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Chester Zoo A Chester Trip!

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by ShonenJake13, 18 Jun 2016.

  1. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Ok so currently I'm planning a trip to Chester with a friend of mine (other Zoochatters are welcome along obviously!) but I've never been before. I've looked it up and seen The Secret Life of the Zoo and read other people's thoughts on the zoo on here, but I was wondering whether there's any way we could see the whole zoo in one day, and if so, what route would people recommend? As in depth as you like, we can obviously work out the rest of the route, but an order or highlights would be great, and a detailed one would be ideal!

    Also, in case anyone would like to come along, I think we're maybe going to go between the 16th and the 20th of August. A definite date will be finalised later!
     
  2. SHAVINGTONZOO

    SHAVINGTONZOO Well-Known Member

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    I think it's unlikely you could do it properly in a day.
     
  3. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    We may end up doing it in two, it really depends :)
     
  4. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I think the best idea is to decide on your priorities. Which creatures do you really not want to miss? You may have to leave time for a second look, if they don't oblige first time round. Likewise ask yourself if there is anything you don't mind missing (eg butterflies, monorail, meerkats, bats etc) in case you really can't fit everything in.
    Once you have a firm date, check the website for the presenters' talks to see if any of them really interest you and plan accordingly.
    Remember that the Zoo may be really busy in mid-August, particularly if the weather is good, so a good time to see things may be early (10 to 11.30am) and a better one may be late (4.30 to 6pm - but don't forget that the animal houses close a little before the whole zoo).
    If the zoo is very busy avoid the Bat Cave, RotRA, the Aquarium, the Monsoon Forest and the Islands boat trip, as they tend to have the queues and bottlenecks until the numbers fall. The areas between the Tsavo Aviary and the hunting dogs, and between the onagers and the bush dogs are usually quieter, even at busy times: I often eat my packed lunch in the Tsavo.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 18 Jun 2016
  5. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Ah thanks Alan! You're welcome to come along too if you happen to be available :)
     
  6. BlackRhino78

    BlackRhino78 Well-Known Member

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    Personally I reckon you will be able to get round the whole zoo but the main things to ensure you do are to make sure you get their bang on 10am, plan your route before you go, walk quickly and only take a shortish lunch. I think you'll be fine but I'd defenitely say if you possible go before or after August because the school holidays are a nightmare and will really slow you down a quieter zoo usually means a quicker time around from my experience. The positive of going in August is the extended opening times til around 6pm which in other months you don't get as the zoo tends to close 4:30ish in the winter and Autumn months
     
  7. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Currently I think me and my friend are planning to do it in two days, as I've never been and she's only been once and that was a whistle stop visit. We both want time to go around and see it :) but looking at dates we only have August slots that we can do :/ so it's not ideal but it'll have to do!!
    We may have a July slot as well, but that's highly unlikely. Currently the slots we can do in August are any time between the 7th and 11th August, and the previously suggested slot of between the 16th and 20th. Would either of these be better than the other, or both equally bad?
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Of course you can do it all in a day, but two would be better. The opening of Islands has added a whole new dimension to the place, adding extra visiting time necessary. In Islands alone you could easily spend an hour or more and the distances- big anyway previously, are now even bigger.

    On my recent visit I saw everything I wanted to see, but omitted a few exhibits like the Butterflies, Aquarium(closed), Bat Forest etc but covered pretty much everything else. For a first time visit you are probably better off spreading it over two days if you can.
     
  9. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Route around Chester Zoo Part One [Entrance to Islands]

    Hi ShonenJake13 - I hope you and your friend have a great day [or two] at Chester Zoo. I think you can get around the site in a day, but that is without too much dwell time anywhere and with a good idea of where you are going, so it depends if you want a couple of nice relaxed days or one hectic day (as a new visitor I would opt for the 2 days if you have the means to do so, I always like a collection less if I feel I'm having to rush to see everything). I've attempted to put a general route around the zoo in a way that you will hopefully see everything without too much doubling back. I've also listed any species in bold so you can skim through to find your particular interests. I'll also write this in stages for both my sanity and everybody else's.

    I would arrive at 9:30am if possible, there are a few things to see in the entrance area. Immediately in front you will see the Asian elephant enclosure, and to your right when you walk in there is an enclosure for Common warthog, and beyond that you may see some Eastern black rhinoceros if they are out. To the left of the entrance you can head over to the elephant house, where there is an outdoor aviary with Lady Amherst's pheasants and [if they have been returned yet] Derbyan parakeets. Inside the house there is another aviary [not sure what's in there at the moment, it was getting refurbished recently and can't recall if that is finished] and an enclosure for Belanger's tree shrews. Finally, at the exit to the house is a large fish tank but again not sure what's currently in there.

    Once you enter the main part of the zoo, I would head right and follow the path around Monkey Islands [at this point you will only pass the island for the Lion-tailed macaques] and towards the Tsavo Black Rhino Experience. The waterfowl aviary has just been refurbished but I've not seen it with any species in yet since it was re-done. Next to that is the Tsavo Walkthrough aviary [includes Kenya Crested guineafowl, Von Der Decken's hornbill, Lilac-breasted roller, Superb starling, White-faced whistling duck, African white-backed duck, Hottentot teal, Village weaver, Hamerkop, Red-winged starling, Blacksmith Plover, Brown-breasted barbet and Schalow's turaco [I'm sure there will be some I've missed]. From this you can quickly loop around the path to the right of the on-show rhino house to see the Meerkats and South African porcupines. This then takes you back to the main path where you can pass the crane enclosures [Wattled cranes and Western black crowned cranes [I think]. In with the crowned cranes there are also a pair of Kirk's dik-dik to look out for. If you see the rhinos outside you can miss the house as there's no other species, unless you want to see the enclosure layout/education signs in there.

    Following up from the rhinos, you will come to the entrance of the African wild dog exhibit - the path follows the left-hand boundary of the enclosure for these so you get multiple views of the enclosure throughout. This is a linear path so just follow this along, passing enclosures for Cape rock hyrax at the entrance and Aardvarks at the end. On your left-hand side when you reach the creaky bridge you can see paddocks for the Lesser kudu and Roan antelope.

    When you come out of the wild dogs section, go left. Follow the enclosure for Western sitatunga to the bridge on your right hand side. This bridge takes you over to Islands, but before you head over it may be worth seeing the Grevy's zebra and Scimitar-horned oryx which are just next to the bridge to save you doubling back later after Islands.
     
  10. BlackRhino78

    BlackRhino78 Well-Known Member

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    On a side note I have heard that Chester are looking into and considering a two day ticket in the near future... Which I think is a very good idea
     
  11. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Route around Chester Zoo Part Two [Islands to Bats Bridge]

    Again, Island follows a fairly linear route, but I will briefly touch on this. The path layout means you can take either a shorter route and miss parts or you can take the full route. Currently, the entry to Islands comprises a lot of walking before you reach the first exhibit, but there is some nice theming to bring you into the feel of this newest section.

    As you follow the path over the bridges you will pass the enclosure for Visayan warty pigs and then, further on, you will reach an enclosure for Southern cassowary. Then head over to the Bali Temple Aviary, which is a walkthrough for Bali starling, Java sparrow and Pied imperial pigeon. In a side enclosure here to the left-hand side of the 'temple' there are a pair of Yellow-backed chattering lories. After exiting the aviary, follow the path up past the Javan banteng enclosure and towards the Sumatran tigers. This path will take you through the tiger area and up to Monsoon Forest, passing one of the outdoor enclosures for Sumatran orang-utan and Silvery gibbon along the way. Just before the entrance to Monsoon Forest you'll also pass the outdoor aviary for Javan rhinoceros hornbill.

    Inside Monsoon forest is the indoor section for the hornbills, before heading over to the Tripa Research Station, which has several lower vertebrate species as well as the indoor viewing for the orang-utans and gibbons. Some of the lower vertebrate species here are the Tentacled snakes, Buffalo leeches, Vampire crabs plus several small fish species [Neon green rasbora, Eight-banded barb, Kubota's rasbora, Six-banded barb, Chilli rasbora, Blueline gourami + a few others] and a couple of 'bug' species [Orbweaver spider, Asian mantids etc]. Next you go into the free-flight bird section, with Scissor-billed starlings, Victoria crowned pigeon, Yellow-faced myna, Superb fruit dove, Emerald dove, White-rumped shama, Asian fairy bluebird and I'm sure a few more I'm forgetting at the moment. You come in and out of this walkthrough at a few points.

    Heading along this path will bring you to the vivariums for Green crested lizards and Gariau forest dragons (there may be more in here, again I can't recall sorry - doing this from memory and not visited for a month or so). Next is the indoor enclosure for the Sulawesi crested macaques right by the vivariums. Following the path down you come to another view of the macaques before coming to the above water view of the False gharial. You then go back into the freeflight area. Here you can choose to go into the area with underwater viewing for the False gharial and turtles, but it does get bottlenecked and is one way in and out, so if it is really busy and you can either fight your way in, return later or miss altogether. The turtles in here are the Giant Asian pond turtle and Painted batagurs I seem to recall (sure somebody can correct if wrong). Back in the free-flight section there is an enclosure for Asian brown tortoise and the path then leads you out of the building.

    Upon leaving, you can get views of the outdoor enclosures for the orang-utans and macaques. If you wish to do the boat trip then you could get into the queue from here, but again if it is busy you may want to use the time to see other parts of the zoo and maybe return to this later. On the way to leaving Islands, you will pass enclosures for Lowland anoa and Babirusa.

    Upon leaving Islands, you will find yourself on the opposite edge of the oryx paddock to the entrance, and following the path down slightly you will get to the paddock for Eastern bongo. I would then turn right straight after the exit to Islands, taking you along a path past the Spectacled bears, Capybara and Brazilian tapirs. From here you could do a quick loop around Fruit Bat Forest, which contains Lesser hedgehog tenrecs in the foyer and then in the main section it has free-flight Seba's short-tailed bats and Rodrigues fruit bats. I'm not sure if the Blind cave fish or the Tanzanian whip scorpions are still in side exhibits there, but if they are the fish are in the tunnel and the scorpions are next to the exit.

    Once you've exited Fruit Bat Forest go straight on across the main path and follow the path along the back of the capybara paddock to reach Miniature Monkeys. In the first enclosure there are Coppery tits, Golden-headed lion tamarins and Eastern pygmy marmosets [again, this may have changed] and following the path around, the other enclosure holds Pied tamarins.

    At the exit to Miniature Monkeys, you can nip straight across the path if you didn't spot the dik-dik in with the cranes as they have their own paddock on the left-hand side of the path. If you saw these earlier though you can head right out of Miniature Monkeys and follow the path down past the Monkey Islands. The islands on this side are for Buffy-headed capuchin and Mandrill, before you find yourself back at the island for Lion-tailed macaques. Following this island around will bring you to the entrance of the indoor viewing for Monkey Islands. Going through here you will see indoor enclosures for the Colombian black-faced spider monkeys, the macaques, the mandrills and the capuchins, before heading out again at the other end of the building. Here you will see the enclosure for Indian rhinoceros and Burmese brow-antlered deer, before heading right to the bridge by Fruit Bat Forest. Going over this bridge, you will pass an enclosure for Philippine spotted deer and then over to the enclosures for Northern cheetahs.
     
  12. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Route around Chester Zoo Part Three [Cheetahs to June's Pavilion]

    If you follow the bridge down around the cheetah enclosure and down past the yurt, you will pass enclosures on your right hand side for Black howler monkeys, White-faced saki and Alaotran bamboo lemur, and a paddock on your left hand side for Persian onager and domestic Bactrian camel. Follow this path straight up and past the former 'Condor Cliffs' which now contains Black storks, and towards Butterfly Journey. As well as several species of free flying butterfly in here, there is also an enclosure for Panther chameleon and you can view into the breeding room where you can spot several other invertebrate species, such as Malaysian katydids and Jungle nymphs.

    Upon leaving Butterfly Journey, follow the path up along the canal. You can see into the semi off-show paddocks behind the giraffe house on the other side of the canal here - not sure what is in here but it's usually Okapi in one and Babirusa in the other. Follow this path all the way up to Spirit of the Jaguar.

    By the time you're here then chances are it is well past midday, so if you want to grab something to eat there is a nice selection in the Jaguar Coffee Shop. Even if you're not eating at this point, it's worth popping in as there is a viewing window onto the paddock for Southern pudu. When you go into Spirit of the Jaguar you will see an enclosure in the middle for various smaller fish species, as well as Yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle. Overhead there are ropes and branches for the Linnaeus' two-toed sloth. Going through into the 'rainforest side' you will see the indoor viewing for the Jaguars and an enclosure for Leaf-cutter ants. Upon leaving you can see the outdoor enclosure for the jaguars before heading up towards Realm of the Red Ape.

    In Realm of the Red Ape, you will see several enclosures for the Bornean orang-utans and Lar gibbons. Aside from this, you will see enclosures for Black-naped fruit dove, Green tree monitor, Red-tailed racer, Bell's anglehead lizard, Blue-crowned hanging parrot, Roulroul, Floridian katydid, Jungle nymphs, an Asian mantid species, Reticulated python, Thai water dragon, Superb fruit dove, Timor sparrow and Spiny hill turtles [again, not a comprehensive list I'm afraid, just what I can recall at the moment and things may have changed].

    Upon leaving Realm of the Red Ape, you will see the enclosures for Caribbean flamingos and Chilean flamingos at the bottom of the ramp. On the left-hand side of the ramp there is also an enclosure for Babirusa and Asian small-clawed otters. After viewing these go back past the ramp and around the waterfall enclosure for the orang-utans to reach the aquarium. This has been renovated since my last visit so not sure what the current species on display are in there, but it is straightforward to go around, although the corridors are narrow and if it is busy I would bypass the aquarium and return at a quieter time. At the exit of the aquarium, head back around towards the entrance of the building but go past it to the covered viewing for the Giant otters. You can then follow the path around to the enclosure for Humboldt penguins and towards the Europe on the Edge aviary. This aviary contains, amongst others, Eurasian spoonbill, Northern bald ibis, Eurasian black vulture, Eurasian griffon vulture, Rock doves, Red-billed choughs, White-headed ducks and Red-breasted geese. Follow this aviary around to the right so that you are on the lower ground and then head over to Mongoose Mania, which is an enclosure for Common dwarf mongoose.

    From the mongoose enclosure, head along the right hand side of the Sun bear enclosure and up towards June's Pavilion. I can't recommend the Cheshire Farm ice cream that they serve enough, so I always stop by here to grab one no matter what the weather is doing.
     
  13. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Route around Chester Zoo Part Four [Owls to Dragons in Danger]

    After leaving June's Pavilion, you can visit the Grow Zone if you are interested in horticulture. In one of the greenhouses they have a large selection of cacti, and in the other are more tropical plants including a selection of award winning orchids.

    If you take the path between the grow zone and the toilet block, it will take you up between the owl aviaries. In these aviaries there are Ural owls, Northern hawk owls, Eurasian great grey owls, Brown wood owls and Spectacled owls. Beyond this is the parrot breeding centre, which has Ecuadorian Amazon parrots on-show.

    Coming out of here and following the path around takes you past the paddock for the Persian onager stallion and the waterfowl rearing aviary, towards the Nepalese red panda. You can then go through the Chinese rock garden towards the enclosure for Giant anteaters. Following the path back down from here will take you past the enclosure for Bush dogs and an old aviary for Red-billed blue magpies.

    Next, follow the path down along the Fountain Lawn past the enclosure for Asian lions, and then around to Dragons in Danger. Inside Dragons in Danger, you will be able to see Komodo dragon, Balabac chevrotain, Montserrat oriole, Sumatran laughingthrush, Great argus pheasant, Palawan peacock-pheasant, Visayan tarictic hornbill, Radiated tortoise and Mountain chicken.
     
  14. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Wow Javan Rhino! What an amazing surprise that was coming home from work to find this well thought out and extremely helpful list of directions! I can't thank you enough for this!! I look forward to hearing the rest of the route if there is any! :)
     
    Last edited: 19 Jun 2016
  15. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Route around Chester Zoo Part Five [Forest Zone]

    As a quick aside, you're welcome, I'm glad this has been helpful :) This is the last section now and covers the 'Forest Zone' section of the zoo.

    As you leave Dragons in Danger through the doors by the Fountain Lawn [where you will have gone in], head over to the toilet block on the other side of the path by the stone bridge and go around the right hand side of this. This takes you past a paddock for Congo buffalo and to the Cattle House. It's worth nipping in here in case the Malayan tapirs are inside, and then coming back out onto the main path.

    From there, follow the tapir paddock all the way around to the back of the Cattle House. This will take you past the paddocks for the Okapi and Natal red duiker and to the Rothschild giraffe paddock. Go through the Giraffe House into Secret World of the Okapi, which also houses Gambian pouched rats, Short-eared elephant shrews and Gaboon vipers, along with a few fish species.

    Upon leaving Secret World of the Okapi you will see the Tropical Realm to your right. Along the outside wall to the right of the Tropical Realm doors is a paddock for Red river hog. After viewing these head back to the entrance of the Tropical Realm. The aviary to the left of the entrance houses Sumatran laughingthrush and Salvadori's pheasant.

    Inside, turn immediately left. This path takes you to a dead end, but there are enclosures for Northern tuatara and Parson's chameleon. After viewing these, follow the enclosure for Galapagos giant tortoise around and it will then take you past an enclosure for Radiated tortoise and towards a selection of vivariums. These hold Amazon tree boa, Green and black dart frog, Blue dart frog, Golden mantella, Serrated casquehead iguana, Emerald tree boa, Maranon dart frog, Green crested lizard, Vietnamese box turtle and Northern caiman lizard. You can then head over to the amphibian pod which holds Rubber eel, Sambava tomato frog and Morelet's tree frog, before passing over towards the enclosure for Spectacled caiman.

    From here, you can go up the ramp to the 1st floor aviaries which hold some nice species. At the base of the ramp are signs indicating the free-flight species in here, so it's worth looking at this and trying to spot whatever you can - there are too many to list here so will leave that as I'm bound to make errors. You will initially go past the enclosures for Great Indian hornbill and Javan rhinoceros hornbill and, at the top of the ramp, an aviary for Congo peafowl, White-crested turaco and Snowy-crowned robin-chat. I can't think of everything in the row of aviaries here, but some highlights include Luzon and Mindanao bleeding heart doves, Brazilian tanagers, Pink-headed fruit doves, Green aracari and Lowland Luzon scops owl. Going back on yourself, you can get back down to the caiman enclosure at the base of the ramp and then around past the enclosure next to it for White-winged wood ducks, and then along the row of hornbill aviaries. In here there are Visayan tarictic hornbills, Wrinkled hornbills and a Mindanao wreathed hornbill. This path then takes you back around to the giant tortoises - if you follow the path back up to between the vivariums and the amphibian pod you can then go through into the nocturnal section for the Aye-aye.

    Leaving the aye-aye section, you will come out at the back of the Tropical Realm not far from Spirit of the Jaguar. On your right hand side there is an aviary for Hyacinth macaw. You can then follow the path around a couple of aviaries, one for Blue-throated macaws and the other for Red-billed curassow and Green jay. There is also the Sand lizard enclosure in this little section. Finally, you can follow the moat around the Common chimpanzee enclosure to see those [and you may want to check out the aviary on the Rainbow Lawn -possibly better to view between jaguars and Realm of the Red Ape but I forgot earlier - it's rare I look at this but I think it holds Himalayan monal and a species of turaco]. On the other side of the path to the chimp island you can look over to the island for Ring-tailed lemurs and Red-fronted lemurs.

    That should have covered almost everything, but sure there'll be some bits I've forgotten. If I've missed a species off you're particularly interested in let me know and I'll do my best to point out where you can see them :).
     
  16. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic! Thank you Javan Rhino!
     
  17. ShonenJake13

    ShonenJake13 Well-Known Member

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    Want to say a massive thanks to you for the route Javan Rhino! We saw so much, and managed to get round the whole zoo with it :D thanks so so much!

    I will shortly be putting up lists in a new thread of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates that were onshow/signed when we visited yesterday and today.
     
  18. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    No problem, glad you found it useful and glad you've had a good couple of visits :)