Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Blackpool Zoo

Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Whilst in Blackpool, we made our fourth visit to Blackpool Zoo in as many years. Although we only visited once when Christine was living there, we’ve visited many of the times that we’ve been back to Blackpool, and yesterday was one of those.

In some respects its one of my favourite zoos. The keepers are very friendly, and it’s a manageable size – not huge, but enough to see to occupy a full day. We got there at 10am when it opened, and were still there at nearly 4pm. There are plenty of demonstrations to see and over the years we’ve seen most of them.

The sealions are always worth seeing as the keepers actually swim in the water with them. They have been taught to do tricks, but this partly because they can also be taught to lie still, or raise flippers, when they need to do medical inspections. They do the same with some of their birds, including a macaw who was able to place blocks in the right sized holes and open three nested metal tins to get food, during a demonstration.

Me and a barn owl

A new feature for this year is bird of prey experiences. These cost £10 per head over and above the entry price (which is currently £16 for adults), and allow you to hold and do some basic falconry with a barn owl. Christine and I both did this, and I have the claw marks on my arm to prove it! It’s good fun, especially if you like owls, and the trainer is very friendly and patient. Plus, it means I get an interesting new Facebook and Twitter avatar.

We still have a few friends in Blackpool so I’m sure we’ll end up back at the zoo again at some point. Later this year a new orang-utan house opens, and their female amur tiger has recently had cubs. They’re not currently on display but hopefully will be there for all to see in a few weeks’ time. Amur (also known as Siberian) tigers are endangered so this is an important development.

Naturally, I took quite a few photos whilst we were there. The two above, and eighteen others, are in this Flickr set album.

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