Disclosure: We were provided with free entry for the purpose of this blog post.
At the weekend we headed over to Twycross Zoo near Atherstone to attend the launch event for the Great Brick Safari which is at the zoo until 7th January. With over 70 life-sized LEGO brick animals on display, our pair of LEGO addicts had a great time racing around hunting for them all.
We got to the zoo an hour before opening time, to enjoy some breakfast and hear more about this new ‘visitor experience’ while the girls got stuck in building some LEGO Frankenstein’s Monsters to bring home. They both got a goody bag with a little soft toy, a magnet and a pen in so they were very happy girls indeed!
Armed with a Safari Spotters Trail, we set out to hunt down all of the amazing LEGO animals around the zoo – they are simply amazing! Made by professional LEGO brick builders Bright Bricks, using over 880,000 LEGO bricks and taking over 7,500 hours in total to make, the brick animals were incredible to see.
There are 27 different specials on display, and many of the LEGO scenes have baby animals which were firm favourites of the girls. They are so inventive and creatively designed and built – with special LEGO pieces like swords, levers and snow-shoes making up the details. Each animal has a small sign with the name, build time (many, many hours!) and amount of bricks in each build.
Earl Grey the Elephant was particularly impressive, made of over 270,000
LEGO pieces. The zoo’s own elephants have moved to Blackpool Zoo to take part in a breeding programme to help preserve the endangered species, and visitors to Twycross Zoo who upgrade their ticket to an annual pass can get free entry to Blackpool Zoo until 20th Feb 2019.
They even have a LEGO brick Safari Jeep for a fun photo op, and for a small fee zoo visitors can build and take home their own little LEGO model, in their ‘Make & Take’ activity sessions in the Gift Shop in Himalaya. In the Explorer Cafe, parents can chill out with a cup of coffee while children enjoy some creative building in the LEGO brick pit.
Since our last visit to Twycross Zoo, the Chimpanzee Eden area has opened and it is really impressive, with lovely big indoor enclosures for the chimps to swing around in, and plenty of outdoor space for them too. The girls enjoyed the special kid’s height windows, and the jungle themed walkway around the building.
There is no extra charge for the Great Brick Safari on top of your zoo admission, although we did find out that at least one of the brick animals can only be seen from the Safari Car trail which you have to pay for your children to drive around in mini vehicles. This was disappointing as we didn’t get to see Anthony the antelope, and it wasn’t made clear on the map that it was inaccessible.
The Vampire bats were also really hard to find and we couldn’t seem to hunt them down, although we were told they were hanging from a tree somewhere and visible – maybe some better signage would be useful for those. We couldn’t track down the Scorpions & Lizards which were somewhere in that area, or read the information for Ormond the Ostrich as it’s set up to be viewed from the car track. Although you can see the Ostrich itself, it’s either from behind or from a little distance away on the other side of the track.
Thankfully Guest Services didn’t hold our failures against us and gave the girls a sticker each for hunting down almost all the animals, though they didn’t have certificates as promised on the map.
Of course, there are also plenty of real animals to enjoy while you are at the zoo, and with the sun shining many of them were out and about.
While we were at the zoo, the kids also enjoyed some of the Halloween activities that were going on – we hunted for letters in the Butterfly Forest, and enjoyed getting crafty making some treats for the animals in the “Eerie Enrichment Making” activity at the Giraffe Classroom. Unfortunately we had to head home and didn’t get to see the girls’ bats and crackers get given to the monkeys in the afternoon, but hopefully they enjoyed them!
Lydia was delighted to have a chat with a friendly witch and they both enjoyed all the Halloween decorations around the zoo. The Halloween ‘Boo at the Zoo’ activities are available between 27th October – 4th November for children to enjoy, including pumpkin carving, spine—tingling story time, and more.
We ate breakfast and lunch in the Himalaya building, which is home to a restaurant, cafe, soft play area and gift shop. One wall of the building is just huge windows looking out over the Snow Leopard enclosure, which is an amazing view while you eat – we watched them wander about and play as we ate, which was pretty special. The food is a little expensive but it is tasty (although they had a bit of a heavy hand with the pepper in the soup!) and they do a children’s lunch bag deal which is pretty good value.
Thank you to Twycross Zoo for inviting us along to preview the Great Brick Safari – we definitely recommend it to any LEGO fans, especially if they are animal lovers too!
Check out our vlog of our day and why not head over to our YouTube to subscribe as we have lots more coming up over the next few weeks: