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Welsh Mountain Zoo (Colwyn Bay)

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Address: Flagstaff Gardens, Colwyn Bay, LL28 5UY / Roam through the beautiful gardens and learn about the rare and endangered species from Britain and around the world: snow leopards, Sumatran tigers, red pandas and more...

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      20.01.2013 10:28
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      we really like it

      As a family we have visited so many zoos! I'm not sure who loves them most me or my little girl! Whenever we go out for the day we head to the zoo and so have visited lots I think this is my favourite. Below you will see why. Where is it? As the name suggests it's in the Welsh Mountains! It is in Colwyn Bay which is north Wales. It is easy to get to. It is well sign posted from the main road of Colwyn Bay. I wouldn't say that you could walk there though from the town as it is up steep hills and is a bit of a drive away but they do run buses that take you there. We went by car and found it easy to get to. For once my fella and I didn't have a silly argument about instructions! I think if you are having a holiday in North Wales then this is an ideal place to visit, it's in lots of the leaflets about tourist attractions. What can you see This is not a big zoo and I think this is why I like it. Even though it isn't big there are still plenty of animals to see. There are penguins, parrots, alligators, a petting farm area, bears and many more. There are enough animals to keep your children entertained and they are all kept in lovely surroundings. It is built in the hillside/mountains and so as you walk around you are exposed to lots of lovely views. So as well as enjoying seeing animals you can enjoy views and lovely walks. There is quite a lot of walking from one animal to another and some of it is up steep hills we managed it fine with a pushchair but I think you may struggle if you are not very fit. A great day out What is great about this day out is that you can enjoy fresh air, walks, watching animals and seeing beautiful views of the sea. My little girl loved the petting farm area where she was allowed to get close to little goats and lambs. I always like the bear area and my husband, strangely! likes the flamingos! You can spend all day here but not in the same way as you might with Chester Zoo or other big zoos, this is more laid back zoo if you're going to be here all day you will take your time and not spend all day trying to fit everything in. The restaurant area is nice too. Not just your usual fried, simple foods but also some home cooked meals like a roast chicken and a big pasta bake! All nice warming foods if you've been walking around outside all day! It's nice to feel like you've been well fed and the portion sizes are great too! The zoo is very clean. I never once saw any litter and the areas are very well maintained. Lots of staff around and all the pathways are kept so it's easy to walk down them. There are a couple of play areas too my daughter spent ours playing here whilst I sat on a bench with an icecream! Should you visit? I think if you are in the area then you should pay this place a visit. Children will love it, they will get to see lots of animals as well as enjoy some fresh air and the play area. There are some events on too, we saw a sealion show where they got fed which was quite sweet to see! I enjoyed it anyway! You will have nice walks too and it's nice to have some good food at a place like this. It is clean, some of the animals are not in he biggest of cages maybe that is my only criticism. They also host kids parties and things and school trips. A day out here cost us £50 and that included us all to get in, dinner and some icecreams oh and a few items from the gift shop. Definitely well worth the money as we were here a good six hours and came away feeling very happy. We have visited a couple of times in the past too and will definitely be visiting again.

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        16.09.2011 21:13
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        Wonderful

        We recently visited The Welsh Mountain Zoo whilst staying in Chester and we had a wonderful day out! We were pleased with the amount of entertainment they had on throughout the day and also the amount of unspoilt landscapes that were there which you don't tend to get with the bigger zoos. When we came here it was quite a damp day but that didn't stop us from enjoying our time here and we still saw plenty of animals despite the wet weather. I can't remember what the prices were exactly but I do know it was under £10 per adult which I thought was good value as you do tend to be here for a good few hours if not the whole day. You pay on your way in at a little hut which was good, you just stay in the car and wait until your turn so it was better than having to queue on foot with excitable children wanting to just get on and see animals. The zoo is set up in the hills in Colwyn Bay and was easy to get to. It didn't look like there was a zoo there because it all looked so understated and unspoilt. I suppose it is because this zoo is not a huge one like Chester Zoo, instead it's smaller and less over stated which makes it feel so much more intimate. The car park had plenty of spaces even though we went on a Saturday although by th etime we left it looked like it was getting much busier. We had been given a map when we paid and it came in very useful as this place is laid out all over the grounds. The animals are not all one after another instead you have quite a bit of walking to do inbetween them which made it a nicer day out instead of just going from one to the next and not really appreciating it. Instead we would walk from one whilst discussing what we'd just seen and what was coming up next. There were many animals to see my grandchildren particularly liked the penguins! There was a little petting farm where children could touch the animals which was also very entertaining for them! I liked the sea lions and we enjoyed going to a sealion show. There was an ape show too which was amusing although it was raining so we didn't actually sit through the whole thing. The various animals look to be well kept with their cages/pens all being large and in good condition. There are pieces of information on plaques beside the places so that you can read a bit about the animals. This information was only short so it wouldn't bore children although my grandchildren were not really interested in it at all as they are under four so they just wanted to watch the animals themselves. There are sign posts around so you can navigate your way around but the map was most useful. The cafe was very nice with huge windows that overlooked the zoo. It was lovely sitting by the window being able to see so far. The choice of food was varied with there being fresh food available and not just prepacked sandwiches. The toilets were downstairs in this building and a bit gloomy but perfectly fine and functioning. There is a gift shop which sells lots of different things like soft toys and things which my grandchildren were all treated to! We were here for over four hours and I'm sure if it hadn't have been raining we would have spent longer enjoying the walks and views and so I think it was very good value for money. A full day out for less than £10 per adult (children were cheaper although as I say I cannot recall the exact price) with nice food to have at lunch times. I really cannot complain about price at all. It was family friendly as the paths were wide enough for pushchairs and there was plenty of children of different ages to enjoy- just looking at the animals or attending a show... I definitely recommend this place if you are in North Wales. As I say we travelled here from Chester and it was well worth the drive. I had a lovely day here and can imagine on a sunny day it's even better!

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          02.08.2009 16:22
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          A great day out if you're in the area and stuck for something to do. Take a coat though...

          On a recent visit to North Wales to see my girlfriend it was decided that we would visit the local Welsh Mountain Zoo. At £13.20 for 2 student entries, the price was very reasonable with the usual animals on show as well as some more unusual appearances. The twin baby snow leopards are definitely a star attraction as they playfully fight in full view as their mother looks on. Ideal for a family as most enclosures can be viewed by adults and children alike as well as providing some excellent shows including Birds of Prey, Chimps and Sealions, this is a must if you think Chester Zoo is a little too pricey. Easily accessible and with some stunning views as a backdrop to your viewing of the animals I would definitely recommend this as a day out in North Wales. Take a picnic as there are plenty of picnic benches around and also a cafe that overlooks the Lion enclosure.

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          20.07.2009 00:41

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          As a frequent visitor to Chester zoo, for a change we decided to visit Colwyn Bay mountain zoo. We all enjoyed it except for a couple of really irritating things. The first was the live and exceedingly loud commentary! We could hear it all over the zoo. It ruined the day as we heard all about the lives of birds of prey and the antics of the sealions when we were visiting the rest of the zoo. This must be very unsettling for the animals. I was not impressed by the 'training' of the sealions as they were fed, who would not normally perform in the wild. Unlike at Chester zoo, I find amimal welfare here second to entertainment and for these reasons think very carefully about visiting again.

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          30.05.2009 16:46
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          Well worth a visit.

          As I live in Wales the Welsh Mountain Zoo has been a hot favourite day out for all the family. It is located in Colwyn Bay and is very easy to find because of all the signposts. It has a large car park and the car can be accessed throughout the day so you don't have to carry loads of things around with you. There are two cafes, although the one above the sealion enclosure is hard to get to with a double buggy and there is no room inside for buggies so they have to be left outside. I therefore take sandwiches and we tend to eat at one of the picnic tables or have a picnic. Also the access to the shop is also too narrow for a double buggy. Having said that the displays at the sea lion enclosure and the monkey house are definitely worth seeing. It is a lovely leisurely walk around the zoo and with the usual animals on show and all animals are easily seen by all family members of any age. The staff are very friendly and cooperative and are willing to answer questions on the animals. A great day out but superb if the weather is good because of the magnificant views. The zoo is very easy to find, we just followed the A55 coast road towards Colwyn Bay, once near the Colwyn Bay turn off there are clear brown signs indicating where to go to get to the zoo. For Sat-Nav users the postcode is LL28 5UY. The zoo is open all year round from March to October 9.30am to 5.00pm and November to February 9.30am to 4.00pm. It is only appears to be closed over Christmas. Charges: Adults £7.75 Children 3 to under 16 £5.50 Children under 3 free Senior Citizens £6.60 Family ticket £23.40 for 2 adults and 2 children. Apart from the animals there are 2 play areas one is an adventure park with scramble nets and climbing frames etc the other is for smaller children and has swings and slides. There are two sets of toilets, one by the car park and the other which has disabled access by the chimpanzee enclosure all are clearly signposted. There is also baby changing facilities next to the Trading Post. This is not signposted and I had to ask a park assistant where it was. To summarize: its a great day out if the sun is shining, access to some areas is difficult due to the location. Not as many animals as Chester Zoo.

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            15.04.2009 08:07
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            Well worth a visit, the kids will love it.

            The Welsh Mountain Zoo is located above the town of Colwyn Bay in North Wales, and has a beautiful location. The zoo is set in woodland, with wonderfully maintained gardens covering 37 acres. These gardens hold some very rare and endangered plants; the zoo sees itself as a conservation organisation for flora as well as fauna. The zoo's position high above the town, gives it commanding and panoramic views across Liverpool Bay. Several of the many picnic areas scattered across the grounds have fantastic sea views to enjoy whilst eating or resting. The zoo is small compared to, say, Chester Zoo, but it has a varied and interesting collection of animals. The zoo, as with most modern zoos, considers its main aim to be conservation, with education, scientific study, and recreation, as secondary goals. In meeting this aim, the zoo plays an active part in many breeding programmes for endangered animals. The Przewalski's Horse, for example, was extinct in the wild until 1992, with the only populations of this lovely animal existing in zoos across the world. Reintroduction to the wild was only possible due to the efforts of a captive breeding programme. Closer to home, the zoo is involved in the British breeding programme for native red squirrels. With its location nestled within woodland, visibility from one area to the next can be limited. Each exhibit is connected with paths through the trees, which makes exploring the zoo more of an adventure than simply following a concrete path. It was interesting just seeing 'what's around the next corner'. I would say that, however, in order to see everything you want to, a map of the zoo (provided at reception) is invaluable. For a visitor used to seeing a large zoo, the animal enclosures may appear small. I think that this is partially compensated by most of the animals being small or sedentary, needing little space. However, I was disappointed with one enclosure in particular. My delight at seeing the magnificent snow leopards (an animal I've always wanted to see) so close, was tempered with unease that perhaps these big cats did not have enough room. One of the Welsh Mountain Zoo's specialities is its native wildlife. Brown bears are extinct in Britain, so the zoo is one of the few places to see these big animals. Golden eagles and polecats still live in this country but can be difficult to get close to. Again, the zoo gives people a chance to see these charismatic creatures close up (although seeing an eagle in a cage did not look natural). The zoo hit the headlines in 2006 for the wrong reasons; a local yob took one of the rabbits from the petting section, inconveniently located next to the reptile house, and fed it to one of the Mississippi Alligators, in front of a group of distraught children. Luckily the lad concerned was caught and prosecuted, but the zoo must take some responsibility due to the proximity of the alligator pen and the ease of access to these large reptiles (there's just a three foot fence with no ceiling in the enclosure). Another of the zoo's attractions deserves a special mention. The sea lion pool allows visitors to get really close to these surprisingly large animals. The keepers also feed the sea lions and make them do simple tricks which they seem to enjoy. This is located close to the entrance and makes a great starting point. The zoo's facilities are very good for a small attraction. There's two café's, one of which is located right above the Sumatran Tiger enclosure (hopefully it won't put too many people off their lunch, watching a large tiger tearing into a hunk of dead meat!). The food is good rather than brilliant, but prices are ok. There's also the obligatory gift shop where all sorts of animal related items can be bought as a souvenir or present. There's also a large well stocked play area. This has the longest slide I've ever seen outside of a theme park (my two nieces loved it!). This allows the adults to have a rest whilst the kids go mad. One thing to note, however, is that the play area is on two levels. Once a child goes down the long slide, he or she will be out of sight of the upper level. When I visited, we had two adults in our party so this was not a problem. The zoo's entrance fee is reasonable. Adults pay £8.95, children £6.60, with a family ticket costing £28.25. Overall, I can recommend the Welsh Mountain Zoo as a place to visit for a nice day out. The zoo holds some very rare and beautiful animals and its location means that it is lovely to simply walk around and for the kids to explore.

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              06.09.2008 15:16
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              Perfect for families and couples alike

              Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay makes for a fantastic family day out. This was the first zoo that we took our son to and although he was still very young he seemed to enjoy it very much. We parked up next to the camel enclosure and our little boy's eyes lit up. He cooed out to them and outstretched his arms. In the enclosure were a mother and baby camel. They seemed rather unfazed by our presence. Just off the car park is a cafe and shop, ideal for stocking up on those camera batteries. We stopped off in the cafe to feed our son before we ventured around. The staff were all very polite and the food was great. The zoo is laid out in an easy to follow path with areas to sit and rest as well as information boards for each enclosure. All visitors are also given a guide to the zoo. There is certainly plenty to see, tigers, monkeys, sea lions, flamingo's, parrots, ostriches to name but a few. My personal favourite were the brown bears who seemed very content and playful in a well thought out enclosure. There is also a small farm area which is great for kids who want to get up close. I would recommend this zoo to families and couples alike.

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              03.09.2008 22:18
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              Have visited twice in two years and plan to go back again soon

              Visited here last summer and this July. Was so impressed the first time I had to go back. The location is wonderful, easy to find and offers a large car park. One of the highlights for me both times has been the sealion display, the chimp encounter and the last time was the bird display. The chimp encounter is one not to be missed, it is in a small building built around the glass where the chimps are and it plays a video telling you about them with the speaker there who then feeds the chimps and tells you all about the different ones and their personalities - I think Bob is the name of the chimp who she said seems to be thinking all the time but he looked grumpy to us! The sealion training was wonderful on both occassions and really cant be missed! The underwater view point is worth having a look at after the display to as you get to stand and see them swim right past you. The penguins also has a view point where you will see them swim past you. The bird display was not on last year but this July was amazing. The birds were great, the owl was silent flying over from one lady to the other and the bird of prey they flew did actually try to grab one childs drink bottle - so do actually listen when they tell you to put food/drinks away! The penguins also did a little parade around the ring and all walked within a foot of you and as we were sitting on the ground it was lovely to see them so close up! The playground is good for young and older children, for older ones it has a fairly big slide which goes from the top part of the playground to the other part down the hill! Another animal worth mentioning is the brown bears which you can look at from different view points at the top and along downhill. As well as the alligators and different monkeys. The tiger and other big cats are also a treat to see. So many more animals I have just talked abouy my personal highlights. It is a wonderful day out for all the family. Be prepared for walking up and down hills though but the name should have given that away. There is a restaurant near the entrance just down from the car park which has a good selection and nice views from outside over the zoo. I will be visiting again within the next two years as it is such an enjoyable day out.

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              02.12.2007 12:04
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              Good little zoo in Wales

              The Welsh Mountain Zoo was a very enjoyable day out for everyone! Location WElsh Mountain Zoo is situated on a hill in Colwyn Bay. It is well signposted from the A55 which goes from Chester to Holyhead and is also signed okay on some of the smaller roads.If you do not have a car then a free minibus goes from the station to the zoo. The Zoo is in a lovely setting with the majority of it being woodland and you pay at a kiosk as you enter. Admission prices are currently: Adult£7.95 Child £5.80 Senior Citizens£6.90 Family ticket £24.95 I think these prcies are quite reasonable and are a lot cheaper than most other zoos. We also got money off using some Tesco Vouchers. The Guide Book we bought was Ok but it was mostly about conservation and did not have enough abouyt the animals. Opening times are as follows: March to October-9.30am-5pm November to March 9.30am -4pm Closed Christmas Day ***The animals*** Aah... The most interesting and important bit I can safely tell you that there is a good range of animals who are all housed well. The first thing we decided to do was go on the woodland walk and the paddocks. Our first padddock housed two Ostriches who hillariously when eating kept on putting their necks up to see if anyone was around! After that is a huge and very spacious paddock home to a herd of Fallow Deer and Wild Horses. both are beautiful and you are also treated to wonderful views. After passing some hilarious Mountain goats we then entered the woodland which houses mostly British wildife. The most spectacular were the Golden Eagles who were given a massive aviary as were the scary ravens. We were also lucky enough to see the lovable Pine Marten who has a good sized enclosure hwich is well planted up. Coming back up we were teated to see the fluffy red Pandas in a large enclosure which they shre with Otters who have a big pool. We then met the two absolutely gorgeous Sumtran Tigers who although weren't in the largest enclosure ver it was still well-sized with a nice pool and a lovely little house. We then walked up to the Chimps who are a housed in a sort of colliseum. The chimps have great fun with there length climbing apparatus and toys and you can get close to them with a viewing window. Don't miss Chimp Encounter. It can get busy but it is in a very large thatre and when after a lengthy arguemnt between a Scientist and a Chimp food is put out for the chimps who then come in and eat it-without being forced to! Unfortunatle yonly one came in when we went. As the zoo proclaims it is well and truly Zoonique!!!! We then decided to vist Sealion beach a new update which gave the sealions a more spacious and interesting area as well as providing visitors with underwater viewing-the same happens in the penguin pool! Behind the seals is a nice lake with the absolutely gorgous flamingos. Afte that we saw the snow leopards who were currenlty in quarantine in the former enclosure of the Black Pumas. It's not the biggest but plenty of enrichemnt is provided. After meeting the rheas in there paddock we then moved on to Macaw Walk where a very large and spacious aviary is home to these amazing birds. After this you are now entering what I call the main area. it's a bit wooded again and there are also some very beautiful gardens around this section. The first enclosure is home to a Porcupine and then the second is largish and fun enclosure home to the Polectas-be warned they don't half whiff!phoar! A spaciousrea is home to the Artic Foxes but I have never seen them.Moving along you come to what i call the main lawn-a lovely landscaped area with enclosureshosuign a delightful red Spider Monkey and Gibbons around them both of which have a mple spavce and lots of fun toys to play with! Two Macaws are nearby- and they are not in a cage! In fact they are allowed to roam free but mostly just hop on the branches they are given or sleep in their beer barrel! After that it's time for the houses. first up is the Toroise and Cactus House which is very humid with a nice array of Cactus as well as some old tortoises. next up is the Alligator Housewhich really feels like a Tropical jungle with two Alligators who are kept in a well-sized pool. We then ignored the Childrens faqrm which was just home to a few goats, guineafowls, sheep and Turkeys which children can stroke the animals. After that we ventured into the Reptile House and were not dissapointed as we met a wide array of Snakes, geckos, igunas, Boa Constrictors and Pythins in spacious 'tanks' with lost of water to swim in! After that we went down the other side seeing the large african Aviary before coming to a well-sized paddock home to three Bactarian camels -one of which was a baby! There's also a Seal rescue Centre here but I am not sure if you are allowed access of not to it. deciding to see the new Condor Aviary we were most impressed for the space they were given-it was one of the largest aviaries I have ever seen. we then travelled to bear falls where a resude Brown bear sits in his good sized enclosure which includes a waterfall and pool. He also has an off-viewinfg area which is about the same size as thsi enclosure. Well I think that's just about it. Here are some Bear Essentials for the visit(pardon the pun). Catering The zoo currently has two large cafes. The larger of which is the Safari cafe which has some great views looking down on the Tigers. You can even sit outside on the balcony! The food is a range of hot and cold meals and is reasonably priced. The other cafe overlooks the Humbolt Penguins with some abolutely spectacular views over Colwyn Bay which sells Panninis , Jacket potatoes and Salds. it is called the Flagstaff cafe. Shops Suprisingly there is only one shop in the zoo The Trading Post which is situated next to the Macaw Walk which sells a tteasure trove of goodies with the usual trash like cuddly toys and tubbers but iwth some nice things like t-shirts with tigers on them and a rather lovely mug. It is actaully very reasonably priced. Play areas The Zoo has one major and fantastic area called tarzan trail which has slides, swings, wooden forts, rope bridges and actually works as a sort of a trail. Shows Like many other zoos Welsh Mountain Zoo also has feeding times with the friednly staff who tell you things about the animals. Chimpnazee Encounter is by far the most impressive show I have ever been to at any zoo and there is noe extra charge. My other favorite show is the Birds show in which the keepers give the birds of prey excerise on the lawn and also bring out the lovable penguins onto the grass for their food-although the penguins are more interested in you! There is also a sealion talk which is blended in with a medical check by the Keepers. Disabled and Wheelchair access. Not the best I'm afraid as most of the zoo si very hilly and there are quite a lot of steeps.You could a wheelchair around the major areas but not in the woodland wlak. Parking and dogs. There is a good amount of parking at the zoo with the first car park being a large tarmac one but as we got there rather late(about 12-ish) we were took to an Overflow Car Park which is by the Ostriches. Dogs are not allowed in the zoo for obvious reasons however there is a dog ecercise area in the non-tarmac area of the car park Animal welfare All of the enclosures here are quite spacious with plenty of enrichment for the animals and a very naturalistic feel to the. here are my top five enclosures: All aviaries-Spacious with perches and trees. Bear Falls- Good amount of room with a lovely pool and fountain Chimps-Lots of climbing facilities and interesting. Sealion Beach-nGood sized pool with Underwater veiwing with a nice little rock and biggish beach. Wild horses and deer- HUGE padock. Overview Overall I really enjoyed my trip to Welsh Mountain Zoo. The keepers were freindly, the animals funny with excellent enclosures, brilliant talks and shows, goo d facilities and a lovely setting. oh, and its actaully quite a reasonable rpice. Lovely little zoo-definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. Thanks for reading and hopefully this has been helpful to you, Will

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                03.11.2007 18:14
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                Not the best zoo I have seen but not the worst!

                Last year I saw an article in our local paper saying that the Welsh Mountain Zoo had taken delivery of Snow Leopards! If you have read my review about feeding tigers by hand you will know how much I like the big cats, so we had to go and see them for ourselves! *** Where is it? *** It was easy enough for us to get to as we live in Llandudno which is just down the coast. Basically you just need to head for Colwyn Bay in North Wales and follow the brown signs. The zoo is a few miles inland and is set in the hills behind Colwyn Bay hence the name of the zoo. Between May and September the zoo operates a free minibus service between Colwyn Bay Railway Station and the Welsh Mountain Zoo. We had been a couple of times since we have lived here in Llandudno so we were expecting a good day out. For those of you with satellite navigation the address of the zoo is: Welsh Mountain Zoo Old Highway Colwyn Bay Conwy LL28 5UY *** When is it open? *** It is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. From March to October it is open between 9.30am and 5pm and between November and February it is open from 9.30am until 4pm. *** How much does it cost? *** The cost of admission was £7.75 each for Dave and me, but mom got in for free as she has to be in a wheelchair as she can't walk further than a few yards these days. Children under 3 get in free, children between 3 and 15 and students with an NUS card all get in for £5.50 and senior citizens pay £6.60. You could also get a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children for £23.40. There is also information about group bookings on the website. http://www.welshmountainzoo.org/ You can hire wheelchairs and pushchairs free from the zoo office. *** What are the facilities like? *** The coach and car park is situated in the centre of the zoo so it is easy to get back to your car to drop or collect things or to pick up your picnic at lunchtime. There are two eateries, on is overlooking the chimpanzee enclosure and the other has a viewing platform overlooking the Sumatran Tigers. I have to admit that in my three visits I have not yet seen the one by the chimpanzees open! The other one however is a nice big, airy café selling main meals, snacks, drinks and cakes at reasonable prices. There are also plenty of places around the zoo to have a picnic. There is a zoo shop called the Trading Post next to the car park selling all sorts of souvenirs from cuddly animals to pencils and backpacks to badges. Ask at the trading Post or the Zoo Office for Lost Property and First Aid. There are two sets of toilets - one near the Trading Post and the other (with disabled access) near the chimpanzee enclosure. There are two playgrounds for the youngsters (I use the term loosely as Dave and I had a go on the see-saw! I haven't been on one for years!) One is an adventure playground with swings and slides set into the side of the hill and the other is more like an assault course with scramble nets and climbing equipment of all kinds. *** Can I take the dog? *** Dogs are allowed in the zoo and may be exercised in the non tarmac area of the Car Park only, providing that this is done in a reasonable manner and the dog is kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are not permitted anywhere else in the zoo as they may endanger or frighten the animals. *** Animal Adoption *** There is a scheme at the zoo whereby you can adopt part or all of an animal by contributing in units of £25. For this you get your name on a plaque outside the animal's cage, complimentary tickets to the zoo, the chance to have a chat with the keeper of the animal that you adopt (by prior arrangement) and a certificate to hang on your wall. After or first visit to the zoo in 2002 I part adopted a Sumatran Tiger on behalf of myself and my Goddaughter, Rosie. But the zoo misses a great opportunity to make some extra cash as they don't get in touch with the 'zoo parents' when the adoption year is up to ask if they would like to continue their support. OK that's pretty much set the scene as regards getting there, parking, eating and peeing so lets get down to the really important information. *** What animals have they got? *** Well the reason that we wanted to go to the zoo was mainly because they have taken delivery of a pair of Snow Leopards, one from a zoo in Estonia and one from a zoo in Hungary. They have been selected as a potential breeding pair forming part of a conservation programme. Sadly, when we went, they were still in quarantine and in two separate enclosures. We saw one of them right at the back of the enclosure just lying down and that was that! The two enclosures that have been used for the Snow Leopards used to belong to Persian Leopards and Black Leopards all of which have now gone. I was rather disappointed by this as I love the big cats! We moved from the Snow Leopards to the Common Rheas which are a smaller version of ostriches and were very curious about us! They went into their 'house' and peered out through the windows at us - I wondered who was watching who! The next stop was Chimpanzee World where we had to go up the slope towards the restaurant to be able to get a view down into the chimp enclosure without having to try and negotiate steps with the wheelchair. There is a group of about 14 Chimpanzees at the zoo covering a range of ages. They are great fun to watch, especially the smaller ones who behave just like naughty children. The first time we visited the zoo was in the autumn and the chimps were indoors. There is a small theatre like structure where you can sit and watch the Chimpanzees through a huge window when they are indoors and that was great fun, but this time they were all outside in the sunshine. From here we moved along to the Humboldt Penguins. There were only 5 that we could see although I was sure that there were more the last time we visited. They have got a small enclosure with a deep pool. Viewing is from the top of the path of the grass, rocks and water surface or from the bottom of the path through the glass wall of the pool where you can watch these graceful little chaps whizzing through the water. The things got a little difficult as the structured path ran out so it was 'cross terrain' with the wheelchair! It's a good job Dave and I are strong enough to push! Incidentally at this part of the park the views down across Colwyn Bay are fantastic. The next enclosure housed a pair of Ostriches, looking a bit scruffy as they were mid moult, but apart from that they were fun as they kept peering at us in much the same way as the Rheas had. By this time we were back on the path although it was pretty rough and pushing was still difficult! The next paddock should have housed Wild Horses and Fallow Deer but we couldn't see any. We then moved round to the Flamingo pool, going round the back of the pool to keep to the path because of the wheelchair. There were about 30 or so in the flock and they were beautiful. Then it was round to Sealions Rock. This is the new Sealion enclosure that has been built in the last couple of years. They previously had a small pool with a few rocks but after some serious fund raising a new pool has been built with a viewing platform at the level of the surface of the water plus viewing points with benches at the side of the pool where there are glass panels to enable the visitors to view the Sealions as they swim underwater. This was really interesting and we sat watching them for some time. We then walked along Macaw Walk and back to where we started from. There were about a dozen Macaws in the long cage and they were receiving regular visits from both sparrows and chaffinches who were drawn to the surplus food in the cage. We paused awhile at this point for a snack and a drink from the café (which was very nice) and to take a look at the Sumatran Tigers from the viewing platform. We could only see one and he was asleep on his flat rock. After our snack we set off for the woodland walk. Again this is not wheelchair friendly as there are numerous steps in places but we managed and came across the cages for Red Squirrels and Pine Martens neither of which appeared to be occupied. On previous visits we had stood watching both these sets of animals for some time but this time the cages looked overgrown with no animals in sight. We headed back through the woods to the main part of the zoo but unfortunately came to a flight of steps. It would have been useful to have some signs to tell us whether a path would be OK for a wheelchair or not. As it happens mom can walk a little way and this flight of steps was relatively shallow so she got out and we walked slowly up the steps. The steps were actually at the back of the Sumatran Tiger enclosure and the one was still asleep on his rock but the other was pacing backwards and forwards (an action which always bothers me in a zoo) along the back of the enclosure so we were able to get a good look at him. At the top of the steps mom climbed thankfully back into her wheelchair and we walked past the adventure playgrounds back to where we had started again. This time we set off towards the Brown Bear enclosure. Although I had been to the zoo on two previous occasions I had not yet seen the Brown Bear. The first time he was hibernating and heaven knows where he was the second time! This time he was out snuffling around his enclosure. He is a bear that has been rescued after being taught to dance on hot coals and then almost being sold to a Mafia boss as a status symbol. He looks very happy now he's here in Wales! We moved on from there to see the Red Pandas which were very cute and allegedly shared their enclosure with the Asian Short Clawed Otters which were nowhere to be seen! There were also one or two birds of prey in this part of the zoo but not as many as I was expecting. Then it was round to the Marmosets and Tamarins. These had a lovely little enclosure and house with viewing window and we stood and watched them running and climbing for some time. Last time we went to this zoo there was a cage housing a Geoffrey's Cat which is about the size of a lynx somewhere in this part of the zoo but he had obviously gone as he was nowhere to be seen which I was disappointed about as I do like the cats! The Arctic Foxes were also supposed to be round here too but their enclosure also appeared to be empty. We made our way to the children's farm which was quite interesting with goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and a rather noisy cockerel that had his eye on a female who wasn't returning his advances! So there weren't as many animals here as I thought there might be. Alligator Beach is opposite the farm and is a large, very warm and humid shed housing two huge Alligators who always seem to be asleep. I say seem to be because there was an incident at the zoo about twelve months ago when some yob picked up one of the rabbits from the children's farm and threw it to the Alligators! They were obviously awake that day as they promptly ate it and the yob was arrested and charged. We walked back towards the car park via the Gibbons who were happily swinging around their cage. There were also more cages which appeared to be empty here. The final enclosure that we passed had a Bactrian Camel sitting in it. There was supposed to be a baby Bactrian Camel that had been born on 16th February 2006 but where he was I have no idea! As we returned to the centre of the zoo we realised that the Chimpanzee display was about to start in the viewing arena of their enclosure so we headed over for this. We stood at the back of the room as we had the wheelchair and listened (as best we could over the noise of talking) to someone telling us about the Chimpanzees and then the curtains opened to reveal the Chimpanzees which had been brought indoors and were just sitting there looking as though they would rather be outside playing! So that was pretty boring and we left before the 'display' had finished. There is a list of feeding times for animals such as the Humboldt Penguins and Sealions which can be found in the map that you are given as you enter the zoo so that you can go and watch if you wish to but we didn't bother with these. That was that - we were back to the central car park for the final time. We had a quick wander round the shop and then headed home. *** Final Thoughts *** I was glad to see the Snow Leopard even if he didn't actually move! The new Sealion pool is excellent and the Brown Bear is lovely, but generally we were all disappointed with the visit to the zoo. Some of the cages needed a good clear out so that the animals, if they were still there, could be seen by the public and the wheelchair access desperately needs to be sorted out. All in all I would say that this isn't really good value for money and next time we fancy a trip to the zoo we intend to take a ride to Chester Zoo and see what that one's like!

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