So yesterday, I set off on another day-mission to strike one more yet-to-be-visited-by-Tessa Leeds attraction from my list:
* Ice skating on Millenium Square
* Tropical World
* Lotherton Hall
* Temple Newsam House
* Abbey House Museum
* Golden Acre Park
* Middleton Railway (as recommended by Alex)
* Thwaite Mills (also, as recommended by Alex)
(* … I’m pretty certain there are others! – suggestions taken in ‘Comments’ below!)
I decided that as I have been rather grown up recently, having a new ‘almost proper’ job, and being a quarter of a century old, I would award myself with the dream day of a five-year-old, with my ‘younger twin’ Emma.
I pulled on my most childish (and comfortable) footwear, and we headed up to Roundhay.
I remember the first time I went to Roundhay park, and every visit since, very fondly. But I have never ventured as far as Tropical World, or actually even that side of the road, (How very odd!) so Smithers and I found a parking space and (just before yet another nasty shower hit) ventured into my unknown; crossing the road, and making our way through the beautiful little gardens to Tropical World.
As with The Armouries, I didn’t really know what to expect, apart from meercats and butterflies, so the whole experience was masked with excitement and intrigue (as I expected a five-year-old to feel in the same situation). Emma, being a Leeds-local however, had been a few times in her lifetime.
As we went in (and the temperature got pleasantly warmer) I was struck by how small the first ‘area’ seemed. We were in The Swamp, and many butterflies flitted around us, some having only just awoken as such from their cocoons.
As we followed the path around through The Swamp and into The Rainforest, I saw many tanks full of fish and snakes, a couple of spiders and rats. I’m afraid I didn’t read as much as I wanted to about each species, or find out whether/how Tropical World aided their survival, but it was fun to play ‘spot the creature’ (particularly in the nocturnal house) and I can see how perhaps it would be an interesting School Trip destination.
There’s an interesting array of animals too – snakes and lizards, crocodiles and iguanas, monkeys and slow lorises (lori?!), bats and birds and fish and insects..
Of course, the main attraction that everyone talks about is the meercats. So I was definitely looking forward to seeing them. And there were some great facts along the glass to teach you about them (if you’re inclined to learn).
I loved watching how there was always one ‘on guard’, keeping an eye out for any birds who might encroach on their territory, and – extra special bonus – at the moment, there are two teeny tiny meercats too, which were so very cute!
To be honest though, I found it a little saddening that the tanks and enclosures were so small, and in some cases very crowded (the rats and fish come to mind specifically.) I’m sure that the staff there look after the animals well, and perhaps it’s just my contradictory love of seeing animals up close and simultaneous aversion to seeing animals in captivity that made me a little melancholic about the whole thing..
After a quick gander in the gift shop (a geographical necessity, as you must leave through it) Emma and I left the tropics and crossed the road for lunch.
I have been to the Roundhay Fox a couple of times now, and it has aways been pleasant. The staff were welcoming, and the menu was rather extensive. Not too much to inspire a vegetarian, mind, but still – I was quite happy with my falafel starter and goats cheese salad main. Full and paid up, we skipped dessert (shock horror!) and braced the wind and rain once more to get to the car.
The home tourist day then continued with a mooch around some shops in town. I went to Pop Vintage to ‘spend’ my credit note on a new dress for my Lindy Hop gig this coming Saturday (believe it or not, I actually didn’t have a gig dress suitable for dancing too!) and then we went to Harvey Nichols for Emma to replenish some of her makeup bag. Some wonderful service from Lancome later, and she was beautifully made-up (perhaps a little too much, as I felt rather plain and unpretty in comparison!)
Then we found ourselves in Park Row Brasserie (via the the cinema, to buy our tickets) where our five-year-old selves got put away briefly, and we enjoyed a glass of wine whilst listening to Cleve tinkle the ivories and sing a few ditties, (as he does there every Wednesday), and chatting to some Voices of The Day folk. 🙂
Then it was cinema time – I was so excited, it was quite possible I could have burst!!!
I won’t bore you with the details of ‘Tangled’ nor with the streams of enthusiastic paragraphs I could write for all Disney films – even though they are amazing, and I wish I lived in one! – sufficed to say that the story of Rapunzel was beautifully told, and I enjoyed every second of it.
And then it was time to go home! Another truly wonderful Home Tourist day – this time, proven fun for any ages (well, from 5 to 25 at least!) and another place to strike off my list.
Please do make any suggestions below of places you think I should visit, and I shall leave you with this very true fact from The Roundhay Fox:
.. yes indeed, an additional spoon should always be without cost. Profound. 😉