Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Day at the Zoo

Today we went to the zoo with a family we are friends with from school. The three children are the same ages as my oldest three, and in the same classes. Very convenient.
I was really motivated to get to the zoo these holidays after Sophie started asking a bunch of questions about how a zoo worked and it was clear she didn't remember at all the last time we visited (to be honest, I don't remember how long ago it was either). Sophie is very scared of animals though (will not let me put her down when we are at a house that has a cat, even if said cat is outside, for example) and she was a bit worried about all the animals that could be at a zoo. Of course a zoo without animals is really just a fancy garden, but she would have been happy with that, I suspect. The only animal she thought she would be happy to see was the hippo. I didn't have the heart to tell her they are actually extremely dangerous. She made me promise not to go anywhere near lions or tigers, even after we talked about cages and fences.
We had a lovely day though - the weather was perfect and all kids behaved extremely well. We didn't see all the animals, but we enjoy our visits there much more now we don't try and race around to see everything.

Sophie kept matchmaking every group of animals - 'look, there's the mummy and there's the baby. where's the sister?' and remained convinced the crocodiles were fake. Okay, they weren't moving, and they were 'silver, not green' so I can see why she thought that.
She was pretty happy to see the hippos early on in the day - they must have just cleaned out the tank and were just filling it up again, so the hippos weren't hidden underwater.

I got my first surprise when she didn't freak out at the siamangs, which were very noisy as usual. She had a great time watching them and laughing at the funny noises they made. I don't have any photos of the one that was hanging right out of the tree as far as it could reach to get as close to the humans as possible. Hannah was taking photos at that time and there are a lot of the lovely lush trees but none of the actual monkeys.

Sophie happily walked through the rainforest exhibit spotting different birds. I commented to Sonia that she must have not realised that there weren't actually any barriers between us and the birds.

We were totally astounded when we made it to the children's zoo and Sophie happily patted rabbits, chicks and a quokka. She loved the quokka, although I didn't get a photo of that.

And, yes, in the photo following you can see my totally animal-paranoid daughter standing right up next to a kangaroo and patting it with both hands! Amazing. Next to her is Hannah, and in the foreground Toby.

We made it to the lions, which are in quite an open enclosure, and she was even happy to hang out watching them for a while. I think she finally realised they couldn't actually get out!
The tigers were harder to find - they have built these gorgeous plant-filled enclosures where you are slightly elevated above the ground, but of course it's ridiculously hard to find the actual animals. Bring back the days of a lone tiger pacing back and forth in a barren cage, I say. At least you can actually see them! But we did catch a glimpse of the one tiger's stripy back way back behind the trees if we ducked down and looked under the railing. And in the other enclosure you could see some movement way back at the back of the enclosure behind the trees which was presumably the tiger.

Photo: Ryan and Mitchell ham it up in the rainforest walk.

Photo: My biggest baby all worn out in the pram.

One cool but gross thing we saw was the ghost bats in the nocturnal house eating. They were eating chicks, hanging upside down, holding the chicks around the necks and eating their brains out through their beaks. Actually the nocturnal house was the only place Sophie got spooked. It was dark and there were lots of kids running around, so it's understandable.

And a funny - Sophie kept asking the keepers if we could buy the animals. Fortunately she wasn't too ambitious with this, her favourites were the guinea pigs and rabbits.

1 comment:

Nana Gabe said...

lovely story thanks for sharing that day. no wonder you are not playing scrabulous at the moment