Paignton Zoo was a regular family day out when I was little, and for a crazy animal lady like me, I have always loved it. I even did my 'A' level Psychology project there, studying the Hamadryas Baboons. I was so excited to take J-cub to the zoo for the first time, and spent all of Monday evening singing "Mummy's taking us to the zoo tomorrow" and practising my animal signs.
Being the school Summer holidays, it was very busy but not too crowded that we were falling over people. We stopped for a coffee as soon as we arrived, and J-cub had a whale of a time chasing seagulls around with repeated cries of "Duck! Duck!" He was in his element, with plentiful seagull-ducks, massive stork-ducks, big-billed pelican-ducks, and lots and lots of ... ducks.
We went on the little train around the lake (lots of ducks), and were very impressed that every 'carriage' (barely enough room for 2 adults, let alone a child) had 5-point harnesses for kiddiwinks. J-cub was a bit unsure about the train, but loved going into a tunnel.
Strangely enough, we spent quite a long time here pointing at the ducks.
In the alligator house, the path winds down below the level of the water, so you can see the fish through the glass. J-cub loved this bit, and signed 'more, more', every time he kicked the glass and the fish swam away (I did try to get him to stop kicking the glass, honestly, but when he's excited his legs just have a life of their own).
J-cub pretended to be a monkey all the way through the monkey house by riding on my back (alright, I pretended to be a monkey to make him laugh).
We walked the wrong way into the goat enclosure (missing the warning signs about rampaging packs of goats with ASBOs), got immediately set upon, they knocked over the buggy and made off with the remains of our lunch. Luckily, J-cub was in the sling. The goats fell into two camps - the crazy wild ones who ran around terrorizing everyone, and the gentle half-asleep ones who stood still for the children to pet them. I liked these ones best.
Mid-afternoon, J-cub runs out of steam, climbs onto a picnic bench and has a rest...
...soon to perk up when confronted with a gorgeous baby giraffe.