HIP's Day Out to the Zoo
By Margaret Allan
Last Wednesday, a mixture of HIP volunteers and members made a trip out to the wonderful Chester zoo. With a beautiful forecast of sunshine predetermined and everyone up for a good day, the day was sure to be a success.
Last week, around 40 HIP members and a few HIP volunteers went on their annual trip to the zoo. With the day having been a great success last year, it seemed inevitable that the trip would be wonderful this year too. The excitement of the day started with minibuses picking up many of the HIP members in the morning to take them to the zoo. All the members gathered in front of the zoo just before 10am where everyone was kitted out with lanyards with everyone's names on them; a map, with our lunch location circled on it; and mobility scooters where needed. Some people took the opportunity to fuel up on bacon butties and coffee before heading into the zoo and to make sure we were all well prepared for the day ahead! Come 10am, the Chester zoo gates opened and lots of people, including the HIP members, flooded into the zoo to discover all it had to offer. Of course, this could only be done after a compulsory team photo in front of the zoo!
The glorious sunshine seemed to have attracted many visitors and ensured that echoes of laughter and fun were a common theme with all the zoo goers present. The HIP members all split off into different groups with each group have different agendas on what they wanted to see. One of the newest attractions at the zoo, called "The Islands", was of particular interest to many individuals. "The Islands" has been open for two years and is equipped with its own little boat ride to see the different animals. "The Islands" seemed to be a great success with many of the HIP members, as did the rest of the zoo, with many people exclaiming over how much the zoo had changed over the years and what great improvements it had made.
The lunchtime rendezvous at the Jaguar picnic lodge came around soon enough. The lunch offerings of ham or cheese sandwiches with crisps and water, as lovingly prepared by the zoo staff, seemed to go down well. The lunch also gave everyone the chance to catch up and share stories of what they had seen that morning. The overwhelming feeling at the lunch was of happiness and that many people had thoroughly enjoyed their day so far. Some people had even enjoyed their day so much that they were considering getting annual zoo membership passes to come and enjoy the zoo more regularly, saying that to come to the zoo more often would offer itself as a wonderful distraction to get out and see something different.
With many people chattering away, the time to leave the zoo soon crept upon everyone. As such, groups slowly started to make their way back to the entrance to meet their minibuses to go back home. A few diversions were made by people to see the last few animals on their way back out and constant chatter and giggling accompanied our happy HIP members as they filtered back to the entrance. A few souvenirs were bought in the shop and people then filed onto the minibuses. Farewells were bade but with constant smiles on people's faces with everyone having thoroughly enjoyed their day out, and looking forward to finding the next occasion for the HIP family to meet up and enjoy another day together.