Artnextdoor's Blog

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Twycross Zoo continued

On the 4th June I wrote about our disappointing visit to Twycross Zoo, at that time I emailed them to express our upset at the terrible customer service, the lack of clear pricing, the dreadful food service and the misleading way their staff explained the gift aid procedure amongst other things.  My husband also emailed at the same time.

Well, we waited and we waited, I sent further emails on 16th, 25th and again on 29th June, I ‘phoned on 26th June to be told that they had not received my emails, so I sent it again asking for a reply that day – nothing, I resorted to writing in red in very large letters to attract their attention eventually receiving a reply on 30th June offering us free tickets but as that wasn’t the point of the exercise I didn’t reply until Friday 9th July whilst I thought about the situation.  I spoke to the PA to the commercial director who, after some discussion on aspects of customer service agreed to send out the free ticket to our son which would be valid for 12 months.

We had lunch with my mother yesterday so we weren’t around when the post arrived which included a letter addressed to my son from Twycross Zoo containing a compliment slip and a free ticket for two adults and two children valid up to 1st July 2010, can you imagine his disappointment and my anger at having him upset yet again by someone’s incompetence, at least I really hope that was all it was.

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Twycross Zoo

We have been to Twycross Zoo today as the little one has wanted to go for a while.  Sadly I have to rant again!  Queues were very long; the prices were not displayed so they could be seen easily; gift aid isn’t explained clearly, it appears that the price is £13 per adult this was explained as the gift aid price but in fact is the price if you include the voluntary 10%  conservation charge, there is another charge of £11 something if you don’t want to include this contribution but it is being sold as gift aid which is actually what the zoo can claim back from the tax man as they are a charity, – several people within my ear shot where feeling cheated and to top it off rude kiosk staff.

As it was nearing lunch time when we arrived we decided to have something to eat before looking round the zoo – well what a let down!  Badly organised, lacking choice, very over priced, rude staff, incompetent staff or perhaps a politer term would be badly trained staff.  We had a choice of three different pre-packed sandwiches ok if you liked bacon, prawns or ham with mustard.  There were other food kiosks, no menu, no that’s not quite true a menu was so discreetly placed as to be hidden, no staff in sight to man these kiosks other than the poor woman on the hot food counter and she had run out of certain foods.  I understand they have customers over a barrel and a captive audience and yes we could have taken a picnic lunch but my 10 year old son was promised a day out with lunch.  He isn’t a big eater but his £3.95 plate of food was very much smaller than the same priced plate a 5 year old had, oh he got a ‘free’ drink as did the other child.  To make my husband feel so much better the person who took the money for our very over priced purchases referred to him as ‘sweetie’ several times during the transaction, I don’t think she was being sarcastic but where is professionalism – oh sorry we hadn’t encountered it yet so why was I surprised by this, during our ‘meal’ we were harassed by the staff employed to clear the tables, wanting to clear the table when it was very obvious that we had by no means finished.

After the disappointment we had over lunch we set off for our trip around the zoo.  My son wanted to see the Hyenas, the reptile house, pets corner and the monkeys.  There isn’t a reptile house any more it is now something called the Tropical House but the signs don’t say this, we were told when we were on our way out it was well worth seeing but was a guided tour and there probably wasn’t any spaces left and we would have had to wait another 45 minutes.  The hyenas were in the lion enclosure.  We went to pets corner to find a family of degus, an iguana and a pond full of very large koi carp ok where were the rabbits, guinea pigs, goats that you would expect to find in pets corner?  Apparently there was a new pets corner we didn’t find it.

The monkeys, chimps and other apes are brilliant as always, as was the elephant enclosure with its delightful baby elephant.

Perhaps the zoo will become an excellent place to visit again but if our visit is anything to go by don’t bother this year, we won’t be back for many years or certainly until they have improved staff training – both in the hospitality area and the welcome kiosks, replaced the sign posts with the correct information on  and final considered the cost of food.  This is very sad as the zoo has been a favourite day trip with our immediate and distant family for many years, I first visited when I was small many years ago. 

My son was very upset at his much anticipated day out.  Thank you very much Twycross Zoo.