Previously, Sara and I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour and it was totally magical (ha) from start to finish.
The Monday morning dawned moderately warm and something heading in the general direction of sunny. Because England. We got ourselves sorted out, then hit the road heading to Sara's brother's house to pick up her niece. We met Sara's sister and her baby son, then loaded up the cars with babies and all the paraphernalia that goes along with babies and headed to Marwell Zoo.
It gave me a world of childhood flashbacks, because I'm pretty sure we went to Marwell Zoo a time or twelve when we were living in the UK back in the early 90s, though I'm sure it's changed a lot since then.
We started off with a trip to the penguins, where the wee one made a new friend:
Then we wandered over to the giraffes. There was a baby one, which was totally adorable.
After rather a long time hanging out with the giraffes, we went in search of Sara's favourite animal: the bongos. We couldn't see them anywhere in their enclosure, or in the indoor section, but we DID find this rather hilarious sign:
Finally, being the tallest of the group by a good three inches, I managed to find the bongo by peering over a tall fence. It had squidged itself into a corner up against the fence where it was guaranteed a nice rest.
By the time we got past the zebras (hiding in the shrubbery on the other side of their enclosure), the babies were getting squirmy so we figured it was time to stop for lunch. Which featured Pom-Bears (someone please bring them to Australia immediately) and a bird pooping in the baby carriage...
Our afternoon of animal viewing was rather more successful than the morning. Our first stop was the red panda, my all time favourite, and for the first time in approximately a million trips to various zoos around the world, the red panda was wandering around like a happy little camper. I was absolutely thrilled and could happily have spent the rest of the afternoon watching him wander around. I think the wee one felt the same way, because she kept squealing with excitement.
Eventually, I dragged myself away and we paid a visit to the coati, who were also having a jolly old wander around before heading through the reptiles, the monkeys and the lemurs.
We stopped for an ice cream break on the basis that the babies tooooootally needed to be fed, then we hit what was easily the highlight of the trip. I know, something actually managed to trump the red panda. I was as shocked as anyone. Yes, it was the end of the day and approaching - one assumes - feeding time for the snow leopards. So they were incredibly active. Well. Mostly.
There was a huge crowd of people on one side of the enclosure taking photos, and we realised that there was another viewing area. So we headed up there to find that it was deserted. And one of the leopards was pacing back and forth in front of the glass. So I was standing RIGHT THERE in prime position to get some pretty damned fabulous photos. Sorry, Man With a $10,000 Camera who ran up two minutes later. My entry level SLR and my kit lens trumped the pants off you. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled. We saw a few more animals on our way out, like the hippos and the anteaters and the tapirs, but most of them were pretty unexciting after actually seeing the snow leopards doing things.
After a fairly disastrous trip to the bathroom - turns out babies and those airport style hand driers don't get along - we headed for home where we offloaded the babies and went to the pub for some much needed drinks and dinner.
Next time, I finally see some of Portsmouth and head back to London.
What's your favourite at the zoo?