Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Twycross Zoo - chef's day off - let's go eat somewhere else - Monkey Business!

On the menu today: Monkey Brains – only joking! Chef’s day off so we ate elsewhere.

Fancy Pans Café had a staff outing and we visited the World Primate Centre – Twycross Zoo.

On 26 May 1963, Miss Mollie Badham and Miss Nathalie Evans first opened the doors (or should I say gates) of Twycross to the public. It has developed dramatically over nearly forty eight years and is now the World Primate Centre. Twycross is open 364 days of the year.

The South American Tropical House was opened by Elizabeth Hurley in 2005 and Brian Blessed opened the Borneo Longhouse in 2007.

We arrived in beautiful spring sunshine and entered through The Himalya, which is a 300-seater restaurant with an enormous glass wall giving spectacular views of two snow leopards in their mountainside home.


The food on offer is both gorgeous and reasonable. We ate in The Himalaya although there are lots of other places to eat throughout the complex. It was difficult to choose: home-made soup, casserole or roast dinner, jacket potatoes with various fillings, fish and chips, plus loads of sandwiches. There is also a children’s menu. Best of all was the selection of fabulous cakes and at only £2.65 for a huge slice – excellent value.

The cakes we chose were delicious and generous, washed down with fair-trade tea.


After all that we needed to burn off the calories. It doesn’t take too long to walk around the whole complex and with over 1,000 animals to see, you are never very far from a good photo. The giraffes are enormous, the meerkats cute, the elephants, so stately, but the stars of the show are definitely the monkeys, apes and chimpanzees.

Do you know the difference between a monkey and a chimpanzee? Well, perhaps the most obvious difference is that monkeys have tails, and chimpanzees do not.   Do you remember the PG Chimps?  Well they were Twycross chimps.

 
Then, down came the rain so most people either fled for home or huddled inside one of the animal houses. We stayed with mother red-faced black spider monkey, who was spark-out on the floor with her baby climbing and jumping all over her (while dad sat on a ledge out of the way). The reason for the prone position on the tiles was – under-floor heating.


The rain eased, the sun came out and we moved on to gorillas and penguins. The gorillas stayed indoors as it was cold and wet, snoring happily on their warm, underfloor-heated beds, apart from one chap who was having his tea - broccoli, parsnips, carrots and fruit.  Gorillas are best seen during the day.



Another 'monkey' fact is if they have a downturned mouth, they are happy, but if they are grinning, they are not, apparently 

We finally left for home almost as the gates were closing at 5.30 and drove past the flamingo pool, flanked with the beautiful pink birds who were settling down for a good night’s kip after a busyday.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Twycross Zoo. Prices for both admittance and food are incredibly reasonable.

On the downside though, you will find that you smell of monkeys when you get home!



Karen

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