When planning what we were going to do with our week in Norfolk I knew that Banham Zoo had to feature. It was somewhere I visited a lot in my childhood, from weekend outings with my family to trips with school and the Brownies yet I hadn't been for years.
Simon was a little less enthusiastic at the thought of spending our day looking at animals. Out of all of our planned activities this was probably the one he was least looking forward to.
There was some sun on the forecast, so being proper holidaymakers we threw on our shorts and headed out for an adventure.
Banham Zoo first opened in 1986 and in the last year has become a Charity under the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), advancing the zoo in wildlife and animal conservation, animal welfare and education. No one likes to see animals put into cramped cages and poorly treated but at Banham the enclosures are absolutely huge and the animals are well looked after.
The Zoo is small and very manageable which we really loved because it meant we got to go round it all and picked out which animals to go and see twice. It also has plenty to keep the whole family entertained with a road train running round the Zoo and an aerial obstacle course as well as animal feeding and talks scheduled throughout the day.
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before but I love giraffes, they're my favourite animal and I always love the opportunity to go and see them. The giraffes arrived at Banham Zoo in 2008 (the year I left Norfolk and moved to London ... typical!) so this trip was the first time that I'd seen them. The enclosure is fantastic with a high board walk on one side giving visitors a fantastic view of the giraffes. For £7.50 you can hand feed them which looked amazing but having fed giraffes before I decided to give it a miss this time.
It wasn't too long before Simon started to really enjoy his day. He fell in love with the Red Pandas and spent the rest of our trip telling me how much he loved them and I even caught him checking out the red panda cuddly toys in the gift shop.
Banham has some wonderful big cats which I always love looking at. They're so huge and majestic and also a little terrifying. We saw Snow Leopards, Tigers, Cheetahs and Leopards and were very lucky to get some great photos.
My favourite part of our day had to be the Lemur Encounters. Twice a day the Lemurs are let out into an open walk through area which allows you to get up close with the animals.
You're not really supposed to touch them but the Lemurs are so friendly they tend to approach you and stick out their paws to say hello. I could have spent hours and hours there, they were so cute.
I'm beyond happy that Simon has now decided that he enjoys zoos as I can now secretly plot a trip to Edinburgh to see the Pandas. Watch this space!