When I first heard about the Zany Zebra Trail that had taken over Southampton City Centre this Summer, I knew that it would be a great free family day out for us and I mentioned to Carl that we should try and pop over to it. But before we knew it, very much like the whole of this year, the Summer had slipped through our fingers and disappeared without a trace, and we hadn’t had the chance yet to go Zany Zebra hunting. Luckily for us, the trail is on until 25th September, so there was still time for us to get over and see how many zebras we could spot.
As soon as we walked into The Marlands Shopping Centre we saw our first Zebra ‘The Trojan Zebra’. This one was painted with hundreds of pictures of cartoon lions as if they were inside a wooden zebra, and the girls ran straight over for a closer look. They spotted lions getting up to all sorts of crazy things, as well as their favourite, Elsa and Anna lions with their very own little Olaf of course!
Mabel and Greta loved following the hoof print stickers on the floor of the shopping centre which led us to ‘Marwell’s Zany Zebra Zone’, a shop where you can view some more zebras, pick up a free trail map, and purchase a range of official merchandise including the absolute must have accessory of the season, a pair of #ZanyZelfie ears, as modelled here by Greta…
Mabel and Greta both had a go at designing their own Zany Zebra which they posted into a letter box to be entered into a competition. Greta was slightly confused bless her and I had to explain the whole competition thing again when she expressed her disappointment on Monday morning that the post man hadn’t delivered her zebra picture back to her. She took it well luckily (‘ooh look, chocolate!’).
I’m not sure that Mabel’s creation ‘Rainbowy’ or Greta’s ‘Gah Goo’ will win any prizes, but we shall keep our fingers crossed!
Then we headed back outside the shop and right outside there was a big display of lots of the smaller zebras that have been decorated by schools and community groups. The girls really loved these ones because they were all so bright and colourful and lots of them had 3D bits stuck on and were covered in different textures.
They decided this one was their favourite (well, for the 30 seconds it took to take the photo anyway) which was covered in foam letters.
Next we went outside and managed to spot a few more zebras on a short walk around. There were lots of other people doing the trail and we bumped into quite a few other zebra hunters on our way around. This one just in front of the bargate was a big hit with the girls.
It’s a good idea to check the Zany Zebras website or ask in the Zany Zebra Zone for any changes to the trail, because some of the outdoor zebras have been moved inside. We went to two in a row that had been removed so that was a bit disappointing.
The zebras will be in Southampton until Sunday 25th September, so this weekend is your last chance to get out and do the trail. But if you do miss it, or if like us you missed a lot of the zebras due to little legs getting tired and uncooperative… there are a couple more chances to get in on the Zany Zebra action.
Visit Marwell Zoo before 10th October and you can grab a #GiantZelfie with Gulliver, the HUGE zebra and follow the miniature Marwell’s Zany Zebras trail around the zoo to discover the match for your favourite zebra sculpture in Southampton.
Or, come and see them all in one place at The Ageas Bowl at the Zebratastic Weekend event. Over four days from 14th-18th October, all the zebras from Southampton and Marwell will be coming together in one place for a final fairwell extravaganza, before being auctioned to raise money to support Marwell’s conservation work with the real Grevey’s Zebras in the wild. Tickets for the event are only £2.50 when booked in advance.
And my last tip before I leave you (but quite an important one)… There is a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop inside West Quay shopping centre. Do with this information what you will, but take heed of this cautionary tale. Trying to shepherd two little girls hyped up on sugar through a busy shopping centre and safely to the car is a lot like trying to get a drunk person in a taxi when all the pubs have shut. There was shouting, there was pleading, there was a lot of chasing, and in the end there was a fireman’s lift.
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