Yes, the zoo! As much as I’d love to do nothing but a Jane Austen tour of the UK, my children would likely rebel!
My husband had what was to him a great idea a few weeks back. We should go to the zoo! In the days prior, I did express some concern as to the weather forecast. While it was supposed to be a beautiful sunny day, the high where we live was 37ºF (3ºC). He insisted that the high was 40ºF at the zoo, and with the sun we should be fine. I will say it was still a bit cold for my taste!
Aside from the cold, the zoo is lovely. There is a stream that passes through the centre, lots of buildings where you can view the animals (It would have been nice to have some of them heated like in Nebraska!), and lots of animals. A few we could not see due to the cold and humidity. There was a great deal of condensation on some of the windows, especially with the large cats, but I would not expect any of the keepers to run inside to squeegee the glass so we could see.
The atmosphere is nice. There are snack places where you can get hot chocolate and other warm drinks, which was nice. My only complaint of the day was at lunch. I wish I’d brought myself more gluten-free options. I’ve been pretty lucky that most National Trust homes at least offer a soup with a gluten-free roll. Apparently, the zoo usually has a potato (I’m assuming baked potato, called a jacket potato here) because the kid asked about whether they had any. In the end, I had the usual choice of one soup with a gluten-free roll. I’ll just say that I’m not a big lentil fan!
One of the neatest parts was a ruin of an old church in the middle of the zoo. We had noticed a house covered in vines near the food court area, but hadn’t realised the house had been part of an estate that was on that land in the past. The ruins still had arched windows and supports in the tower. I think I must have been really excited when I saw it because we went with friends who chuckled as I snapped a bunch of photos.
So, the skinny if you decide to give the Colchester Zoo a shot. It’s nice and definitely worth seeing. Make sure you check the activities of the zoo because we didn’t realise there was an extra admission when we went. During Christmas, children can visit with Mother and Father Christmas, who give the child a gift and you can take a photo. It was a nice treat, but we weren’t prepared for how high the tickets were when we arrived. It was a bit of a shock. In the end, I’d recommend a warmer day, and if you do go during the Christmas season, I recommend Mother Christmas–she gives better gifts!