The Dudley Zoo has an advantage over every other in the world: Dudley Castle.
Our tour guide was Brother Dudley, a medieval monk.
Here are the kids inside the triple gateway, reputed to be haunted because of all the people who died there.
Through this opening in the ceiling, once covered in wood instead of brick, soldiers above could pour boiling oil down on trapped invaders...
...caught between wooden doors that could be dropped on either side of the multiple arches in the long corridor.
Most of the castle was destroyed by fire in the 1750s. It had been beautifully restored by John Dudley in the Renaissance, but he was beheaded by Mary I for trying to put his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne.
It was believed that someone might have been using the castle ovens to produce counterfeit coins when he started the fire.
Many of the servants were trapped and died; thus, the castle is reputed to be filled with spirits, such as this storage room where a ghost has reportedly often been seen by visitors.
We also got a tour of the armory, not currently open to the public.
This is where school groups get educated on medieval medicine, folklore and embalming.
Even the graffiti in the castle is centuries old.
Some areas are remarkably untouched by the destruction...
...while others are in a much greater state of decay.
The views all over the zoo grounds are terrific, however.
And the resident monkeys, seals, emus, red pandas, etc. get to enjoy it all the time.