Sea City zebras


23 August 2016

Last Thursday, Ticket To Ride, the zebra stolen from Vincent’s Walk on 6 August, was found in the Itchen, near the Southampton Water Activities Centre in the shadow of the Itchen Bridge. He was discovered by a group of children having sailing lessons with instructor Sam Spencer as they began to anchor their boat. Although he was serioisly damaged it was nothing irreparable and the Marwell team are hoping to get him fixed and back on the trail as soon as possible. We knew he wouldn’t be back yet but, today, our mission was to find the last of the unvandalised zebras in the city centre.

It was yet another hot, humid day and we set off over the bridge into town with high hopes. All the zebras on today’s list were inside buildings so there was a fairly good chance they would have escaped the vandals. We did have a cursory look in the parks on our way to Sea City Museum. Retracing our steps from the first part of last week’s walk we found the same empty plinths in the same places. None of the zebras had been repaired and returned but we hadn’t really expected them to be.

Our first stop was Sea City Museum. With rather of lot zebras on our list for the day, we didn’t have time to actually visit the museum and we’d already seen Dave standing outside, but we did have to go inside to find the five baby zebras the app told me would be hiding in there somewhere. Luckily, you can visit the museum shop and cafe without actually paying to go into the museum itself, although I’m not quite sure how they manage to police this.


We found the first four zebras in the foyer, lined up under the plan of the museum. They were certainly a colourful bunch. As I stood looking at the app trying to tick them off the unmistakable sound of a Spitfire flying overhead almost had me rushing back outside with my camera at the ready. CJ and I looked at each other, both poised to run.
“It’s the Spitfire on the circular screen upstairs isn’t it?” CJ said at the exact moment I realised the same thing. We would have looked rather stupid running out of the building staring up at the sky, although I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. In fact the staff are probably used to it by now.


Laughing to ourselves we walked along the row of baby zebras looking at them and taking photos. Zeela was on the far right. She was painted with brightly coloured stripes and spotty legs by the children of Fawley Infant School.


Next came Zooela, an amalgamation of designs by Bobbie Scott-Langrish, Anna Armitage and Olivia Gregory from years 3 and 4 of Blackfield Primary School. She had a mixture of stripes, zigzags and even hearts in blue, green, yellow, red, orange and pink. I especially liked the stripy socks on her front legs.


Colour Patch was another zebra from Blackfield Primary School, this time designed and painted by Lewis Asher, Grace Courtney-Cooper and Alisha Collins  from reception and year 2. There’s a touch of the harlequin in Colour Patch’s design with diamonds of different colours, some interesting stripe combinations and even the odd lightning bolt.


Finally, we stopped to look at Danger, painted by the children of Lymington Junior School. The children were inspired by an assembly on conservation led by Marwell’s Education Ranger, Laura, and he is a beautiful mixture of different endangered animals.


For a moment we thought the first part of our mission was accomplished. Then I remembered there were supposed to be five baby zebras and we’d only seen four. It seemed we were going to have to hunt around for the final one. We were wondering where to start when CJ spotted a sign with an arrow saying ‘this way to Zeus.’ Obviously we followed it.

Zeus was in the corridor leading to the cafe and gift shop. He was painted by the year 5 & 6 children of Blackfield Primary School using a combination of designs by Josh Bose, Bo Brackley and Faith Prickett. The children and parents of the school had so much fun painting their three zebras a painting club has been formed.


Now we’d ticked all the Sea City zebras off our list it was time to leave. This turned out to be a lot harder than I’d expected because CJ was very taken with all the old fashioned slot machines lining the corridor. They were all in working order and seemed to be have converted to accept modern coins. Of course CJ wanted to play but he didn’t have any coins and neither did I.
“Maybe we can come back another time and make sure we have coins with us?” I suggested.
“That sounds like a plan,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ve played on some of these before. I think they must have come from the Victorian arcade in Canute’s Pavillion.”
He was probably right. He spent a lot of Saturday mornings playing in that arcade so I guess he should know.



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Writer, walker, coffee drinker, chocolate eater, lover of nature, history and the little things that make me smile

14 thoughts on “Sea City zebras”

  1. I think it’s great they formed a painting club! Not only have the zebras gotten folks out walking and searching for them, it has taught the kids art can (and should be) fun.

      1. They used to have old penny chance machines down on the old pier in the 60’s my Gran loved an afternoon strolling and gossiping and a bit of sun. Great days.

        1. They’re great fun and it’s nice they’ve converted them to accept modern money. I remember playing on similar machines as a child on holiday.

    1. I’m not sure about the paint they use but they have done a wonderful job on all the baby zebras. The museum is great fun and really interesting. We’ve been a few times and I especially like the a Titanic exhibition. So much of the recent history of the city is connected to that ill fated voyage.

  2. Lovely zebras. You must have seen nearly all of them now? I didn’t know they had old slot machines at the SeaCity museum – I am going to have to have a visit there now. I recently did a post about the ones at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – the ones I remember from my childhood holidays at Southsea Funfair. That racing machine looks cool.

    1. The s.ot machines are in the corridor leading to the cafe and shop so you don’t even have to pay to visit the museum I’d you don’t want to.

  3. Lovely zebras again, so glad they found one. Our local museum has kept a selection of old pennies for the slot machines.. the children love buying them …over and over to play with “proper” slot machines! (Their words!)

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed your zebra hunt! It’s great that the zebras can get people out and about without having to stare at their phones playing a silly game. I’m sorry to hear about the vandalism, but I’m glad the lost zebra was found!

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