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to take kids to the zoo?

(84 Posts)
paperdress Wed 30-Oct-13 19:45:32

I remember feeling stridently opposed to animals in captivity as an earnest teen, then spent a few decades not really giving zoos a second thought but now i find myself considering a b'day visit to the zoo for DC.
Part of me feels the same as i did all those years ago; a bit queasy and outraged at wild animals in small enclosures and away from their natural habitat. But part of me sees zoos as part of the DC's storybook/telly landscape, a normal and ok thing for kids to engage with.
What to do?

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 08:48:24


mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 08:48:36

oh sorry caps locked

Pogosticks Thu 31-Oct-13 08:51:46

Which zoo? I went to Twycross expecting lots of conservation but they had a tiger pacing repetitively around a little patch of grass and I vowed never again.

livinginwonderland Thu 31-Oct-13 08:56:02

It depends - some zoos are great. Colchester is very good and I love the new enclosures at London Zoo as well.

Someone mentioned South Lakes - eh. Good at first glance, but David Gill has been accused of lots of dodgy practises. For example, Google Kadi the tiger cub who vanished (killed by her mother when he reintroduced them to make Kadi's enclosure a snow leopard enclosure). They make a big deal about tiger conservation but Kadi shared her outdoor space with the African lions, and now the leopards do the same (on a rotating basis, obviously).

Bunbaker Thu 31-Oct-13 08:58:57

Twycross zoo isn't great I agree. Chester, Whipsnade and Yorkshire Wildlife Park are much better.

livinginwonderland Thu 31-Oct-13 08:59:47

Oh, Gill told everyone that Kadi had been moved to another zoo, but no other zoo/wildlife park recieved a Sumatran tiger at the time. The truth was revealed on Cumbrian news after that zoo worker got mauled to death there.

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 09:02:07

I was just going to say about the zoo worker from south lakes I am sure he had a special or programme on animal planet

JumpingJackSprat Thu 31-Oct-13 09:04:11

Port Lympne and howletts are pretty good. .. One of them sent their entire gorilla troop ball to the wild and they are constantly sending captive bred ^ rhinos back to the wild. All their giraffes and antelope type things all l live in a massive field which you go through on a tractor which is a big improvement on a few years ago. Dublin zoo was good to. I hatedLondon zoo when I went about ten years ago Is seemed to be more about the humans than the animals. I learned about sea world h type places and how they get the star attractions I will never ever go somewhere that exploits whales and dolphins.

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Thu 31-Oct-13 09:06:18

Zoos give zoologists and vets an opportunity to study animals at close quarters and learn about their physiology and behaviour. They can then use this knowledge to help support the wild populations of these animals in their natural habitats and protect and conserve the species.
It costs money to complete these studies and house these animals, most of which cannot be reintroduced into the wild. One of the easiest ways to raise money to pay for conservation projects and fund research is to admit members of the public into zoos and charge them to see the animals.
This is why I visit zoos and take my DC to visit zoos.

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 09:10:51

I would love to go to howletts i love gorillas

Bunbaker Thu 31-Oct-13 09:17:32

Wasn't Roar filmed at Port Lympne and Howletts? DD used to watch this programme and the zoos looked pretty animal friendly to me.

JumpinJackSprat They have a similar thing at Whipsnade where you get a little train through fields of animals.

Whipsnade is the biggest zoo in the UK because the animals have the most space. There is even a free bus service that drives around it for when your legs get tired.

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 09:31:29

yes they were bunbaker i may have watched roar on my own

elfycat Thu 31-Oct-13 09:34:22

We have passes to Banham Zoo/Africa Alive and they have large enclosures. The conservation messages are good and they have larger enclosures with breeding animals. Banham had 2 tiger cubs born this year and there's a species of lemur that they have the best record of captive breeding (throughout Europe) and had the only known twins to survive in captivity.

We try to help our young DDs understand why conservation is necessary. It's a necessary evil; If we didn't have zoos many of these animals would only be significant in history books.

Bunbaker Thu 31-Oct-13 09:37:36

I might have done on occasion mrsjay grin

stopgap Thu 31-Oct-13 10:56:18

I feel the same way. I have taken DS to the small zoo in Central Park quite a bit, limiting it to the domestic animals petting zoo (the goats are always bouncing around and seem happy to be fed by the kids) but I just can't bring myself to visit the Bronx Zoo, even though it's set on 250 acres and is supposedly "very good".

I would never change my mind about circuses, though.

Strumpetron Thu 31-Oct-13 11:01:13

I like Chester Zoo because they do massive amounts for conservation.

Twattyzombiebollocks Thu 31-Oct-13 12:26:55

Zoo animals aren't wild animals though, most are bred in captivity, so would last, say, about a week in the wild. Zoos are also an excellent place to learn about habitat conservation and endangered species. Go to the zoo and have some fun! We went to chester zoo last weekend and it was fantastic, animals all well kept, content, none exhibiting stressed behaviours that I could see.
Things have improved dramatically in recent years.

WilsonFrickett Thu 31-Oct-13 12:32:54

I hate zoos. I have visited a 'good' zoo recently and it didn't change my mind. I won't go again.

It is of course completely up to you if you want to take your DC, but equally it is not compulsory. I have let DS go on a school trip to the zoo (which is how I ended up there, long story, DS injured himself on the way to school and the only way he could go was if I went with) and I would let others take him to the zoo, but I won't be going back again.

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 12:43:25

I might have done on occasion mrsjay

it used to be on at 8 am I used to have it on until dds said can you switch it over to the news so we can see the time grin

I would not go. I hate seeing animals in cages and get upset if there is one that looks sad. neither of mine were all that bothered and were not terribly excited by the zoo when they went on a nursery trip, we found nicer places to go.

can't understand the whole argument that they do conservation, maybe they do but they still keep animals in cages.

mrsjay Thu 31-Oct-13 12:52:08

stepaway what do yout hink the zoos should do with their animals and not all are in cages they do have fences round them ? everybody is entitled to their opinons on zoos but I never know what people expect zoos to do

Callani Thu 31-Oct-13 13:35:22

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset is fantastic if you're near there - all the animals are rescues from circuses / concrete zoos / tourist attractions and what not so they're all living far better lives than they would be doing otherwise and are rehabilitated to live back in social groups like they would in the wild.

Might not be the best for variety but it's a truly wonderful thing they are doing IMO.

Bunbaker Thu 31-Oct-13 13:54:49

This is one of the reasons we still need zoos. Those lions would have had to be put down as they wouldn't be able to cope with living in the wild.

Rhiana1979 Thu 31-Oct-13 14:22:50

Chester Zoo is one of my favourite places in the world and I cannot wait until DD is old enough to walk around so we can take her.

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