Saturday, September 23, 2006

i just had the coolest zoo experience ever. taronga park zoo's roar and snore program.

you turn up on friday afternoon (i was late like normal. organisation and pre-planning is something that happens to other people) and have a few nibblies while the very friendly zoo staff bring out some animals to meet you.

with my poor short, medium and long term memory i'm struggling to remember it all. however there was a carpet python, which kept threatening to head either to the roof or down the handler's trousers. we got to meet an opossum (i think) a ring tailed possum, a littler snake which was very bright orange with red bits, a wierd little lizard with little diamond shaped, um, leathery tiles on his skin. then they took us into a room and sat us in a circle while a koori lad taught us a few things (i shoulda been taking notes) about critters, while a baby wallaby and an echidna crawled around the room seeking attention.

the staff then took us walking around the zoo. we saw fairey penguins (ok, not that exciting, we get heaps of them at home), sleeping lions (very cool) a sumatran tiger whose camouflage let her blend effortlessly into the darkness, red pandas, snow leopards (we had to take their word for it because we didn't see them until the next day), two red kangaroos fighting, and some nocturnal critters.

the next morning, after a 6:00am breakfast, we unpacked our tents and followed our guides for a morning walk through the zoo. we got to go in and feed the giraffes, pat an australian sea lion, see the chef preparing meals for the animals, a choice few ate some worms then we watched the chimpanzees (i think) get up for their morning's escapades. the lady who looked after the sea lion was great. she had him rolling over, shaking hands and generally playing up for the crowd.

i couldn't believe it when last the last thing our handlers said, before letting us loose for the rest of the day, was how much they enjoyed having us. these people must really love their jobs i reckon. they love their animals, they are passionate, friendly, good at dealing with people, and lots of fun.

i'm not usually involved with the above water people who love animals, but these people were special. a credit to their organisation.

the rest of the day was good, not as good as the night before, but had some highlights. the bird feeding school was great. the seal show was pretty good too, but a little too crowded for my liking. and i can see these babies perform at home. the otters were very cool. i love them.

it's a lot of fun, and a very personal experience. roar and snore. i highly recommend it for big kids

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