El albergue

El albergue

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Zoo!!!!

Early morning Day 6, Mom and Dad and I were off to Taronga Zoo, which is just a ferry ride across the harbor from Circular Quay. Coming from all the great zoos in California, we weren’t super sure how this one was going to stand out for us, but by the end of the day, we were really glad we had gone.

Although we didn't get to hear its fun chuckle, the kookaburra was so darn cute and fluffy!

We got to see so many different kinds of animals, a lot of them different from ones back home. There were the little platypuses that we almost didn’t get to see because they are so shy. There were sleepy kangaroos and wallabies sprawled out in the shade to avoid the growing warmth of the late spring sun. There were tons of brilliantly colored birds strutting and swooping through the aviaries, cocking their heads at us from their perches on branches and rocky ledges. There were echidnas trundling around among the leaves. There were nimble mountain goats standing at attention all over the steepest of steep rock faces, tantalizing the snow leopard behind the fence nearby. There was a pygmy hippo happily munching away at a pile of straw, with his buddy the cottontail rabbit contentedly nibbling beside him. There were crocodiles, a tapir, and several animals I don’t even know the names of.

Such a funny little pair...

We went on a tour down Big Cat Lane, the zoo volunteer leading the small group imparting tons of information about the zoo itself and the individual animals we saw. It was almost like they were people to her, each with its own story and personality.

We unexpectedly got to watch the bull elephant being put through is paces from afar as we ate our lunch – that sucker is strong! And the Seal Show was lots of fun too. It never ceases to amaze me how intelligent some animals are and how incredibly gifted they are in ways we humans could never hope for. The best show though was the Bird Show. Looking out over the harbor with the city for a background, it was amazing to watch the different parrots, raptors, etc swoop around at their trainers’ command. The finale was especially breathtaking, with flocks of white and black cockatoos sweeping the sky in perfectly coordinated strokes of color.

I just barely managed to capture the very end of the show. Can you imagine a better view for it?

On our way out of the zoo, we came across the enclosure for the female elephants. At this point we were a bit tired out by all the walking and sunshine and noisy, sunscreen-smeared children running around in baseball hats, but we arrested our rush home to sit and watch as three of these huge creatures played like little kids in their special pool. They were pushing each other under, sometimes two ganging up on one, rolling around and swimming to their hearts’ content. The smallest one, although an adult female like the others, was particularly mischievous, constantly provoking the other two to hold her under. Even underwater, she continued to impishly wave the very tip of her trunk over the reverberating waves. It was soothing to watch them playing together, miraculously changed by the buoyancy of the water from lumbering behemoths to weightless ingénues indulging in the simplest of impulses – play.

One last look over the zoo as we rode the Sky Safari cable cars down to the ferry, an evening view of the harbor and the city as we motored through the waves, a little bit of shut eye on the train, and soon we were back home for dinner with my brother and sister-in-law – stir fry and pear pie for all!

Happy day :)

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