoo and all were clearly identified on the map. As we were near the elephants we also strolled over to take a look and Riley was delighted as he spotted a baby alongside his mum.


As we continued our way around the zoo, we came across this beautiful elephant statue and families were queuing to have their photo taken with it. There were numerous statues located around the park that provided great photo opportunities.


As we made our way over the bridge we passed a rhinocerous and its calf located in a large enclosure. They were both lay by a large hay feeder and fence, so it was too difficult to get a photograph of them, but they were so beautiful just lying there together and it was incredible to be able to see them so close. I believe that on the day of our visit, the calf was only one week old.

Next we came across the camels where we took some time to read the information boards and learn more about these animals. For some reason I had always thought that the humps were used to store water, however I learnt that the humps are in fact fat. We always like to take the time to read some of the information and educate ourselves, so Riley and Emma really enjoyed learning some new facts.


Opposite the camel enclosure were some picnic benches, so we decided to take the opportunity to enjoy our lunch that we had brought with us. This was when Riley then noticed that the next Wild Worlds installation was nearby in the form of The Dormouse Garden. This was a cleverly designed structure consisting of large wooden poles. Located on the exterior of these poles were some small sliding doors that hid a selection of images, sounds and commentary behind them. Riley enjoyed moving all the wooden windows and finding which ones had sleeping dormice behind them.


We continued on our Wild Worlds adventure to the Arthropods area where we were able to take a stroll along Insect Avenue and explore their insect homes. Riley absolutely loved observing all the bug hotels and we particularly liked the bug menu for all the insect guests.


The insect homes had been cleverly designed using numerous items such as plant pots, wood, bricks and sticks and they highlight the many different habitats that appeal to a variety of invertebrates. The pods provide great detail on the type of guests that they attract and why. We were very interested to learn about how different creatures will inhabit these throughout the various seasons and can attract anything from woodlice to bumble bees.



The path continued to the Honey Bee Garden and we saw hundreds of honey bees flying around the area. The Keeper's Hut provided us with plenty of information on these creatures and it was fascinating to see a bee close up through one of the microscope lenses. We were also able to observe bees in an active hive located behind a curtain window and a lovely gentleman spent some time with children, explaining to them as to what was going on inside.


We continued through the Butterfly House and made our way to an open grass space on the opposite side. Here we found a show taking place and we saw families seated all around enjoying the entertainment whilst seated on the lawn.


Our journey around the zoo led us to the penguins where Riley enjoyed watching them play both in and out the water. They swam past the large clear windows and Riley would try and run alongside them. It was lovely seeing them waddle along the outdoor area and then jump into the pool.


Riley noticed another symbol nearby and this was for one of the talking chairs. At first glance it may look like something you would find in the Big Brother Diary room due to its large and eccentric design, but on closer inspection these comfy oversized chairs tell an interesting tale. There were several of these located around the zoo, with each one telling a different story and surrounded by beautiful mini gardens.


One of Riley's favourite areas was the Celebritrees, which put some fantastic tree species right in the spotlight. There were numerous installations located all around that allowed us to view the trees from different angles, feel the trees and also listen to them! He loved running around amongst them and posing in the gold coloured picture frames that helped you obtain the perfect picture.


The last area we visited was the Awekids Grassland Village which provided a mini-sensory safari for all to enjoy. There were plenty of sights and sounds in this audio-visual walkthrough and my daughter Emma particularly enjoyed this area.

In addition to the activities available on the Wild Worlds map, there are a whole host of events taking place throughout the summer with a great rang of entertainment on offer. Chester Zoo is a fantastic day out in itself, so the added addition of the Wild Worlds Festival makes it even more enjoyable. The majority of activities can be enjoyed whatever the weather, so it is definitely worth paying a visit to experience this fun and educational event.


Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic day at Chester Zoo and I would like to thank them for inviting us along to experience their Wild Worlds Festival! There is so much family fun to be had, with activities for guests of all ages. The animals are very well cared for and we were very lucky to see one of the new baby Rhino's that was recently welcomed to the zoo as well as some baby elephants. . We had a really enjoyable day and cannot wait to see Chester Zoo continue to achieve great things in the future.



Important Information

Address - Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1LH (Sat Nav CH2 1EU)

Opening Times - Opening times vary throughout the year and so I would always recommend visiting the Chester Zoo website for the most up to date information prior to visiting. Opening time information can be found here: Opening Times

Entry Price - Prices vary and the most up to date information can be found on the website here: Ticket Prices & Online Booking


Chester Zoo can also be followed on social media and there social media accounts are as follows:

Facebook - Chesterzoo1
Twitter - @ChesterZoo
Instagram - @ChesterZoo
YouTube - OfficialChesterZoo

Disclaimer: We were invited to Chester Zoo as guests to experience the new Wild Worlds Festival. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise. 

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