Friday, 28 December 2007

Whipsnade Zoo

Still moored at Soulbury 3 Locks Pub

Yesterday was Boxing day and while Dot and Tracey took off to Milton Keynes for some retail therapy I spent the afternoon quietly alone. Today after a lovely quiet Christmas we decided that as Tracey had her car nearby and the weather was reasonably mild we would take a trip to Whipsnade Zoo which is where my working days started in 1961.

As a winter special the Zoo were not charging for cars entering the Zoo, only it's occupants. We parked the car near the Wolves enclosure and then set off on foot around the park. Things haven't changed much since I worked there with a lot of the animals locked in their heated winter quarters. A lot of common animals that are not threatened with extinction have been excluded as the Zoo is concentrating on building up stock of endangered animals.

There have been a couple of additions since I worked there, the train ride around the park which doesn't start again until February and the drive through safari. I was amazed to see the old Elephant house still standing as I know the Elephants are now in a large breeding enclosure. Apparently the building has a grade 2 listing because of who designed it back in the 1930's.

Contractors are at present building larger quarters for Lions and Rhino's with a new display for Cheetah's due to open mid 2008.

I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke to a keeper who I only know as Roger to find that he knew some of the staff that I had worked with and that one of the trainee's ( Andy White) who I had the pleasure of working with all those years ago is now a Team leader.

867 locks, 1164 miles, 33 Tunnels, 40 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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