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Amazona Zoo, Cromer

09/04/2015

Mara & BabiesMara & BabiesAnyone who reads my blog will know I love a good zoo, there are many reasons for this, the animals, the walking, the fresh air and now since we have had L the toddler entertainment factor!

On Tuesday we went to Amazona Zoo in Cromer, it is a lovely zoo, neat and compact with lovely enclosures and a great selection of animals to see. As well as the animals there is a cafe, gift shop, outdoor play area, air pillows and soft play indoors. It is well signed and easy to find, with plenty of parking and great access, we had the pushchair and were able to go everywhere with ease, yes there were some hills but the paths were brilliant ad very well kept. As well as all this, we were graced with brilliant weather, a pretty perfect set up for a family day out. 

From the second we entered the zoo we started having fun, the staff at the gates were friendly and helpful and almost immediately we were met with nesting ducks hiding in some bamboo planters, even with far more exotic creatures on show there is something very charming about a nesting duck, warms your heart. Moments later we came across a free roaming Mara with her two babies, I was slightly concerned L would chase them, but he was just intrigued and somehow was aware not to cross the rope barriers, but the little baby Mara's were also very curious about him and got really close. All over the zoo you will see these beautiful creatures as the move about and it is lovely that you can get close and that they are not in an enclosure. 

RheaRheaAs you walk round the zoo there are paths guiding your round every enclosure so you don't miss a thing, L loved the birds especially the parrots, some of whom spoke to us, he was really intrigued by the monkeys and the tapirs as well. We waked round the whole zoo, some parts several times, as well as the animals he also really liked the bridges (there are a few) so he had to walk back and forth over them a few times and of course there was no walking past the play area without a pit stop for a play, I think he was a little upset there weren't steps up to the slide that he could do himself, only cargo nets, but he soon got over that.  He is still far too young to use the air pillows and quite frankly we are far too old, it was very tempting for all of though. They looked like so much fun, think bouncy castle without walls, or huge trampoline without springs, these are literally giant air filled cushions set into a huge sand pit for brilliant bouncing fun. 

Everything was set up with areas L could view from without needing to be lifted up which was really nice and because the paths were great he could toddle everywhere with ease whilst I pushed his chair ready for when he got too tired. There were also a lot of open spaces for running about and plenty of tables and benches for climbing, sorry, eating at. There is also a lot of water, ponds and streams, which really make for an attractive zoo and provide excellent areas for the animals to live and play. 

Bird Watching Bird Watching We had lunch at the Jungle Cafe, it offers food to eat in or take out, which I wish we had noticed before we ate as we would have made the most of the fab weather and all those picnic tables. There is a good choice of food on offer, both hot and cold, at to be expected prices. The cafe has a lovely outdoors balcony overlooking the ponds which has a few tables as well as the indoor area. It doesn't seat huge volumes and at peak times I could see this being a problem, I would have liked to have seen a few more high chairs and for the tables to have been wiped down, but other than that we really enjoyed our lunch, we both just went for simple pre-packed sandwiches but they were great, clearly very well sourced and when I saw someone's burger go passed and someone else's soup I got a bit of food envy. There are also plenty of pots of crayons on the side with colouring sheets for the kids which is always a nice touch.

The baby changing facilities are adequate, there is a changing table in the disabled toilets, meaning there is plenty of space and also adult facilities.

After lunch we headed to the soft play area, Jungle Tumbles, apart from the fact you have to got through the gift shop to get to it, which is either a genius move or a really cruel one, depending on the mood of your child that day, we were really impressed with it. It is clean, had loads of seats for parents and looked like so much fun. It has a split off area for younger children that L loved, he swam in the ball pit, bounced on the trampoline, played with the wall puzzle and the various air games for the soft balls, he also span like a crazy thing on a little merry go round affair. I loved the fact they had installed a hot drinks machine, just a simple touch but really so valued, getting to sit down with a hot choc while the kids go crazy playing is a welcome relief!

After a good old play we went for a final walk around the zoo before getting ready to leave. We really had an excellent time and I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Amazona to anyone, not only is it a great zoo where you can easily while away the day, it's in a great location by the coast for those looking to do a bit more. We spent nearly three hours there, which with an 18 month old is impressive and L was so exhausted he slept the whole way home, perfect. At £11.50 per adult and £8.50 a child it offers great value for money and the season ticket prices are unbelievable if you are lucky enough to be local and able to visit regularly. 

For more pictures head over to my Pinterest page where you will find a board with images from our day. 

Disclaimer, we were given free entry to Amazona in exchange for this review, all opinions are my own honest thoughts about the day. 

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