I couldn’t afford Antarctica…..

Last week it was my 11 year old son’s birthday and I was stumped for ideas. He has had all the usual gifts over the last few celebrations and already has a phone to spend hours chatting  with friends via What’s App groups, an X-box to while away more hours and a trampoline in the garden to let off steam on.
He isn’t into clothes, music or anything designer and doesn’t really ask for much which is great but little help when it comes to birthday presents. ‘Another fidget spinner please’ being the only answer I could get from him.

He is though a lover of animals and penguins in particular so this year I decided to buy him a memory. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite afford an Antarctic cruise or trip to South America to see them in their natural habitat and instead  we had a fabulous day out at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.

I purchased a ‘Penguin Encounter’ which allows up to 4 people to enter the penguin  enclosure with the keepers and feed the penguins by hand, I treated Milo and his Dad along with my nephew  who was also celebrating a birthday and is even more penguin obsessed and my and sister in law. I was the bag holder and official photographer!

The experience started with the penguins being led in, they were supposed to parade around  the enclosure but they are clever little things and just stood by the gate until the keeper let them in.

Milo and the others were given handfuls of fish to feed  to the penguins, Milo was  really nervous  to start, he’s not keen on being centre of attention and could feel everyone looking at him and the fish were cold and slimy. However, with his Dad by his side he began to relax and the penguins were soon eating out of their hands.

A few of the penguins has remained in their main enclosure and so to ensure  that they were all well fed  the feeding party moved and continued their job until every one had had a spot of lunch.

The Penguin Encounter was a fantastic experience and I would really recommend it. Twycross  Zoo is a charitable trust and the experience wasn’t overly expensive, it was also great to be able to have up to 4 people involved. Most other places offering a similar experience allow only one or two people, or have you feeding with other people unknown to you.

The  zoo itself is very well  kept and has a huge variety of species there. It is particularly famed for originally being home to the PG Tips Chimps and they have all sorts of chimps, gorillas, monkeys and apes there. The staff were exceptionally friendly and every thing was very well  organised.

They also offer other feeding experiences and Milo is already planning a return a trip to feed the giraffes or be a ‘Zoo Keeper for the Day’. If you are looking for a day out for the next school holidays then put this place on your list.