Meeting the Beast
We’re lucky enough to live fairly close to two zoos; one with lions and wolves and Exmoor Zoo with its famed Cheetahs and ‘Exmoor Beast’.
Eomer has a love/hate fascination with monsters and scary animals and was desperate to catch a glimpse of this huge, black beast. We managed to be in front position for the ‘Panther’ talk and both black cats prowled, hissed and sprung their claws just an arm’s length away as we found out all about them and the melanistic creation of black coats. Up on Exmoor it was characteristically chilly although the sun peeked through occasionally to warm our ol’ bones. There was a lovely nature trail away from the beaten path with woolly goats and sheep roaming free, and a whole field dedicated to wallabies where Ramona and Eomer to their delight found out more about the animals and were able to stroke and feed them – ecstatic!
Of course, we couldn’t miss the bug and snake talks, with spiders and stick insects crawling over our hands and the corn snake was definitely a favourite! Just outside was a fantastic climbing play ground, where our own little monkeys hung off the bars and clambered across the nets. To kick off the festive feeling, we chilled out with the reindeer, imagining their sleigh rides in just a few weeks time! For such a small zoo, there was a lot to take in and heaps of really informative talks and feeding times from the Penguins to Cheetahs.
It’s a great time of year to visit as it seems only the hardy head up to Exmoor in the winter and its only closed on Christmas day and New Year. We literally spent all day there, leaving as the gates were shut behind us, with Eomer still hanging on for more sightings of the Beast! With plans for expansion underway and wolves soon to join the menagerie, it was a great day out, lots of fresh air and new knowledge. Ramona’s future career choices have now expanded from vet to zoo keeper, I wonder what other animal based jobs we can discover…?!
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Having lived in N. Devon for the last 12 years, we recently moved across to the other side of the world and now live in New Zealand on the North Island. Our adventurous family includes my husband Phil and 2 small cheeky children: Ramona 8½ and Eomer 5½. I have a wonderful day job as Lead teacher in the sensory unit of an SEN school and spend as much time as possible outside, exploring nature and environments both on our doorstep and further afield.
Favourite place in the world:
Hmm, that's really tough! I loved the west coast forests of British Columbia in Canada, such a humbling, incredible place - tall trees right down to the big ocean waves. There's a whole lot of other places I'd love to explore though...moving to New Zealand has opened up a whole world of new adventures and we’re slowly finding new favourites to add to the list.
Sea, mountains and forests in any combination please!
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Again, lots of favourites. Definitely a mix between walking, cycling, surfing, camping and exploring, combined with taking time to notice detail of a place, hear the sounds and absorb the changes over time and seasons. Active and quiet times are both invigorating for different reasons.