A day out at Ouwehands Zoo, Holland
Anyone who knows my family will know how much my 10 year old daughter loves Pandas. It's a full on obsession, complete with a Panda themed bedroom and all the accessories and teddies her pocket money can buy.
So when we were planning our Eurocamp holiday to Duinrell in Holland, on a whim I decided to google "Pandas" and "Holland" and lo and behold Ouwehands Zoo appears and they just got two pandas a little over a year ago.
I didn't really look into what other animals they had there, as lets face it, if it was just 2 pandas we would have still gone, however, we were pleasantly surprised to find a wide range of animals, and quite a few that we had never seen before, including Elephants, tigers, brown bears, polar bears, gorillas, and the cutest little squirrel monkeys carrying babies on their backs, oh they were so cute!
There was even an aquarium...
It really is an amazing zoo, and gave us a fun filled family day out, although it wasn't without incident, more on that in a moment.
As well as lots of animals, there are several play areas, both indoor and outdoor, lots of places to eat, and in a lot of areas you can get really close to the animals, and you can even walk through rope bridges that actually go above the bear enclosure!
We can wholeheartedly recommend eating in Pandasia as well, the noodles were seriously tasty, and the kids loved their children's meal of chips and nuggests, complete with "free" panda wristband. Oh and I think the Panda gift shop might just have been a little bit of heaven on earth for Oldest. So much Panda!
However, what would a day out for a family of 5 be if it did not come with some drama? Drama free days out are still a pipe dream for us!
The children were all playing happily on a climbing structure shaped like an elephant, with a slide for it's trunk. Youngest couldn't quite make it up alone so Husband helped him climb up. I think Oldest had given up on the play area by this point, and the boys came sliding down the trunk happily, closely followed by Husband.
And then I saw the look on my Husband's face, oh no...
"Poo! There was poo in there! The boys have poo all over them!"
Did he see me? Is there still time for me to walk away and pretend I didn't hear? Look busy, look busy.
But no, it was too late.
We rounded up the boys and sure enough the human faeces my Husband had come across in the climbing frame, both boys had managed to slide through. Not just a small "brush with poo" but a full on smear down the back of both of their trousers.
Oh the horror.
Whilst we frantically searched for a toilet (why do they disappear when you need them the most?!) the boys did not seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation and kept touching their clothes, and then with their germ ridden little hands kept touching their faces, and worse than that kept trying to hold my hand!
Oh sure, you're too cool for hand holding any given day of the week, but now when you're covered in another child's poo you love me again and want to touch me. Well not today boys, not today!
I'm going to pretend that all the people who witnessed what then transpired in the toilets have seen worse. Or just assumed it was an innocent run of the mill "child has wet themselves" scenario. I'm just going to pretend no one thought it was odd having 2 boys stood around in just their underpants whilst their parents frantically scrubbed at trousers in the sink and smothered said trousers in hand soap, and then pathetically tried to dry those trousers with the world's most feeble hand dryer. (It could well have been a very efficient hand dryer, but no it was not an efficient dryer for poo covered trouser drying.)
So the boys spent the rest of the day wearing damp trousers. And we spent the rest of the day washing our hands approximately 1,768,392 times. And nobody even dared to ask to go on another slide all day.
We felt a little defeated after the "incident", but after their obligatory complaints and tears, the boys seemed to get used to wearing damp trousers, and it was warm enough that they dried eventually.
On the plus side I found something new to be proud of my children for; having the common courtesy to defecate in their underwear if they really couldn't get to a toilet on time. Who knew what an achievement that really was?!
It is a true testament to how good the Zoo is though that we did actually manage to still have one of the best days of the entire holiday.
And well worth it to give Oldest her best day ever seeing Pandas for real, incident and all.