Going to the zoo

by Kirsty Thorpe, The Norticle Issue 4

“There was a crocodile, an orangutan, a slithering snake and an eagle that flies… a rabbit, a beaver, a crazy elephant!” (and yes, we’re sorry for getting that song stuck in your head), but there were all those animals and more to see at Colchester Zoo.

Every day, around 250 Scouts and Guides leave the NORJAM 2018 site by coach to spend a day at Colchester Zoo. We visited yesterday, along with participants and adults from the 80s sub camp.

One of the first animals Scouts and Guides spotted on entering the Zoo were the red pandas. As these animals are rare, they attract a lot of attention and shrieks of delight and amazement were heard as a group of Scouts spotted the animal for the first time!

For lots of participants, the highlight of the day was being able to feed the Giraffes and Elephants in the ‘Kingdom of the Wild’ exhibit area, by hand.

Everyone who visits the zoo can feed the Giraffes at either 12.15 or 2.15pm, or the Elephants at 12.30 or 2.30pm. We spoke to a group of Guides just after feeding the Giraffes and ‘Ellie the Elephant’. Courtney, 17, said “It was weird. The Giraffe’s tongues curled and look like an ice cream cone!” Anya, 16, said: “It was really good and something different – their tongues are really funny.”

Around every corner is the opportunity to get close to a different and exciting animal, ranging from Zebras to Otters to Pygmy Hippos. Rosie, 12, said: “The Otters were my favourite animals – they were really funny to watch and the baby ones are really cute.”

As well as visiting the animals in their exhibits, you can also get up close and personal with animals on viewing platforms and speak to zoo keepers to find out more about the different animals, their habitats, what they eat and their lifestyle.

Everyone we saw at the zoo was having a great day, many visiting a new place and seeing new and unusual animals they had never encountered before. Thomas, 10, said “It was really cool, I’ve never been here and I’ve never seen wallabies before.”

It isn’t just NORJAM participants at the Zoo, as there were lots of people from the local area enjoying their summer holidays with the animals too.

It was great to hear comments about how smart and well behaved all from NORJAM 2018 were.