If you want to go to a zoo, look no further than Colchester. After spending a day there, I can safely say that it has to be the best zoo in the country. Yes, it does take a little longer to get to than London Zoo (if your from London!) but it is certainly worth the trip. The closeness you can get to the animals is just fantastic - really breath taking!
Also, some zoos you go to can have miles of empty space with lots of walking with nothing to see. But not here! At Colchester, you are constantly seeing things - and I mean constantly! The guys who set this up certainly did a good job. Each exhibit is next to each other with little (or no) space between them. Just amazing!
Another amazing thing about Colchester Zoo is the strange but true phenomenon that ALL the animals are actually doing something - not just sleeping! I'm not sure why this is but it's really special. Not only do you see the animals close up, but more often than not, they are in some kind of interesting action. I noticed many of the wild animals walking round, running, jumping - it was incredible! I even saw (see photo below) of a chimp (at least I think that's what he was!) dancing and jumping in the air towards his daddy as he put his hands over his head! And that was just one exhibit out of what appeared to be loads!
Then comes the creepy crawlies - which you can touch!!! Just unbelievable. They have people from the zoo that actually put these creatures (which are by no means small) on your hand - if you wish! Then comes the turtles which you can get so close to that you can even see the reflection of yourself in their eyes - check the photos for yourself!
Did I mention the bird cage that you can actually walk inside? Well, you can! And don't be surprised if you find these exotic birds landing on your head! It was amazing. Not painful at all but very funny. They tended to land on anyone they took a liking to.
Same thing for the butterfly house - no bars or windows between you and them.
I must also add something very unusual about the snakes - the big killer ones - they were swimming around constantly sticking their head above and below the water - something I have never seen before in a zoo - their usually just sleeping the whole time!
Feeding time was just unspeakable - the most dangerous animal in the Zoo (which isn't what you might expect it to be) was the highlight. A large portion of fresh red meat was placed in the den - what followed is something you have got to see for yourself. And to find out what this animal is (the only animal capable of killing a lion) you will have to go their. I will say one thing though - this particular animal has a jaw so powerful that it can easily crush bone. In fact, when this animal consumes it's prey, it leaves nothing. Not a single thing is left.
A friend of mine recommended this zoo to me as saying it was better than any other zoo in the country. All I can say is, he was absolutely correct.
I should add one point - if I remember correctly, you can buy a yearly pass for the cost of 2 or 3 tickets - which, if you like zoos, and a great day out with the family, I would highly HIGHLY recommend.