We’ve been huge fans of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo for as long as I can remember and ZSL members for years now, yet strangely we’ve never actually been to their Halloween event, the brilliantly named, Boo at the Zoo before. Today that changed.
Much of the Boo at the Zoo fun takes place in the giant marquee in the Base Camp area of the zoo. There you can find Creepy Crafts and the Pumpkin Patch. All three kids enjoyed making bat masks as part of the free creepy crafts activities and if you buy a pumpkin from the shop area just outside the marquee you can then carve a pumpkin and take it home with you afterwards.
Also inside the marquee is the The Museum of Fantastic Creatures. Now Whipsnade being a zoo it makes sense that there should be a bit of a focus on animals here and that’s exactly what the small museum gives you. After a wonderful introduction from a guide, there are three different rooms to explore: one focussing on all things underwater, one on the Arctic and antarctic and a third on creepy crawlies.
The kids had great fun fishing, feeling and also handing some of the exhibits.
The fourth room gave them ample opportunity to dress up as some of the creatures that they’d just been learning about and it’s fair to say that they had rather a lot of fun in doing so.
Just outside the marquee area was a separate covered space where Magic and Mayhem were taking place. Described as “music, games, soft toys and surprises” and being aimed at under 5s it seemed apparent by the crowd of people outside the door that Magic and Mayhem was pretty popular today, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get inside to tell for ourselves.
What I did get a better look at though was the Ghastly Golf. Nine holes of appropriately decorated mini adventure golf looked like fantastic fun. A few spots of rain and it being time for the Sea Lions show meant that we didn’t hang around the golf course for long, but Master C in particular was very keen to go back another time for a quick round or two.
As regular readers will know, Master C is always a huge fan of the Steam Train rides at Whipsnade and even that had been given a Halloween makeover, turning it into the Eerie Express. Sat in the station was a ghost train and a half and the whole place was all decorated with pumpkins, Halloween bunting and some very strange characters seemed to be helping them check tickets as we all queued to get on to the train.
On board the train was a ghost hunt and all the children who complete this get a little prize at the end of the journey.
Despite the look on his face when he posed for a photo Master C actually really loved this and it was the first time that I’d really seen him using a pencil correctly, and also following instructions to complete something like this. A sign of how much he’s growing up since starting school properly last month.
Every single time we go to Whipsnade we always manage to come home having not managed to see everything that there is to see. As well as all the Boo at the Zoo activities, we today managed to squeeze in time at both the Hullabazoo indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and also visited the elephants, tigers, lions, meerkats, zebras, giraffes, flamingos, penguins and lemurs. As if that wasn’t enough there was also time for a picnic and the Sea Lion show too. There was a huge list of things that we didn’t get time to see though, and I was particularly disappointed not to have made time for the butterfly house as it’s one of my favourite parts of Whipsnade these days.
Today saw us spend over six hours at the zoo and I think it fair to say that everyone had a really good time there. The only thing that still seems all mysterious is how my two kids can still be full of energy at nearly eleven o’clock at night after such an action packed day. There’s definitely something creepy going on there!
Boo at the Zoo is running at ZSL Whipsnade through until 31 October and you can get full details of the events on their website here.
Disclaimer: Three of us are ZSL members and so attended Whipsnade free of charge today. They provided us with two press entry tickets for the other two members of the family. All opinions are my own.