I have to say it has been a few years since I was last at Dudley Zoo. Joe was very young when we last went, and I remember he was totally obsessed with the gorillas and we struggled to get him away from the enclosure. This weekend we decided to take a trip once again, albeit with the social distancing measures in place. I have to say we had the best time.
Dudley Zoo is a zoo that combines the usual animals within the confines of the grounds of the now ruined Dudley Castle. It is also home to the Tectons, a grade 2 listed set of unusual animal enclosures, kiosks and buildings that have an art deco/modernist feel and make the zoo not only an animal lovers dream, but also an architecture buffs dream too.
Saturday was a dry day and was nice and busy, but with perfect social distancing measures in place that meant you stayed safe, but could also enjoy the experience. Some areas of the zoo were closed (the lovely Lemur walk was closed, as was the reptile house) but there was still plenty to see and enjoy. There are plenty of toilets open, and refreshment kiosks, lots of picnic benches throughout the zoo, and both the shop and the funfair are also open, making it feel like a lovely treat for children.
The peacocks and peahens were still roaming free, as I remembered from my last visit, and I was delighted to see mom and baby. The penguin enclosure was very popular, and it was also lovely to see the baby giraffe, who I believe had been born during the lockdown.
I am going to be covering the tectons in a future post as I have always loved them since I was a child – they always appeared so utterly modern and otherworldly, and now, more than 80 years since the zoo opened, it is lovely to see they are being preserved and protected in such a sympathetic way. Most of the tectons have information boards showing the original plans and design for those with an interest, but it still remains true that Dudley zoo must’ve been the height of modernism when it opened in 1937.
If you are interested in visiting the zoo this Summer, you must book in advance on their website, with entrance in 30 minute windows. I would highly recommend it as a lovely, family day out, supporting a worthwhile cause and seeing some pretty amazing animals and architecture.