Wearing out the kids (and adults) with a day at Colchester Zoo – the truthful behind the scenes day out

**Posted in collaboration with Groupon**

With the kids back off to school, summer suddenly feels over and the unwinding we’ve done seems a lifetime away.

I swear shopping for school uniform has given me more grey hairs than 6 whole weeks off with the children. If like me you are on a mission to squeeze in another fun family adventure before the summer disappears under a pile of homework and ironing school uniforms, then why not head on over to Groupon where you can find a wide range of family days out and adventures at discounted prices. This means you can save money while having some fun at the same time – and let’s face it, saving money at the end of a long summer is certainly needed.

We recently used Groupon to head off on a family day out to Colchester Zoo, this is an hour away from us and somewhere I’ve not taken the kids to for around 3 years.

Groupon is currently running a #SummerUnfiltered, campaign which is all about encouraging the sharing of more ‘real’ and realistic portrayals of parenting on social media. I fully back this campaign and was keen to get involved. We are all guilty of posting the best images of our fun days out or happy holiday snaps, painting the perfect picture of a happy and well-behaved family. However, the reality isn’t always so. Yes you may have had a brilliant holiday, but I’m sure there were evenings when the kids were bouncing around the caravan/hotel at 11pm leaving you with no ‘me time’. We’ve all experienced the constant fighting in the car on the way to a day out, and the empty threats of ‘if you do that one more time I’ll turn this car around ‘but we don’t post about it. Groupon’s research found that two fifths of Mums and Dads say what they see on other parents’ social media feeds makes them feel pressurised to deliver a perfect summer holiday for their own family- which is something that needs to change

In keeping with the theme of this campaign, I’m going to be sharing both the ups and downs of our day out – showing the realities of parenting. I’ll show you the parts of the day I would usually leave out on social media Despite having a great time, our days out certainly aren’t always fun filled and can quite often become stressful.

We planned to leave the house by 10am, but the kids refused to brush their teeth and I spent over 10 minutes shouting and searching for lost shoes – why can’t they just put them in the shoe basket in the hallway where they belong?

The fighting in the car began after half of our hour journey while in a traffic jam.

“He looked out of my window”

“She breathed on me”

Top that with Paul listening to Talk radio and shouting at the hosts for being idiots – I had already popped 2 Nurofen before we arrived.

Of course, it was a very sunny day so the zoo was busy and we had to park quite a walk away – I knew they would moan on the way out as the zoo is hilly and they would be tired, they surprisingly didn’t, but boy did my feet hurt. To top it off I’d forgotten sun cream for us all and I managed to get sunburnt.

I’d packed a lunch box for both kids to save the asking for snacks while heading around the zoo – Paul however wanted a hotdog, then as he was queuing anyway I had one, meaning both the kids then wanted one – so much for pre-planning and saving a bit of money! We all thoroughly enjoyed them though…

Emmy pushed Harry over because he got too close to her

Next, we made our way over to the park train. It wouldn’t be a normal day out if we didn’t have a meltdown from Harry, who wanted to sit at the front of the train we had waited in anticipation for. He got over it when he was distracted by all of the amazing animals, much to the rest of the passenger’s relief!

Not for long, however, as Harry always has to climb on things, even when there are no climbing signs – I’m sure he isn’t alone, we turn around and he has climbed something else. He’s worse than the monkeys we were there to see.

The rest of our day was worry and stress-free. They had a lovely time and behaved really well,  even listening to me when they wanted to go to the play area on the way out. I told them they could have a set amount of slides and they actually listened, returning ready to carry on without me having to drag them out (a far call away from last week’s Paw Patrol trip when they went to the playground and I had to carry Harry out screaming and crying).

The gift shop always provokes a painful time for me and today was no exception. I said they could choose 1 thing up to £15 each. This led to “I don’t know what to get” from Harry picking up every single thing in the store (well it felt like it) and Emmy wanting everything and choosing the most expensive – getting cross when told no. Then we have to have a fashion show of all accessories and dressing up outfits, which they always want to bring home even though they wouldn’t wear them again.

Despite the tantrums (which are all part of the package of having kids aren’t they?) We had a really lovely family day out, one of our most successful in a long time. The kids behaved (bar a few episodes) we weren’t stressed and no one ran off or got lost, screamed or cried. Success!

As you can hopefully see from me sharing the ‘realities of a real’ family day out, not everything you see on social media depicts this….I’m not the only one who is guilty of posting the better parts of our days….why don’t you also share the behind the scenes realities too. Some of the images can actually be really funny.

Here are some of the animal shots from our day out

We really did have a great day out and I would recommend heading to the Groupon site for other activities like this!


9 thoughts on “Wearing out the kids (and adults) with a day at Colchester Zoo – the truthful behind the scenes day out

  1. Ugh! You took me back memory lane with this descriptive post. I remember our last chaotic visit to the zoo. It was an absolute nightmare with 3 cranky toddlers, and a pregnant woman. I am glad I captured every bit of it, it was worth every muted curse word. Your kids are so cute! Thanks to groupon, we had a dollar day at the zoo.

    1. Oh gosh. 3 toddlers must be very hard.

      We wouldn’t change it though would we? Families aren’t perfect but even amongst the chaos they have fun

  2. I appreciate you making a post describing the rougher parts of your day. My husband and I aren’t in the stage where we are planning to have kids just yet, but I like absorbing all of the accounts I can on what it’s like to be a parent. Now I know to pack a bag of snacks for long days out, and to be extra sneaky if I want a hot dog!

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