It’s 9pm and we’re just leaving a restaurant that sits by the side of Chessington World of Adventure, the theme park we spent 8 hours at today. My son and his friend, who are both chattering in the back of the car, still seem to have plenty of energy unlike us adults, it’s a pity they can’t drive us home.
The boys have had a fantastic day, having been on all the major rides the park has to offer; this is in stark contrast to our last visit only two years ago when I went on most of the rides on my own. The park started out originally as a zoo, and still has a variety of interesting exhibits though that’s not what draws the public in, the rollercoasters and associated rides first opened twenty five years ago are the main pull these days.
I could talk endlessly about the various rides, all which were great fun but it’s actually the animals I wanted to keep going back too, even without my cameras, though you might have already guessed this.
The Park has a whoop of gorillas(yes, that is one of the collective noun for gorilla) including a very impressive Silverback who was lying comfortably in a bed of straw, soaking up the sun surrounded by his family including two young offspring,which are always an indication that the animals are healthy and happy. As with many of the other zoos and menageries we’ve visited, the next few enclosures were displaying the same type of exhibits… grass, bushes, a water feature and a wooden dias. I’ve looked in many, many field guides over the years but haven’t found the name of these creatures… I’m starting to think they don’t exist and what we’re actually looking at are empty cages. Oh, right… we are.
The empty cages play home to Sumatran tigers, one of the smaller of the tiger family, though this is of course a relative (in more ways than one) comparison, they’re still large enough so that I wouldn’t want to meet one down a dark alley (please excuse this cumbersome sentence, Dear Reader, it’s been a long day and I’m trying to compose my blog on my phone, in the car, on the motorway with two chattering boys in the back of the car).
Next to the empty tiger enclosure were the Asiatic Lions who were at least out but, of course, were doing what lions, whether from Asia or Africa, do during the day.. sleeping. When you’ve spent years trying to photograph the big cats, all who are more active during the night, you start to appreciate any and all feline photos that show them not in a recumbent poses.
Next was a sleeping Persian Leopard, then a drowsy binturong and finally a slumbering fossa. I suppose, if I had brought my camera gear, I might have been able to sell any photos to bed manufacturers.
*That’s evidently what this lion (African not Asian) thought when woken up by the sound of numerous camera shutters clicking away.