It's June, it's that time again, time to report back about the day we celebrated the day we got married. For the benefit of those keeping count (and don't read titles) this was the fourth. This time Mrs Jones and I spent it in the Land of the Lions in.... London! London zoo to be exact, at the world’s oldest scientific zoo's newest exhibit that not only (decoratively) transports visitors to India’s vibrant Sasan Gir to get a little bit closer to the majestic, mighty Asiatic lions but also the chance to sleep “within roaring distance” of them!
Having long been fascinated with animals and watching copious amounts
of television in my lifetime London Zoo is very familiar to me but to
be perfectly honest I had never actually visited before. So finally,
after 30+ years I finally had the chance to visit Jumbo the
elephant's old stomping ground! We spent a hot day navigating through
parties of school children seeing the wonderful array of animals the
zoo has on offer. Being the nerd that I am I would stop at familiar
points of interest such as the Reptile House, the Raven’s Cage
(constructed in 1829), the grade two listed Penguin Pool and of
course the Snowdon Aviary,
anteaters and fibreglass dinosaurs...) and then after “oooh-ing" and "aaaaahhh-ing"
over Marilyn the two-toed sloth's uncharacteristic 'speedy'
constitutional around their jungle environment and the extremely
photogenic otter family over at the Otter Holt we made our way to
the Gir Lion Lodge to 'check-in'.
Once we had settled in, glass of complimentary Prosecco in
hand we were given an exclusive after-hours tours of the Zoo offering
a glimpse of what it's like at the zoo once the public have left by
the friendly, knowledgeable keepers. We met
Bhanu and lionesses Indi, Rubi and Heidi learning more about them,
their conservation and their upkeep. Interestingly as part of the
lions enrichment, sacks soaked in unwanted perfume are given to the
lions with Old Spice being a particular favourite (a little
discouraging as its also my favourite brand of aftershave and I was
wearing it at the time...). We then made our way around the zoo and
some of the enclosures and even had chance to feed Thug and Nicky the
pygmy hippos before having our own delicious two-course dinner. Once
we had finished our puddings we toasted our anniversary (and the
birthday of another guest) we had another 'mooch' around meeting two
of the zoo's nocturnal residents which I will not tell you about
because its meant to be a secret... but they were delightful!
The next morning was fantastic! I
normally associate the bustling sounds of cars, sirens and
Ring Necked Parakeets with waking up in London so being woken to the
sound of macaws, flamingos and lions was a new one on me! I had a
quiet sit down on the 'private veranda' before we went to have our
Full English breakfast before visiting the old elephant house to see
where all the herbaceous animal's meals are prepared. Some Tapirs and
gibbons followed before we went back to “oooh"
and "aaaaahhh" some more at the two-toed sloth's and
otters (not me you understand, but Mrs Jones, although I did make a
similar sound when we briefly saw the giant anteaters roaming their
enclosure before a fresh party of school children mobbed to the
fence) and that was our sunset, after-dark and early morning
excursion to London zoo that I highly recommend, as always I hope
this was of interest!
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.