Whilst we were camping at West Runton campsite we thought we should make the most of the local area. One of the big attractions in north Norfolk is Amazona zoo. Just under 25 minutes away from the campsite, the boys were really excited. We left it until we were on our way to tell them of our adventure for the day. Oliver’s topic last term was rainforests and he did a lot of work learning about the amazon rainforest. Also we read that the zoo was also the home of iguanas, Oliver’s class name.
We arrived just as the zoo was opening and i was expecting it to be rather busy but it wasn’t. We managed to walk straight to the entrance with no queue. The walkway to the entrance was a lovely introduction. The boys loved looking over the walkway to see what animal they could spot. Once through the entrance, we were given a leaflet which had a map and a stamp collection chart. There is a big sign which lets you know the feeding times. I think it is also mentioned in the guide book, however we took a photo so we can remind ourselves. Once in the park we made use of the toilets. The boys are pretty much guaranteed to need a wee within 15 minutes of being pass a toilet area. The toilets were huge! Certainly the biggest we have come across in any zoo attraction. There is plenty of space to move around too. It is worth noting that several trips were made to the toilets and they were always clean and well stocked.
Jungle Tumbles and Gift Shop
As well as the animals there is also a big indoor soft play area which is perfect to get away from the rain or to cool down from the sun. I can imagine it gets really busy. The Gift shop is well stocked and sells a variety of souvenirs. We loved the Amazona zoo monkeys.
After the toilets we had a quick look at the map and decided we would head towards the Feline Forest. The boys are all obsessed with Minecraft and up until then had never seen an Ocelot in person. They loved watching him pace around his enclosure, he was a lot smaller than they all thought. We also saw the jaguar, unfortunately not long ago his mate had passed away. Along with the cats we also saw an array of macaws and parrots.
As you walk around the park, attached to several enclosures are stamps. The aim is to encourage everyone to visit all the animals and collect stamps. We found a few stamps were dried out so didn’t print well. The boys still attempted them and pushing down hard seemed to leave a little imprint. After we visited the feline forest and birds we crossed a little bridge to enter the other side. This area was a lot brighter and more spacious. there was plenty of seating too, especially near the yurt. In the middle was a large enclosure, this was home to a T****.
At midday we decided to head towards the café to have our picnic. I had left the food in the car so we didn’t have to carry it around with us. It was really easy to get in and out so there wasn’t much of a delay. Although we didn’t have food in the café the prices seemed rather reasonable. There was plenty of seating inside and out and also highchairs available.
When I looked at the website before we came I noticed that Amazona zoo was the home of caiman crocodiles. Mark loves caiman but had never been able to see any up close. So after dinner we headed off to their enclosure. The caiman are housed inside a huge tropical building. There is ramps walking up and down so you don’t need to worry about access. The boys loved watching the monkeys as we were walking into the tropical building.
Inside the tropical house was the caiman. Midday and they were all sleeping. To keep with their climate and the climate of the other tropical animals it is hot and humid. The day was already stupidly hot anyways so we were rather gasping as we were walking round. I recommend taking in drinks so you can refresh yourselves. It isn’t really big but you want to be able to make the most of it. As well as caiman there are also iguanas, tarantula’s, snakes, cockroaches and fish.
Iguana, Caiman and Monkeys!
Oliver loved watching the iguanas, there were 2 and he could have stayed there all afternoon given half a chance. After a quick photo for his class teacher we made our way through the enclosure towards the exit. On the way out we passed some spider monkeys. This is was our little pet name for Oliver when he was a baby as he was all arms and legs with a little body. Seeing them move around their enclosure was really lovely to watch.
Whilst walking to the tropical house the boys had spotted the playpark. They seem like little rabbits possessed whenever we see one. Thankfully there was also a toilet near the playpark so we were able to take 5 minutes to take the boys toilet and let them play. With so much of the zoo left to explore we promised to come back so they can play on the giant pillow trampoline. After a quick stop at the playpark we went to explore the yurt. In the middle of this half of the zoo is a big yurt tent. Inside was pictures along with information about the amazon rainforest. There was also a small television setup and playing a documentary. Unfortunately we didn’t wait around too long to watch it as it was just too hot and we wanted to go back outside.
Another animal we couldn’t wait to see were the flamingos. Amazon zoo is home to just a few flamingos and a duck who wants to be one. jack spotted the duck standing on one leg and was rather amused! Oliver wanted to know why there were mirrors in the enclosure. There is a sign which basically says the mirrors are to trick the flamingos into thinking their flock was much larger. Flamingos only mate when there are large numbers of them, and this is apparently a proven way to help smaller flocks grow. After the flamingos we decided to let the boys go back onto the giant pillow to play. There were 2 of them, one for under 6 year olds and the other for older ones. It was rather quiet so we used the big one and let Arthur join the older two. They had lots of fun jumping, rolling and just generally running around.
We had such a lovely day exploring Amazona zoo and the boys seemed to have had a great time too. In the carpark we saw signs for Cromer PYO. It is literally located on the left of the zoo and free to enter. Available to pick are strawberries, raspberries and flowers and also they accept card payment. Obviously it is seasonal, so not open throughout the year but if you visit and it is open it is worth a visit!
*We were given a family ticket in exchange for a review*