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Zooman Dec, 8 day UK tour 2015

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by zooman, 3 Nov 2015.

  1. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,
    I would be very interested to hear itinerary ideas and order of visitation for 8 days in early December. ( all help greatly appreciated :D:D ) l will have a car.

    I am arriving day 1 am in Manchester and meeting family in Newcastle day 9 11am.

    Visit preference.
    Gorillas and their exhibits are always my first priority, then general zoo architecture both new and old.

    From discussion on Zoos in Winter thread I have decided the following are a must.


    First visit **

    Birmingham **
    Chester (2013)
    Blackpool **
    South Lakes **
    Yorkshire Wildlife Park **

    Would also be great to catch up with others if available for a zoo visit :)
     
  2. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Do you fly out of Manchester too?

    Chester is a must, no gorillas, but so much more.

    I'm guessing, coming from Australia there are many species and groups of animals you
    cannot get to see at home, that we have here.

    Have a great visit.
     
  3. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not so convenient in terms of location, but if you really are prioritising Gorillas then either Howletts or Port Lymnpe must be a consideration, and practically a necessity if you haven't visited them before.
    London is only 1.5 hours from Birmingham on the train, and then it's another hour to Canterbury/Ashford. You could base yourself in the capital, do a day at ZSL London (Gorillas again), take the train to Kent for one of the Aspinal parks, and even throw in a day at Colchester, which has no gorillas, but is one of the best zoos in England and has a lot of sheltered walkways/indoor exhibits as well. A train to Doncaster and YWP from London should take approx. three hours, leaving enough time for the polar bears.
    Alternatively, you could head back to the Midlands via Bristol, for even more gorillas and probably the UK's best nocturnal house.
    Just some suggestions. You might be better off staying north, but this would be a good way to add some of the UK's 'heavy-hitters'. And because the UK is so compact, it wouldn't be that much extra distance really.
    Hope you have a wonderful time, with glorious sunshine interrupted only by a blizzard and heavy snow the night before you visit YWP!
    FG
     
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    As you're no doubt aware, you are at the wrong end of the country for most of the Gorilla-keeping Zoos, only Blackpool has them on this list. With that in mind I would leave out the Birmingham Nature Place (its very small) and South Lakes too- both I think you might find rather disappointing. Substitute those two with ones which will probably more justify the amount of time you will spend getting to them( I make no suggestions here, its up to you to choose...)
     
  5. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Highlands Wildlife Park in Scotland would be beautiful in winter. However, it is an open air safari park with no "zoo architecture," so if that is a priority for you then maybe not. Personally I loved it. The only primates are snow monkeys, but seeing them in snow (potentially) would be a unique experience. Just my two cents (as a non-Brit tourist like you), take it or leave it.
     
  7. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    There aren't really any zoos around Newcastle, except Kirkley Hall Zoo, Tynemouth Blue Reef Aquarium and Washington Wetland Centre; all are pretty small places. Kirkley Hall has the most diverse collection of the three (see here), but very limited opening hours/ days; Tynemouth Blue Reef has Seals, Otters, Fish, Tamarins and a few other species, but nothing really special; and then Washington has a long(ish) list of waterfowl, Otters, Flamingos and Cranes (see here) and lots of wildlife watching opportunities (and you'll get male ducks in their winter plumage).


    I would give Yorkshire Wildlife Park about three hours to look around, but could be done on less, so you could visit another local collection at the same time, the ones you could feasibly do are;

    -Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre (Sheffield); has a diverse collection, and some quite rare species (in captivity); it has easy access to the motorway.

    -Wetlands Animal Park (Redford); has a small collection mainly domestics, the only species which particularly stands out (well to someone from the UK) is White-fronted Capuchin (Cebus albifrons; incorrectly listed on zootierliste as Cebus capucinus), but this is quite rural and difficult to find from the motorway.

    -Lotherton Hall Bird Garden (near Leeds); a small but diverse bird collection with a lovely café and some rarities; very close to the A1, M1 and M62 (if you were to go to Manchester from Leeds you would probably go down the M62).

    -Tropical World (Leeds); a diverse(ish) collection, small aquarium, nocturnal house and reptile house, as well three indoor bird areas and a Butterfly House, good if there is terrible weather; it has good road links to Manchester.

    -Harewood House Bird Garden (near Leeds); a small bird garden with a decent collection although much reduced in recent years, I would personally recommend Lotherton over Harewood due to a larger and better (well in my eyes) collection; got decent links to the motorway, but it us really on the wrong side of Leeds for the motorways.

    -The Deep (Hull); at a push you may be able to do this one; a large collection of fish, some of them quite rare in captivity, and a few herps, invertebrates and some Penguins.

    -Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre (near Leeds); home to a few mammals, birds, herps, fish and inverts, it has a couple of unusual species, I've irrationally never visited; near(ish) the motorway.

    -Chestnut Centre (Chapel-en-le-Frith (Derbyshire)); a small collection including some unusual mammals and owls, I've personally never visited; not to far from the motorway.

    These are all I could think of that you could feasibly do. I don't really know what species are around in Australia, so can't help you in that sense, if you want anymore information feel free to ask :).

    (And if you haven't booked accommodation in Manchester yet, I had a comfortable and affordable night in one of the Travelodges, although they definitely are budget accommodation).

    Although I would recommend a visit to HWP any day, I don't think it would be very easy to reach from Manchester, as you're looking at about 6 hours of driving to reach it...

    EDIT: I've had a bit of a think and if it is Gorillas you're after you could probably be able to get to Twycross Zoo one day (and you could if you wanted visit Tropical Birdland on the same day, as they're close to each other). You could also get to the Welsh Mountain Zoo I imagine.

    P.S. And I hope you use this well, as it took me a while to write :p.
     
    Last edited: 3 Nov 2015
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I live quite near Newcastle, so depending on when you plan to arrive into that area (for instance, if you plan to arrive on the morning of day 8) I may well be available for a chat and possibly a wander along the coastline just north of Tynemouth to show you good spots for spotting wintering waders and seaducks and so forth. :)

    Contrary to what Pertinax says, I would suggest you stick with your plan to visit Birmingham Nature Centre - it *is* relatively small but it has a very nice selection of species, and has a few bits of historically noteworthy architecture having been built on the site of a pre-existing zoo. As BNC is relatively small it is quite easily done in the same day as the nearby Dudley Zoo, which has a lot of historical architecture - both in terms of zoo-buildings and the ruins of a castle - along with quite a few nice species. The site is undergoing work at present to refurbish some of the aforementioned historical structures, so it might interest you on the level of historical-conservation too.
     
  9. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Macaw, much appreciated. I have a growing interest in small collections and will definatley look into visiting several of our recommendations :)
     
  10. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    Yes in and out of Manchester.
    Very much looking forward to Chester and the Islands developments. This new development was definatley a significant contribution in my decision to make this quick trip.
     
  11. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hello thank you for your response, I will be travelling with a car and from your response and others I am thinking it may be best to go south!

    I have visited Aspinal parks in the past and may not visit on this trip.

    Colchester have not heard allot about it, are the majority of the significant UK collections in the south?

    Besides London, Aspinal's and Colchester what other southern UK collections are a must?
     
  12. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

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    Marwell, Whipsnade - I'd put Woburn amongst them as well (Imo the best UK safari park in terms of collection right now)
     
  13. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Hey zooman,

    I'll be another one hoping to catch you while you're over here.

    I wouldn't normally push for Yorkshire Wildlife Park (I found it a little more bland than expected), but I'm sure you'll be interested in seeing how such a new zoo has started up, and their simple but often aesthetically pleasing enclosures will appeal to you. As Macaw suggested, I also recommend twinning the visit with a trip to North Anston Tropical Butterfly House (an interesting smaller collection). Wetland Wild Animal Park isn't really worth the visit. I felt a bit like I was walking around a closed/closing zoo when I visited earlier this year with a lot of signs on empty enclosures and facilities in poor condition. Still a nice way to spend an hour or so walking around their fishing lakes if it's sunny.

    Actually, recommending zoos which seem relatively feeble to someone like you who has already visited so many UK collections feels like a bit of a waste during such a brief visit. Why not take a low cost flight to somewhere warmer or with more interesting zoos? Copenhagen can easily entertain for a couple of days; Tenerife for a few more...

    I visited Blackpool Zoo for the first time on Sunday. It's a fair zoo, not worth a massive journey though. You might find the gorilla island paddock interesting, and there are some quirky areas too, but it's up to you.

    South Lakes is a very unusual zoo but surprisingly interesting. Perhaps not worth a return visit but if you're curious then definitely go and explore once. You can also visit parts of the Lake District National Park while you're there, and perhaps Lakeland Wildlife Oasis too.
     
  14. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Yes I have been to allot of zoos :) however, the only UK collections in the past 15 years have been Aspinal's parks, London, Chester and Bristol. So definatley due for a visit!

    South Lakes is a must, Copenhagen and that area are tentivaely planned for next June 2016.

    Hope we can catch up :)
     
  15. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Thx TLD Birmingham and Dudley in the same day very tempting!

    Will let you know more of my itinary closer to departure re catch up :)
     
  16. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Pertinax,
    Seriously considering heading south for more Gorillas!
     
  17. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hoof stock not really my thing but I am curious about Knowsley as last visit was 30 years ago...
     
  18. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Very tempted on HWP as could also then add Edingburgh both reasonably close to Newcastle, weather will be a big influence on decision.
     
  19. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Statements like this really bring home just how different the Aussie sense of scale is :p :D
     
  20. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.zoochat.com/38/top-10-best-zoos-independent-newspaper-406041/

    I think this is a fairly good list. It seems to be the least controversial one discussed on this site since I've been around!

    As mentioned in the winter thread, I had a wonderful winter visit to Whipsnade, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. There's also A LOT of hoofstock.