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Matt Dorey

A bird is sitting on the grass with a kite

Mazes! Lions! Tigers..! Oh My!

We met up with my sister Tilli and her family at Longleat for the day. They have annual passes so we were able to get our tickets at a discount. It's expensive but you can get a lot out of a day there. Take a picnic though as the food is expensive or junk food, and often both.

Ingrid and I got lost in the maze. I didn't think we would but once inside I forgot all my maze solving techniques! I think it was the first time I'd ever been in a proper maze and with all the animals to see too, it felt as though there wasn't enough time to dedicate to properly solving it.

The anteaters impressed me. And of course meerkats are always fun to see. The monkeys reminded me of seeing them run through the trees in Salvador, while the smell of the Penguin exhibit reminded me of the boat trip out to the Ballestas islands. Even at a thousandth of the intensity, Penguin guano is not a scent to be taken lightly.

After this we took a ride in the carousel and delighted in Ellie's love of spinning around in the waltzer-like cars. A love of merry-go-rounds is definitely something that she gets from her mum. I can remember her loving to spin fast in the park, a shame that she can't take it these days! 😉

Following an ice cream we went our separate ways and did the safari park tour. We were lucky that the first true sunshine of the day had come out and that it was not too busy driving through. We got obstructed by some chippy deer and by some rather obnoxious cattle with big enough horns for us to wait for them to pass.

Zoos are weird places. I agree with them because it's good to preserve rare animals, but I also disagree with the circumstances that require zoos to exist. The lions and tigers seemed a little bored. Perhaps it's because the audio narration adds so much drama, rightly reminding you not to get out of the car because they'd eat you.

And yet the whole thing feels rather surreal and unnatural. Because you are queuing behind other cars all the time and because there are gates that halt the flow of traffic, it feels like an incredibly surreal commute. The animals are beautiful though you can't help but feel they should be out in the wild somewhere.

Anyway, it was a great day out despite those feelings and it was lovely to see Tilli, Chris, Ellie and Ted. We didn't get to see Longleat house so there's a chance we may be back again some time in the future. Erotic tapestries FTW! To conclude, here's an enormous gallery of photos!

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