After seeing how much Lily loved Chessington World of Adventures for her birthday last year as well as at Christmas, I surprised her with a belated February half term overnight stay at the Zootastic Sleepover.
Spoiler alert: it was awesome! Yes, the full theme park isn’t open on the Zootastic weekends, but it makes the overnight stays much cheaper, day tickets to the zoo from just £12 each, and it is much quieter too. But, even without her beloved Vampire ride being open, was it worth it? YES!
Here are just 10 of the many things you can do on a Zootastic Sleepover.
OK, so a sleepover may be an obvious one on a Zootastic Sleepover, but a sleepover at Chessington World of Adventures is more than just a sleepover – it is a whole experience in itself. Plus, at this time of year, before the theme park fully opens, the hotel is a bit cheaper, so you pay less for the experience too!
You get a beautifully-decorated safari themed room as standard, with kids’ bunk beds too, and can upgrade to having a view across the Wanyama, or even a themed room, such as Room on the Broom or Gruffalo. Wi-Fi is included, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a full buffet breakfast too!
2. Ranger Club and Meet & Greet
Lily loved the free evening activities. From 5pm-9pm, you can enjoy evening entertainment and may even get to meet some of your favourite characters too!
With interactive games and activities for kids of all ages, a family quiz and more, there’s always so much fun to be had in the evening, run by some very friendly members of the Chessington team.
There’s no need to book, you can just turn up/head to bed whenever works for you and your family.
What’s more, they also offer you exclusive access to meet and greet some of the animals too from the back of the hotel!
For those after something a bit quieter, there’s the Movie Club, complete with comfy beanbags and family-friendly movies, or you can enjoy one of the games rooms for some family fun.
3. Chessington Zoo visit
Another obvious one for a Zootastic weekend, but you have free reign of the Chessington World of Adventures zoo as part of your visit.
With animals such as lions, tigers, meerkats and sea lions, there is so much to explore – not to mention the giraffes, reindeer, penguins and the Yoohoo & Friends children’s farm area too.
Some of the animals may not always be out in all weather conditions, but there are over 1000 animals for you to visit as part of your stay.
We loved this, as when we visit the theme park, we don’t always get a chance to see the animals too much, so it was great to spend time learning about all the animals there.
The Zootastic weekends usually give you access to the Sea Life Centre too, which is a stunning place to visit in itself, however on our weekend this had been sadly damaged by the storm, and the team were working hard to getting it repaired.
This meant, for us, a few of the smaller rides were open, and Lily was definitely excited by the surprise!
When you visit the zoo, why not download the zoo trail sheet too and see if you can find the answers?
4. Savannah Splash Pool
Despite having now had three stays at Chessington, we’ve still yet to experience the Savannah Splash Pool, but it looks and sounds amazing!
Situated near the bar in the Safari hotel, families can enjoy the Savannah Splash Pool as part of their stay – though you do need to book in advance.
There’s a 15m pool, kids’ splash pool with water cannons and jets, as well as a sauna and steam room too.
We didn’t make it this time as our giraffe experience was a bit delayed, so we missed our timeslot, but we’ll definitely make sure we get a chance next time!
Access is free for certain room types, but there is a small charge for glamping/standard rooms.
5. Play areas!
In addition to the zoo, you can find two amazing play areas – a treetop adventure playground and then a smaller play area in the Wanyama Village.
They’re great to help burn off some energy, and fantastic to explore alongside the animals too.
6. Bug talks
If that wasn’t enough, you can join in some very special bug talks throughout the day near the park entrance – check out the times on boards in the park, or on the app – they’re a wonderful way to learn from the expert team about creatures big and small.
7. Giraffe feeding / animal experiences
Animal experiences are a wonderful add-on to any of your stays, but we definitely recommend the giraffe feeding. As a guest in the hotel (or pass holder), you get 20% off the experiences.
Lily loved the giraffe feeding for her birthday last year, so we surprised her by booking on again for this visit, giving us half an hour with the giraffes to feed them their breakfast before they all went outside for the day.
It really is something truly special – you can read more about our full experience last year here. For her birthday this year, Lily hopes to do the zookeeper day or feed the penguins, so watch this space!
I’d also like to thank Kyle for being an amazing VIP host – Lily never made the connection to her Christmas Elf Wake Up call, but was amazed he had passed on her details from Chestnut the Elf 🙂
8. VIP add-ons
In-room VIP packages are available when you book your Zootastic sleepover. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just want to make the stay extra-special, there are different packages to enjoy – check them out here!
9. Eat Dinner!
Dinner isn’t just dinner at Chessington World of Adventures – it’s a whole experience in itself too. We are massive fans of the Temple Restaurant, where you can book for a fun evening meal, complete with regular light show around the temple fountains. Lily recently discovered you can make the monkey fountains go wee-wees too when you’re there!
What’s more, the food is absolutely delicious – we really do recommend it.
10. Go Ape Chessington
Located in the Explorer car park, Go Ape Chessington is a brilliant addition to your stay. Lily LOVED it last summer and you get a discount as a hotel guest too.
There are different levels of challenge for different ages, with a full treetop adventure, complete with zip lines, crossings, ladders and more, suitable for anyone over 1m tall. You can check out our review here from our last visit or find out more here.