GRAND DAYS OUT

Heard the one about the grand­par­ents who took a small boy to the zoo and came home with a tiger in the car? Derek James re­ports.

Let's Talk - - CONTENT -

See the tigers at Banham Zoo

We en­tered Banham Zoo with a four-year-old boy and re-ap­peared sev­eral hours later with a fe­ro­cious tiger, but one who was laugh­ing and smil­ing be­tween roars and proudly wear­ing a medal.

This was a spe­cial In­ter­na­tional Tiger Day – to raise aware­ness and help th­ese en­dan­gered an­i­mals - at the at­trac­tion which has been part of our lives since 1968.

And our grand­son Gabriel had turned into a tiger.

Hands up all those read­ing this who have been to Banham Zoo in south Nor­folk over the years as chil­dren, with chil­dren or grand­chil­dren or just on your own.

And re­mem­ber, you don’t have to be young to have a good time. Why should they have all the fun?

I first vis­ited Banham when work­ing as a “cub” – get it? - re­porter in the 1960s. I was told about the plans to open a zoo but my ed­i­tor said he didn’t think it

would be around for very long. . . He was wrong.

All th­ese years later it has be­come one of the best zoos and most­loved at­trac­tions in the whole of East Anglia, and fa­mous across the coun­try, de­light­ing one gen­er­a­tion af­ter the next.

It re­mains pop­u­lar be­cause it treats the an­i­mals and birds with the ut­most re­spect and does a great deal of work help­ing wildlife while mak­ing sure it of­fers a day to re­mem­ber.

Banham Zoo is part of the Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of East Anglia, and sup­ports an­i­mal wel­fare and ed­u­ca­tion along with in­ter­na­tional con­ser­va­tion. Some of the an­i­mals in their care are among the most en­dan­gered in the world and the zoo is in­volved with con­ser­va­tion pro­grammes to safe­guard them for the fu­ture of our planet.

Gone are the days of large an­i­mals prowl­ing in small cages. Banham gives its res­i­dents – from furry lit­tle rats to ma­jes­tic gi­raffes – five-star treat­ment.

We went along to see for our­selves on Tiger Day with grand­son Gabriel and his young cousins Archie and Ruby. It was a won­der­ful day out.

With 50 acres of park­land and gar­dens and var­i­ous at­trac­tions to ex­plore you need to take your time.

There are more than 2,000 an­i­mals and birds, along with an ac­tiv­i­ties and ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre, but it is best to take a ride on the sa­fari road train to get your bear­ings when you ar­rive so you can be told where ev­ery­thing is.

There are also bird of prey dis­plays, feed­ing talks, an Aus­tralian Pad­dock, a Penguin Cove, a Farm Barn, Wood­land Walk and so on. And the staff are also very friendly and help­ful.

Our young com­pan­ions loved ev­ery minute of the day out, not even cry­ing when they fell over while run­ning to the var­i­ous young ex­plorer sta­tions to get their stamps for a medal at the end of the day.

Banham Zoo is a great day out. Even I was tempted to get my face painted on Tiger Day . . . but I didn’t want to scare the an­i­mals.

The next spe­cial day is Le­mur Love as the zoo goes loopy for lemurs as part of the World Le­mur Fes­ti­val, be­tween Oc­to­ber 21 and 29.

I may see you there. I reckon that Banham is boo­ti­ful.

All aboard the Banham ex­press for a great day out. Cousins Gabriel and Archie with Brid­gette James.

Is it a tiger? No, it’s Gabriel with ears to match his new face.

Grandpa Derek James and Gabriel ad­mir­ing the ze­bra at Banham.

Home to bed ! And I’ve got the medal to show it was a per­fect day out.

One of the star at­trac­tions at Banham Zoo, a mag­nif­i­cent tiger.

Only us! Cousins Archie and Gabriel hav­ing fun at Banham Zoo.

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