On Saturday, 20th April we went on a little day trip to the ZSL London Zoo. I feel like it might be a little too early to bring him on these things because he doesn’t pay too much attention to things in general. But I still do because I think I’m doing us a favour. In my head, the earlier I get him used to museums and such, the more he’ll enjoy them. So far, this seems to be true for books, so I’m expanding this thought to other areas of life. Most of all it was a necessary family day out. The husband is working day and night on different projects lately, so we all needed a day off together.
Lunch at Purezza
We got out of the house far too late (as per usual) and Dinis was ready for his midday nap. So he fell asleep on the way to Camden, and there was no point in heading to the zoo with him fast asleep. He’s a much better sleeper now and his daily naps range between 1 hour and 30 minutes to 3 hours (not just lucky though, we did teach him to sleep – I can talk about it on another post if you wish).
I had been to this pizzeria with a friend a couple weeks back after a work out (you know, we deserved it). I loved it so much I wanted to bring João there to try it out. The funniest thing is that I only found out it was a vegan place this time around. As it wasn’t mentioned to us by the waiter on the first time, I didn’t realise it was vegan. To me, it was just delicious!
This is what we had: “Here comes Truffle” with a Hemp base, the “Mac’n’Cheese”, the “Garden Bowl” (for some rocket top-up) and a “Specials Pizza – Roquito”. João had a Moor craft beer and I had a Kick Ass Carrot Juice (slightly disappointed on the size of it compared to the price thought…). We also added Banana Ketchup for dipping, a super interesting flavour.
Love the place, delicious pizza. Radio Alice is still my favourite (located in Clapham, not vegan though but with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options), but I definitely recommend this one whether you’re a vegan or not.
ZSL London Zoo
Living in London for 9 years I have never been to the ZSL London Zoo, so I thought it would be a fun thing to do now that Dinis might understand not all animals are dogs (we have a dog, so he might think that all animals are dogs). Well, at least he might think that there are different types of dogs now. Haha
I must say that I loved it. I try to bring my kid to museums and parks and such things, for two reasons. The first one I mentioned above: I want him to get used to going to different environments so that growing up he gets interested in it. The second reason is the following: I just love going to museums and such. So if I have the chance to go, I will bring my baby along with me.
Like with many things in London, plan in advance. Tickets bought online two days before the date you want to visit are significantly cheaper than tickets bought the day before or at the door. At the door they are £27.27, two days before they’re £24.54 (as per the prices found today, 23rd April 2019). If you add a 10% donation (at the door, you kind of feel obliged to) they become a £30.00 and £27.00 gig.
Being used to going to free museums, two adults at the zoo isn’t cheap. If you add the fact that we got there by 4pm and it closes at 6pm, we shouldn’t really have gone in. But, not only are we helping to feed animals we’re also contributing with a small fee for animal conservation, so I don’t regret it at all.
With a free under 3 child though, we’re actually thinking of upgrading to a membership so we can go there whenever we want.
My thoughts on zoos
The last time I visited a zoo was back in Portugal, the Lisbon Zoo about 10 years ago. We have a lovely zoo back home, but with the lack of funding and less people visiting, the zoo has been slowly becoming derelict over the years. Which is an absolute shame. I remember visiting with my godson and feeling like there was basically just us at the zoo. And to make the matters worst I felt that the animals were sad.
I understand why zoos exist. They exist so that humans that live in cities can see animals in real flesh and understand that we need to keep in touch with nature and protect the animals that live freely in the wild. Watching shows on TV or Netflix, makes us say “wow” and “how amazing”, although it still feels like we’re looking at images of a world that we don’t belong to because it is nothing like the place we live in. Apart from dogs, cats mice/rats and pigeons there’s not a lot more animals in a city. London can be the exception with crows, seagulls and foxes. But still, not a lot of wild animals.
Zoos are also safe places for some animals at the verge of extinction although it can be a questionable fact as most animals struggle to breed in captivity.
Well, to be honest and as you can tell, I feel quite torn about zoos. At the same time as I want my kid to experience seeing other animals (and I can’t afford a real safari in the African Savannah or an expedition to the North Pole) I do feel that I’m contributing to some animal misery. But there was something about this zoo I really liked.
What felt different about the ZSL London Zoo
One of the things I really enjoyed was the attention to detail on each of the areas. The animals seem to have a decent amount of space (despite limited) and most of all, they seem to have lovely backstage areas where the animals can relax away from the public eye. Hence why you need a lot more hours there, so that you have the time to wait for them to want to come out and see the crowds.
Another thing that I loved was how on certain areas, the animals are around you. For example, on the Rainforest Life there were birds jumping over our heads. On the Lemurs area, they were just a short stretch of the hand away. We can’t touch the animals though, as one would expect and there are zookeepers around to ensure their safety. But the feeling that we could makes the whole experience a bit more natural. I also think this benefits the animals as they might just look at us as “those other animals that share this space with us”. And that was super fun.
Would I go back?
Yes, I would. In fact, I’m in the process of trying to convince my husband to buy the annual pass as I would love to bring my kid back and see his evolution throughout this year regarding his interest for animals.
I understand zoos are not the best places for most animals to be. They belong to the wild. Animals shouldn’t live in captivity. But in my point of view, the positives of a zoo outgrow the negatives (of course, only if the animals are being well treated). And to be honest I really liked the London Zoo and was quite surprised with how nicely the space is distributed and how lovely the areas for the animals are. I also noticed how the animals have their own private areas (probably a lot of zoos do this, if not all) and in a lot of cases animals were in those private zones and no one was forcing them out. On one the zones where you share the same space as the animals, zookeepers appeared suddenly once the animals came close to people, to ensure their safety.
I will definitely go back and recommend it very much as a day out with your kids.
My favourite part of he zoo
The thing I loved the most was how well done the decor is in every area.
Not only the animals seem to have lovely spaces adapted to their needs, as there’s also a nice theme to each of the decors of each area.
The Land of Lions was the part that impressed me the most. So many photo opportunities! Every parent loves a good background for lovely pictures of their kids. Just wished we had gone earlier to see the whole place. Going back for sure.
A walk in Regents Park
This was my second time at Regents Park and it’s such a nice park, I want to come back and investigate a bit more. It makes you feel like you’re not in central London at all which is lovely. And at the same time it’s so close to everything. It’s just a shame that we didn’t find any ice cream vans inside the park as we were desperate for some ice cream.
Dinner time at Le Relais de Venise
As we exited the park close to Baker Street station, and as it was already quite late (8pm) we decided to go for dinner close by.
I love Le Relais de Venise. There’s a few locations across London and their dishes are amazing. They only serve a lovely mustard vinaigrette dressed salad as a starter and steak and frites with a delicious sauce as a main. That’s it, nothing else on the menu for starters and mains.
For dessert we usually go for the lovely Vacherin du Relais, but this time we tried the Semi-Freddo au Grand-Marnier. Good, but strong alcohol flavour from the Grand-Marnier. As I’m breastfeeding, I ended up not eating much because I didn’t want to ingest more alcohol – I had already had a glass of red house wine with the meal, which is enough as it is.
This restaurant never fails me though. A favourite.
To more family days like these. #familygoals