Enjoying one-to-one time at Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre

One to one time with my big girl is a rare occurrence these days. It was lovely to have the opportunity to enjoy a day out with Jessica on a recent Girls’ Brigade outing to Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre while Sophie and hubby enjoyed some daddy-daughter time.


Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre is a small zoo in Hanwell. It’s home to a variety of different animals including meerkats, prairie dogs, goats, pigs, chickens and turkeys and some exotic birds. Entrance was free when we visited. However, there will be an entrance fee from April 2017.  There will be more animals at the centre and it will be renamed Hanwell Zoo. Tickets will cost £2.50 for adults, £1 for children aged 3-16 and season tickets will be available for £15.

A meerkat at Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre

This was Jessica’s first experience of a group trip with her peers. The girls were travelling to the animal centre by bus. The letter about the trip had stated there also would be some walking involved. I wasn’t sure how well Jessica would be able to manage this which is what had prompted me to ask to come along too.


The next question was whether to bring the buggy with me. We still use the buggy that we’ve had since Jessica was a baby for long trips. I was reluctant to take it though for several reasons. It would be a pain to manage on the bus. It doesn’t fold very compactly and is awkward to carry when folded. I also wondered if being in a baby buggy would be embarrassing for Jessica given some of her Girls’ Brigade friends are a couple of years older than her. Plus I know from experience that if the buggy is available, Jessica is much more likely to take the easy option even if she does have the energy to walk! With that in mind, I decided to take the toddler carrier instead.

Jessica riding on my back in the toddler carrier

The leaders were very considerate of Jessica’s stamina levels. While the rest of the group took slightly longer walks to use the crossings to get across roads, Jessica and I were able to take short-cuts and more direct crossings and wait for the others. Going on the bus was a bit of an adventure for Jessica in itself. It was a bit of a novel change from the usual car journey!


The walk from the bus stop to the park took us along a little lane. Jessica started to tire about halfway there and asked to be carried. She quite enjoyed her ride on my back until we reached the entrance to the animal centre where we stopped for a picnic lunch.

Jessica standing in amongst the daffodils at Brent Lodge Park

Having realised that the toddler carrier was an available option was a bit of a drawback though. Jessica would have been happy for me to carry her for the rest of the day after that! It took a little persuading to encourage her to walk for a while.


Trying to judge whether Jessica’s reluctance to walk is down to tiredness or unwillingness is not always easy. I try to encourage her to walk, constantly assessing whether she really is getting blue or breathless. Sometimes I don’t get it right though. When Jessica suddenly burst into tears after a little encouragement to walk, I realised that this was one time when she really wasn’t coping. She also felt a bit hot. Fortunately I always have Calpol in her medicine bag. She perked up once I’d dosed her up and put her on my back again.

A magnolia tree in bloom at Brent Lodge Park

Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre was a lovely place to explore. It was clear that changes were underway though. There were quite a few empty areas being prepared for the arrival of new animals.  We did see lots of other animals though. Jessica quite enjoyed seeing the turkeys and chickens, the goats and the meerkats.

A turkey at Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre

It was lovely to see all the signs of Spring everywhere too – the beautiful blossom on the trees, daffodils, crocuses, pansies and even a few bluebells.

Daffodils, crocuses and bluebells at Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre

Although Jessica had struggled with her energy levels going around the animal centre, she managed to find some reserves when it came to the playground! She wasn’t quite as energetic as usual but still had fun with her friends on the climbing frame and slide.

Jessica having fun on the slide in the play area at Brent Lodge Park

We took a slightly different route back through the Brent Lodge Park to catch the bus home, spotting some frogspawn in a stream along the way. I didn’t manage to find any for the girls to see last year, so I was glad to spot some this year! I had a very tired little Jessica on my back as we walked back to the bus stop. She was very subdued and snuggly on the bus ride home.

Frogspawn in the stream at Brent Lodge Park

It was a lovely day out. The animal centre is somewhere I’d like to go again for a family day out. This time though it was good just to have that time with my big girl, to be able to focus on her and her needs completely, to be able to listen to her chatter and have some wonderful mummy-daughter time. It made me realise that I should make the effort to do so more often.

Me and Jessica on our day out


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

30 thoughts on “Enjoying one-to-one time at Brent Lodge Park Animal Centre

  1. Sounds like a good idea for you to have gone with Jessica and I can totally understand you not wanting to take the buggy. Looks like with your help she really enjoyed her day and kept up with her peers. It sounds like a perfect organisation for her to be part of right now and a great way for you to have a day out together too. The park sounds really good value and like they have plans going forward that would make it worth revisiting.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    1. Thanks Fiona – it was a lovely day out and Jessica enjoyed it. I do love how considerate everyone is about her stamina levels whilst not treating her differently overall (if that makes sense!). Thanks for hosting, always a pleasure to link up each week 🙂

  2. Ah this is near me and it’s really interesting to see all the changes they’ve been making – it’s somewhere we’ve been to on and off over the years as an easy free day out and very exciting to get new lemurs. Sounds like you had a lovely day too and great to be able to have so much one on one tine to focus on Jessica. #countrykids

    1. It will be interesting to see the changes if we visit again. Lovely to have it so near by – it’s a little trek for us but still not that far.

  3. How great finding frogspawn! I hope I get to see some of that soon.
    I didn’t know you could buy toddler carriers. They look handy. Lily hates the pram but gets tired walking at only 2 years old. #countrykids

    1. The toddler carrier has been so useful. The only difficulty now is that I would struggle to get Jessica on my back in the carrier by myself but on a day like this where I know there are people who will help with that, it’s ideal. I love the fact that I can still carry her comfortably in it at 5 1/2 🙂

  4. What a lovely time you had together. Sounds like you get things spot on for her, and with your support she can enjoy it all. Enjoy the return trip as a family!! #countrykidsfun

    1. Thank you Sonia. There are always little extra things to consider with a trip like this (something that I know I will also have to deal with for school trips) but the main thing is that she gets to take part and enjoy it all without me feeling like I need to hold her back.

  5. Sometimes when my son is a wee bit sick but can still go to school I miss our buggy. Its always nice that he can rest while we do our school run but the buggy is gone. Really is a nice thing to have on some days. Lovely to hear that you had fun. Calpol is a saver for me too! #CountryKids

    1. The buggy is so useful, especially when they could do with that little rest (not to mention being able to carry other things in it!) 🙂

  6. Sounds like it was a lovely walk and session out. Having the backpack must be handy when it comes to long days out #countrykids

  7. It does look like a lovely place, I love how it has lots of nature as well as zoo animals
    Sorry to hear about the temp etc, hope she’s ok?
    We carry too 🙂 I love slings and it was lovely to find another sling blog mum 🙂 my son is 1 and a half and we just got our first “toddler” carrier! I’ve been carrying him since day 1 xx

    1. Thanks Naomi – she was brewing a nasty cold which we’re now getting to the end of, thankfully! I love slings – I’ve also done babywearing with both my girls since they were tiny babies and there’s part of me that feels quite sad that it doesn’t happen so often now. It’s nice to have that closeness with them and I always found it so much easier than getting the buggy out.

    1. Thanks Sonia – she was brewing a nasty cold at the time which we’re now thankfully getting to the end of 🙂

  8. Oh how lovely to have some one on one time with her, this is something I want to do with my eldest, it’s so difficult when they’re in school isn’t it? It must be tough trying to work out when she can and can’t manage a bit of extra walking. I’m glad you both had a fab day though.

    1. Thanks Nat – it is harder to get that one-to-one time with the eldest in school. Lovely to manage it this time though 🙂

    1. Thanks Helena. I love carriers – it’s nice having that closeness and they’re often more convenient than the buggy 🙂

  9. What a great trip. Nice that you could go too. I used to carry mine in slings when they were younger. Far too big for that now! The carrier must be so useful at times like this, although tiring for you. Fabulous that Jessica could join in with her friends on her terms. Here’s to many more one-to-one days for you both. Lovely last photo. #CountryKids

    1. Thanks Cheryl. Thankfully the carrier is comfortable still but yes it can be a little tiring!

  10. I can totally relate to spending time with ghexekfest it doesn’t happen as often as I would like here either. This sounds like a great way to explore and I love the the look of the carrier xx #CountryKids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.