A thing happened today that has not happened in countless years. Older folk speak in hushed tones of memories of sunshine, often with sea and sand and surf. The youth dismissed these recollections as nothing more than the creations of brains addled by age – but today the ones that went before were vindicated, for today was a beautiful, gorgeous, sunny, warm, marvellous May Bank Holiday.
Well, I jest, but in truth there is something of an expectation over here the May Day Bank Holiday (first Monday of May) – along with all other bank holiday weekends – brings with it a guarantee of bad weather. Except this weekend has been wonderful, and today in particular was everything one could want. So we took advantage of a day when neither of us was working and decided to do a day-trip with Melian (11 months this week!) to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. This wonderful place combines adventure park, petting farm, and zoo all in one, and we all had a great time.
In this place one can see a range of animals from those of the farmyard (pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits) to those of the slightly more exotic farmyard (llamas, alpacas, capybara, camels), to those of the zoo (tigers, baboons, meerkats, giraffes), and many more. The entire place is very well put together (see the map) near the entrance is the largest play area for children, and also most of those animals of the ordinary farmyard and whose environments need to be more closely controlled (like reptiles). Beyond this area though were a large number of paddocks containing various different animals, sometimes only one species to a paddock, sometimes several (so zebras, giraffe, and ostrich all appeared to be together, for example). There was a circuit you could walk which essentially ensured you would visit everything, and at many points along the way there were more play areas for children and tables and chairs to sit. Also present was an abundance of grassy areas one could also plonk down a blanket and picnic – which is what we did.
The highlight of the day however was not those creatures from far away places, though I found the baboons fascinating, especially because there was also a baby baboon who was just adorably cute – and Melian thought so too. No, the star of the show was a shire horse, standing almost motionless in the heat of the day. Melian was ecstatic. Ever since she was a few weeks old – watching Olympic dressage on the tv – Melian seemed to form a connection with horses. This is now only the second time she has seen a horse in the flesh, and only the first time she was close, and she was entranced. Absolutely and utterly overtaken with emotion. At moments she got so wrapped up in the moment she stopped kicking her legs in excitement, so taken was she that there was a horse right there in front of her. It was a very special moment that I shall treasure.
Of course we did lots more than just look at a horse – Melian was excited by so many things from the small (meerkats) to the large (giraffe). It was a really good day, and I strongly suspect we will be coming back in a year or two. The entry price (£13 per adult, £9.50 per child though under 2s are free) is well worth it. I can thoroughly recommend it. A very good day out.