A Memorable Day at Paignton Zoo

On Wednesday, 6th September, the members of the Barnstaple, South Molton, and Bideford Musical Memory Cafes, along with our dedicated volunteers and helpers, embarked on an unforgettable adventure. Packed with sunshine, laughter, and excitement, our day trip to Paignton Zoo turned out to be a heartwarming experience for all!

Our day started with 46 eager members of the memory cafes boarding a comfortable, air-conditioned coach. With the sun beaming down, spirits were high; there was so much excitement! The atmosphere inside the coach was filled with joy as we sang songs, participated in quizzes, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Arriving at Paignton Zoo around lunchtime, the first order of business was satisfying those rumbling tummies. We all made a beeline for the cafes and restaurant to indulge in a delicious meal before embarking on our jungle adventure.

Zoom Zoom!

We had the foresight to book all the available mobility scooters, as we wanted to ensure that all our members could fully enjoy their day at the zoo. It meant that cafe members with limited mobility got to access even the farthest corners of the zoo and conquer those challenging hills to catch a glimpse of the majestic big cats. The zoo staff even provided training sessions to familiarise us with the scooters. Though there were a few minor mishaps, such as our coordinator Julia having her toes “run over” (twice) by Betty as she practised her scooter skills, it was all in good fun!

Paignton Zoo did not disappoint!

We had the opportunity to see a diverse range of animals, making it an educational and entertaining day for everyone involved. From the playful primates to the awe-inspiring big cats.

The Heroes Behind the Scenes

None of this incredible experience would have been possible without the outstanding support of the Rotary Clubs of Bideford, Bideford Tarka, Barnstaple, and South Molton. 

These community heroes joined forces to fund the coach for our day trip, demonstrating the power of collective kindness and generosity. 

On behalf of all the members of the memory cafes and the dedicated volunteers, a resounding “thank you” echoes through the air, reaching the ears of these incredible sponsors.

In the end, it was more than just a day at the zoo. It was a day of bonding, joy, and the sheer delight of experiencing the beauty of nature alongside friends and fellow cafe members. With the support of the Rotary Clubs, we created a memory that will be cherished for a lifetime. 

This heartwarming adventure serves as a testament to the power of community and the profound impact of organisations like ours and the Rotary Clubs in enhancing the lives of those they touch.