Families of the North and beyond can rejoice this Easter half term at more creative animal antics than you can shake a stick at. Demonstrating its committment to being one of the best conservation attractions in the world (and England’s top attraction outside London to boot), Chester Zoo has put together a joyous programme of inspiring creative learning experiences this spring. Expect to experience both much-loved and brand new animal tales through dance, music, drawing, storytelling and playful shenanigans galore.
Navigate your way around the Zoo with a special storytelling trail from recent bestselling book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks What The Ladybird Heard on Holiday. Find the snapping crocs, roaring lions and howling monkeys from the story and pick up drawing tips on the way. On Saturday 7 April there’s the chance to join Lydia Monks herself in interactive illustration workshops. Learn top tips for drawing incredible characters, ask all the questions and get those much-loved books signed.
For the weeniest explorers, Little Monkeys morning story time sessions each day take place in story teepees complete with books, dress-up and crafts. Don’t miss sing-along stories with Zoo Rangers on 27 March and 10 April and storytelling in extraordinary locations such as The Tropical Realm and close to the Black Rhinos.
On wet days there is Puddle Science where young scientists can complete a special puddle map. With the help of tape measures, white coats and clipboards, record some very important key performance indicators such splashability, size, depth and even duck-to-puddle ratios to help the zoo’s “Puddle Experts”.
Older kids meanwhile won’t want to miss the chance to meet zoologist and TV presenter Jess French (of Minibeasts Adventure with Jess fame) who will be revealing the wierd and wonderful world of insects on 31 March at 11am.
Between 28 March and 12 April, look out for Stories To Save The World with the curious Professor Jigget and his colleague, Dr Methera, where the audience help to create the adventure and no two stories are the same. Between 3 and 8 April, there’s the chance to hunt for a secret explorer storyteller too, who will be popping up to tell tales from around the world of the weirdest and most wonderful creatures in the zoo.
On 3 and 9 April don’t miss The Orangutan – a Search For Survival Through the Trees – a mesmerising experience set in the Zoo’s Islands zone, with Zoo Ranger Phil and an ensemble from the Halle. An original Chester Zoo story revealing a day in the life of an orangutan in Borneo will be brought to life as a musical adventure.
Throw some shapes on 14 and 15 April in a Giraffe Dance Workshop inspired by the bestselling book Giraffes Can’t Dance. Learn more about the story of Gerald the giraffe, dance the warthog waltz and the rhino rock and roll with a professional dance team.
With the chance to put your feet up for a while and watch favourite animal films each day such as Jungle Book and Madagascar, we love that all paces have been considered (from high energy to low and all the volumes in between).
Don’t miss the Madagascar Play Space (one of the greatest adventure playgrounds in the North) and play challenges across the expanse of the zoo such as fluttering like a butterfly, stomping like a rhino and feats of balance in the flamingo and gibbon areas.