For Andy’s birthday this year he asked for money so that the family car could be serviced. So for this act of heroism I decided not to take him to the cinema or buy a ticket to the footy or even indulge his wildest fantasies… by letting him lay in on a Saturday morning. I knew that what he would really want (much like when Homer bought Marge that bowling ball) was a trip to the zoo with his family on the first weekend of the half term holiday 😬
As Andy’s b’day is in February and we are still suffering from the Christmas splurge I was looking for a cheap overnight deal. Even though Colchester’s not too far we learnt our lesson the hard way on the Thorpe park visit, children and babies are not easy to transfer to car seat in the cold light of morning resulting in a 10 o’clock slump that would rival a Mariah meltdown. So after an unsuccessful Airbnb search I decided to look for no frills hotels and found a mega deal with holiday inn. It even has a pool in its spirit health club, same company as my free 3 day pass I posted about a week or so ago. It didn’t include breakfast but was close to the zoo and the pool was the deal clincher.
We had planned the weekend around the boys football on Saturday which annoyingly got cancelled at the last minute 😡. Undeterred we set off and got all the way to… Thetford 🙄 before having to make a pit stop for food and pee pees, an hour later I find myself still in sports direct as Andy peruses the clothing and bikes (well it was his birthday). After a quick dash in Sainsbury’s (I left Andy car hostage this time👌) for the next days breakfast we are off and start making good time, I put my foot down in an attempt to prove the sat nav wrong (I’m so competitive every minute off is a small victory 👊) but then disaster strikes… a detour! Nooooooo, if our sat nav could talk I would imagine it would be saying “I told you so” in a condescending voice. When we eventually turned up to the hotel over 3 hrs late, partly because of Andy’s shopping addiction we were frazzled to say the least. It wax like releasing two Tasmanian devils from car seats as they swept through the lobby. I was about to go through the usual apologies but was stopped by the most welcoming receptionist and staff I have ever met. I think one chaps name was Joe, he took a real interest in the kids and later on in the bar had remembered Wilbas name, much to her excitement.
Personal touches like that make a stay especially when traveling with kids. In reception they had created a Disney treasure hunt with characters all over the hotel , it took us a while but the boy loved it Wilba was more excited about tearing down the corridors in her Pjs. I was not as overjoyed when I snook down in mine to get his prize only to be greeted by a number of smartly dressed party-goers attending a birthday bash in the function room 😳 when we got to the room we were greeted by two towel swans and a handwritten birthday card from the managers… I mean that’s a bit special isn’t it , I’ve stayed in some classy joints but never got a card. They had also laid out the kids bed with biscuits and hot chocolate. We then headed to the pool which was lovely I evened managed to sit in the bubbles for 2 mins. After a mad dash back to the room this time because I’d forgotten to pack a nappy 🙄we were pooped so decided to get room service. Even better was we were able to collect it from the bar itself to avoid the surcharge 👍 the food was OK, not as good as our Norwich branch in my opinion, we get bigger portions with free veg. I was a little sad that I had to pay £1 for some beans even more so when I had to go back to the bar (in my pj’s) as they hadn’t put them on 😡
With belly’s full all was going well and after a lot of bedroom gymnastics (not the sexy kind) the kids were knackered and we were all ready for an early night ready for the zoo. I’d spoke too soon. After a number of gurgling noises from Wilba and putred burps those goddam £1 beans were back up and in my pool fresh hair. Initially (after I scraped the vom off their lovely crisp white sheets) I thought it must have been all the bed bouncing but after 3 more towels ended up in the tub I thought our zoo trip was fated. Luckily super Sue my bestie came to the rescue the next morning by whisking the boy and Andy off to the zoo so me and Wilba could catch up on a bit of sleep and fingers crossed meet them later. By 10am Wilba seemed better – and had gone full Andrex as puppy on the hotel bog roll. So I got her clothes on and packed up. I looked round and Wilba was frozen at the door… she winced and let out the most horrid glugging shart I have ever heard. I dived towards her in a bid to save the vest but alas it was too late and had blown through 2 layers with ease. With only one spare change of clothes for both me and willow left I peeled off the phooey garments, plopped willow in the sink and de-robed to my pants. After a wash and another towel banished to the tub we retreated to the bed and CBeebies. We did eventually make it to the zoo which is one of the prettiest I’ve ever been too. The park itself is well laid out and although large doesn’t feel as far to walk given the undulating landscape (however it may not be as easy for wheelchairs). It’s clean and has lovely black wooden buildings. There’s lots of places to eat and drink and lots of indoors areas too if the weather’s not too good. The animals themselves are amazing, Auntie sue was found of the gorilla who had a thing for pregnant ladies – she’s not currently with child😆, I loved the hippos, willow the train ride and Ethan the indoor play 🙄 Andy likes penguins – One of our first dates was to a zoo and Andy thought the bubbles on their backs as they swam were from farts. What’s that you say? He’s a keeper ! 😂😂😘
One of the best thing about Colchester Zoo is how interactive it is you are able to get up close and personal with many of the animals and even feed big animals like the giraffes and elephants (make sure you get their early though) they have also got lots of interactive exhibitions and costumes characters for the kids to cuddle. I will definitely be returning, just hopefully next time in a matching outfit 😂😂👍
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