Our time at Monarto Zoo

18th Nov 2015

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We recently experienced Monarto Zoo for the very first time! It is somewhere I have wanted to go for a long time, but pre-kids I never got around to it and since I had them I have been waiting until I thought they were the right age to enjoy it. Now aged 5 and nearly 4 I thought it was a good time to take them. Here’s how our visit went…

Once we had arrived at Monarto we entered the main building where we were given the information on where we could catch the bus to see the animals, what time the next one was etc., where all the facilities were and what we could look at on foot if we chose to.

We decided to visit the cafe and get some lunch while we waited for the next bus. The cafe is in the same building as the information desk and serves everything from freshly made salad wraps to pies and hot meals. They also have a range of cool and hot drinks, biscuits and cakes. We purchased salad wraps and drinks and everything we had was very nice.

There are tables around the zoo for you to sit and eat if you take your own food or get takeaway from the cafe.

There are some large life-like animal cut outs and the Meerkat enclosure right near the bus stop, so the kids were happy and occupied while we were waiting.

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When the bus arrived and we all took our seats I was pleased to discover we had a guide to talk to us about everything we were seeing. Our guide was friendly and informative and the information was enjoyed by both adults and kids.

The Zoo has several separate sections to visit as you go around and at each section the length of time you stop and where exactly you stop is dependent on what the animals are up to at that particular time.  I thought it was really nice to see the animals in vast open spaces that are as close to possible as their natural environments, it was certainly very different to any other Zoo experience that I have had.

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I didn’t take my pram because I wasn’t sure about getting it on the bus, but I noticed another family had there’s stored under the bus for when they wanted to get off.

The bus takes about an hour to get around, but you can get off at different stops along the way and get on the next bus when you are ready, on our visit they were running every half hour but in peak periods they run every 15 minutes.

There are a number of viewing platforms at different locations and these have information on the animals which is really interesting and my kids enjoyed doing such things as comparing their height to that of a chimp! At these platforms there are toilet facilities and some have vending machines for drinks.

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We stayed on the bus on our visit, firstly because I wasn’t familiar with the set-up of the Zoo, secondly because it was quite windy and cool on the day we visited, so it was nicer to view the animals from the comfort of the bus! We walked down to the chimp enclosure once we got off the bus and it was enjoyable to see them up close, so I think on our next visit we will plan to get off the bus at a couple of places.

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In addition to all the animals you see around the zoo there also some interesting skeletons and animal skins in the visitor information centre, my kids found these quite interesting.

We finished our Monarto experience with a visit to the gift shop which is located in the main building. My kids selected a rubber snake (despite my suggestions of something else!) and a teddy Meerkat (much nicer than the snake!) these were a small price to pay for occupying them on the drive home!

We all really enjoyed our trip to Monarto and we will definitely be visiting again soon.

If you would like some info on Monarto including open hours and entry fees you can get it here.

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