Sunday, 9 October 2016

An autumn break in Blackpool // Day three - Blackpool Zoo and the World Fireworks Championships

On our third day in Blackpool, we decided that a laid back kinda day was just the thing we needed and so after another delicious hotel breakfast we jumped in the car and headed for Blackpool Zoo. The zoo is just a couple of miles away from the town centre and is nestled right by Stanley Park which is yet another lovely place worth spending some quality time in! 

We used our Blackpool 'Resort Pass Plus' to gain entry into the zoo but the stand alone price is actually super cheap too. Especially when you consider your entry ticket will also give you a discount on the Playbarn next door (a giant soft play centre) and usually a free Pleasure Beach Pass too which will allow you to explore the Pleasure Beach and experience a few attractions.

But i'm getting sidetracked here. The zoo is amazing. We love visiting as kiddo has a real love for animals, it's such a wonderful day out for her! It's the perfect place to spend time learning about their conservation work and getting close to some incredible creatures, and Blackpool Zoo certainly has some incredible exhibits!

Our first point of call when we arrived was the elephant and reptile house. There's heaps to see in here including some menacing looking alligators, frogs and even cockroaches. It really is all creatures great and small in here! The highlight is Kate who is currently the only Asian elephant who came to the zoo in 1972 and has called it her home ever since.

She's an absolutely majestic creature and honestly I could watch her all day. She's obviously well cared for, happy and stimulated. We were lucky enough to get to see her take a shower and it was incredible to see her respond to commands with ease. She obviously loved the fuss! 

There are plans to build a new elephant facility next year so I can't wait to pop back once it is all complete! 

After we had finished looking around the elephant and reptile house, it was time to explore the rest of the zoo. We popped into Amazonia where birds and adorable cheeky squirrel monkeys are out causing mischief! 

We saw some fantastic hair on this little dude.... 

.... and both Gorilla Mountain and Orangutan Outlook are simply incredible! I think kiddo's favourite animal of the day was the gorillas. She found them hilarious sat in groups eating their lunch and climbing apparatus with ease.

It wasn't long before we found ourselves at the Children's Farm which is a lovely big barn filled with domesticated animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and pigs. There are educational and play areas and just outside is a fantastic playground. Perfect for children who have loads of energy!

Kiddo became quite sleepy here so we decided to head over to the cafe to grab some lunch. She promptly fell asleep on my lap as soon as I sat down and remained there for the next two hours. Argh! At least I got to enjoy a long lazy lunch and a good cuddle with my girl! 

After that it was time to see the big cats. It was their feeding time too by the time we arrived at their enclosure, it was amazing to see both lions and tigers so close. Kiddo's favourite here was the meerkats though, she spent ages trying to catch their attention and adores watching them in their lookout pose checking out their surroundings!   

I love the variety of animals and exhibits at Blackpool Zoo. There are plenty of chances to sharpen your knowledge with plenty of feed and talk times too. From sea lions to penguins and from big cats to creepy crawlies, there really is something for everyone. We particularly loved the sea lion display, a brilliant opportunity to see how these clever creatures are trained. They are delightful! 

Lemur Wood is another favourite area of ours. It was one of the UK's first walk through zoo enclosures and it's not hard to see why it is so popular. No glass or bars, it's amazing being able to get so close to these gorgeous critters!

Before we headed to the exit, we had to pop into the Dinosaur Safari. Kiddo loves her dinosaurs so we couldn't say no! This area is crammed full of giant dinosaurs, sound effects, water features and a huge variety of plants and flowers. It's great!

At the exit there's a large gift shop and a cafe that serves Starbucks drinks so we saw this as a much needed coffee and cake opportunity! If you're children aren't absolutely worn out yet then at the back of the cafe there's yet another soft play area. It's small (well, compared to the Playbarn next door!) and enclosed and if I remember rightly it costs £1.... absolute bargain if you ask me!

Following our trip to the zoo, we headed back to the hotel where we ordered room service. It was so good!

After a good rest we were ready to head off out again. This time for the final date of the World Fireworks Championships. This event runs every September and it sees some of the worlds best pyrotechnic artists work their magic to light up the skies. It's all completely free to watch too and so as you can imagine, it get's pretty busy. My tip would be to arrive early, especially if you're driving!
The event has such a super atmosphere though. You could easily make an wonderful evening of it by wrapping up warm, grabbing some snacks and a hot drink and finding a good spot to see the show! 

The fireworks are fired from the North Pier so i'd reckon that any spot on the promenade between the Central and North piers would be perfect for viewing the show. We were very kindly invited by Visit Blackpool to view the fireworks from the balcony of the tourist information centre and my goodness, what a view we had! We had such a magical time and honestly I can't thank Visit Blackpool enough, it was such a unique and special experience that I am sure we will keep it with us a long time! 

Our evening there was the final date of the championship which saw the celebration display from the UK and the announcement of the winner which turned out to be the USA. It was such a good night out for all the family, the fireworks were incredible. Kiddo is used to Disney's silent fireworks so these ones were a little loud for her at first but she soon got used to them though and we all loved the music that accompanied them. It was perfectly fitting!

The 2017 dates have been announced so if you're booking an autumn trip to Blackpool next year then I'd definitely recommend trying to see the fireworks. A brilliant night out that won't cost a penny but is an absolutely wonderful experience! 

If you'd like to find out more about the many things to see and do in Blackpool then pop over to the Visit Blackpool website where you'll find everything from details about the illuminations to dining ideas and much, much more! 

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