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You can now take a Segway tour of Chester Zoo – and it's AMAZING

What the Chester Chronicle's verdict of the new tour is after trying it out

The Secret Life of the Zoo has been one of Channel 4’s biggest hits of recent years.

The charming behind the scenes documentary gives viewers an unparalleled look at the 20,000 animals who call Chester Zoo home thanks to state of the art technology providing 24/7 coverage.

And it deservedly won a legion of fans who faithfully tuned in each week to coo over new baby elephants and follow all the usual family dramas which even the animal kingdom isn't immune to.

But there's only so much insight into what life's like at the UK's number one zoo once the gates close that you can glean from watching a TV show from the comfort of your couch – which is where the new Dawn Segway Tour comes into play.

It’s billed as your chance to get a glimpse of the early morning routines of the animals and their keepers before the zoo opens for the day – all while travelling in style on a Segway.

It kicks off at 8am with a 30 minute safety briefing and Segway driving lesson before the tour itself.

When an invitation to try it out landed in my inbox, of course I jumped at the chance.

But on the morning in question as I stood in line to mount my trusty steed and take on a seemingly daunting slalom course in the pouring rain before being let loose in the zoo itself, I wondered whether I was really cut out for this Segwaying lark.

Within just a few minutes, however, I went from gripping on to the handle bars for dear life, lurching around one corner to the next, to whizzing around the course with a smug grin on my face.

'Segway safari'

With the brilliant and hugely knowledgeable guide Robin Dutfield at the helm, we began our ‘Segway safari’ of sorts.

And our first stop ended up being the highlight of the whole tour – we were lucky enough to see one of the new baby rhinos born just a few weeks ago happily frolicking with its mum in the peace and quiet.

Next up were impala, the intriguing rock hyrax – whose closest living relative is, bizarrely, the elephant – antelope, zebra and the notoriously dangerous southern cassowary.

Content editor Frances Barrett takes the new Dawn Segway Tour at Chester Zoo

Then we took a turn around Islands, the £40m attraction where visitors can embark on their own expeditions through detailed recreations of South East Asian habitats.

With the rain showing no sign of stopping and the Asian songbirds doing what they do best, you could have been fooled into thinking you were actually in the middle of a Balinese monsoon.

Thanks to the Segways we were able to cover a lot of ground in our hour, even though their top speed – for safety reasons – is three miles per hour.

The wet weather might have meant some of the animals opted to keep dry indoors, but it definitely didn't dampen our spirits.

At £89 per person – which includes admission to the zoo afterwards – the cost might sound steep.

But it really does afford you a unique experience to see this magical place while the animals are at their most relaxed without all the hustle and bustle of an average day at the zoo, and to learn about some of their amazing species in a brilliantly fun way.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that every pound which goes into this charity's pockets not only helps look after the animals who live at Chester Zoo, but goes towards funding wildlife conservation projects all over the world.

The Dawn Segway Tour is one of a range of new tours at Chester Zoo, including Family Adventure and Fabulous Favourites.

For more information, click here.

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