This weekend, my sister came to stay. Amidst the excitement about her visit, there was a slight feeling of dread. What do you do with a 15 year old in Leeds? I knew there was plenty, but my Leeds is made up mostly of pubs and bars, restaurants and friends' houses. It may be a sad state of affairs that British social life revolves so much around drinking, but worrying about the state of the nation, and of my own social life, wasn't going to do me much good. Thankfully, I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve - and Tropical World was one of them.
Say Tropical World to pretty much any long-term Leeds resident and you'll get coos of delight, although it seems that this is much more a result of nostalgia than of recognition of quality of the establishment. That sounds like I'm being harsh, but I'm not. Just don't expect an entire zoo and hours of entertainment. However, we had a very pleasant hour or so, exploring the various 'zones' (Rainforest, Desert, Swamp), and all for under a tenner.
One thing to note, which may seem obvious to the parents and the do-ers for whom this is common sense, but it was *really* warm. I know it say's Tropical World, but it is February! It wasn't unbearable, but I wouldn't bother layering - my long-sleeved jumper was too much for the humidity of the makeshift rainforest.
There are all sorts of wildlife to discover - a strange pile of terrapins basking in the 'sun', birds with better hair than me, and brightly coloured chameleons are just the tip of the iceburg. We saw fish of varying sizes and hues, delicately patterned butterflies (and a slightly creepy tank of chrysalids waiting to hatch), majestic snakes and even a couple of little crocodiles. My would-be-zookeeper sister was quite in her element - cooing over the lizards and looking longingly at the snakes, her dream pet.
But when it comes to animals, all I want to see is meerkats. I know they're very in vogue right now, but that's hardly a surprise. They're just adorable. Look at the way this little guy is grinning at the camera. I won't bore you with endless meerkat pictures, but they were all such posers!
All in all, a fun little trip on a Saturday afternoon. To extend your trip around this beautiful part of the world, a wander around the scenic gardens and rolling grass of Roundhay Park is definitely worth it - as is a cheeky trip to the Roundhay Fox (which I may blog about in a couple of weeks - watch this space if you've not been!).
What did you do on Saturday afternoon? Any tips for entertaining a teenager in Leeds?