Dear mummy, have you ever wondered what goes on when the zoo closes for the day? Is it really like the film Madagascar? Where the animals let their hair down and start chatting? Well, we decided to find out. We attended the out-of-hours #SunsetParty hosted by Marwell Wildlife.
Marwell Wildlife is a zoo in Hampshire and is currently hosting The Rise of the Dinosaurs event where they integrate large animatronics into the displays. It’s awesome and you can read about our last adventure here.
However, tonight we are here for another reason, we are attending a family friendly evening zoo party called the Sunset Party in the Park. Instead of the zoo closing it’s doors, it opens them to the public for this ticketed event. We pre-order our e-tickets online through Marwell’s website and have them scanned on our arrival. The event starts at 6.30pm and goes on til 9.30pm and it’s the first time mummy and daddy have kept me up later than my bedtime at 7pm. Ooooo scary stuff! Bedtime routine out of the window….well, you have to live a little!!
We arrive at 6.30pm and are greeted with a party atmosphere. Friendly staff at the gate, bubbles and a smoke machine. In the distance we can hear the Carribe Steel band play, their tropical beats carrying across the park. The weather has been beautiful today, very sunny and humid. It actually feels like we are on holiday! It’s dusk and the air is hazy. There are loads of other families and small children wandering about, holding hands and laughing. It’s a very relaxed and chilled out affair. The first thing we spot is a giant tiger, who comes over to greet us and gives us a friendly paw ‘high-five’. I’m not so sure to begin with but eventually I raise a smile (I’m a bit tired).
Next we visit the Penguin Cove, my favourite area of Marwell and I perk up. I’ve been here before and I’ve interviewed the penguin keepers on my last visit. This time however, I don’t recognise the lady giving the talk and demonstration about the penguins. Her name is Hilary and she does a great job, interacting with the visitors and telling us some useful facts about the Humboldt penguins. I know a lot of the answers to her questions I think, but I am too small to shout them out. Instead I sit with daddy and point at the penguins gliding through the water. It’s all very chilled and the purple and pink clouds reflect in the water. I watch the ripples and the last of the sunshine glimmer on the water.
It’s steady at the zoo tonight, families walk from enclosure to enclosed looking at the animals, but not so busy that you struggle to get a good look, in fact every time we went to see some animals it felt like we were on our own with them, which was great! We saw the tigers yawning, the snow leopards playing, the rhinos pooing and the giraffes chomping.
But we were also here to see some extra party fun. We caught up with the curious, Mr & Mrs Pigeon, the penguin family and the tiger. We followed the sound of music to the front of Marwell House, such a beautiful building! I had a little bounce on the inflatables and a boogie to the band. The last of the sunshine lighting up the mansion. Wave 105 were also down there, handing out flags and providing a cool dinosaur inspired photo opportunity for families to pose in-front of a green screen and get their photos taken. Both mummy and daddy had fun mucking around and being silly with me.
It’s getting late and the light is dimming, it casts huge shadows on the driveway leading up to the main house. We head home via the Juggling Inferno (Fantastic fire performers) and watch the very talented, Kat and Emily. They twirl and dance with hoops and sticks of fire, throwing them up into the air. Passerby’s and the audience stop and gasp at their death defying tricks. It’s the perfect ending to a great couple of hours. On the way out we pass the steel band again and they play ‘twinkle twinkle little star and ‘teddy bears picnic’ for us. It’s makes me very dopey, almost lulling me to sleep in my pushchair.
Next thing I know I’m back home and tucked up in my cot. That night I dream of giant pigeons and men on silts singing and playing music…. Marwell are hosting another Sunset Party in the Park on Friday 6th July. Visit there website for more details. For an evening out with the kids make sure you visit Marwell Zoo for this magical party.
We had such a great…..*yawn* time. Time for my bedtime…Zzzz sweet dreams.