Visited on Bank Holiday Monday, and was glad to see that an early start was worth it - there was barely any queue at 9.45am, so we got straight in. The parking had been stress free too, but if the main car park fills there's the overflow car park on Clifton Downs.
The zoo itself was great. The layout is reasonably logical, and the collection of animals is pretty varied and often esoteric - great to see okapis and cassowaries, as they're not that common in zoos. The pair of Asiatic lions were grumpy looking, but then lions always are - their enclosure was pretty sizable and was filled with diversions. The meerkats were obviously cute, but it was the gorillas that really sold me on the zoo. The gorilla enclosure is huge, and includes a building with a reinforced glass ceiling, allowing you to be underneath a silverback as it chows down on a selection of fruit. It was quite a sight to see a keeper handing fruit to a giant ape, right above our heads. The gorilla eyed us with disinterest, but in the brief moments of eye contact (you really very close to them) it was easy to spot that glimmer of sentience that they have.
The penguin enclosure was similarly great - really well designed, with a little track around the edge that the penguins waddle speedily around, at head height for visitors, allowing us to get that little bit closer to them.
However, the cafe was crowded, and had only the one queue for drinks and food, which seemed a little short-sighted, and there were one-too-many vending machines dotted around, but generally the park was a great day out.
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