Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Australia Zoo

OK Guys, I am finally updating you on my trip to the Australia Zoo! Wooo! Clap your hands!

So, I woke up at about 7:30 to get ready to catch the (free) 8:30 bus to the Australia Zoo. It was a huge bus, double decker, and it was completely full of people wishing to visit Steve Irwin's former home... actually over-full. Another bus showed up shortly before ours left to handle the extras.

The ride was about 50 minutes long, and during it, we watched an episode of the Crocodile Hunter (Yay Steve Irwin!). When we got to the zoo, the bus driver told us a bit about what you could find around the zoo, and mentioned that we might even be able to see a Tasmanian Tiger, which is 'extremely rare and endangered' because of a facial disease. Now, before I visited Tasmania, I might have thought 'Oh, cool, Tasmanian Tiger, I don't know what that is, but I get to see one!' but after I went to see the Tasmanian Devils in Tasmania, I found out that Tasmanian tigers either 1) do not exist or 2) have long been extinct... and I suppose 3) have not been seen for so many years that they are thought to be extinct. So I found it quite amusing that he said that, I am not sure how many other people caught that error... I'm pretty sure that he was talking about Tasmanian devils, and made a slip of the lip.... otherwise he wanted us to look like fools and ask someone where the Tasmanian tigers are....

Anyway, when I got into the zoo, I was greeted by Steve and his family...

I was actually fairly impressed with the zoo by first looks... it didn't look like your ordinary zoo... nothing in it looked like a cage. The enclosures that the animals were held in were either bigger or at least no smaller than any other ones I have seen before in any other zoos... And the workers were ALL wearing the signature Steve Irwin outfit... you know, khaki shorts and a khaki top...

The first thing I checked out was the Alligator pit. Not the crocs yet, although before I read the sign I did think that these were crocodiles... I guess I can't tell the difference... here is one cute little guy named Fang 1.

There were 6 separate pits in the Alligator area, with one or two (if it had a mate) alligators in each little pond. These alligators looked MUCH happier than that sad little croc I saw in Alice Springs... in the dirty, tiny, aquarium.

OK, so next, I decided that I would join the crowds and feed an elephant. The elephants were fed every morning at 11:30, and you were invited to do it as well if you wished (for no charge unless you buy the photo). I waited on the line and fed my friend the elephant a piece of carrot. It was interesting... he grabbed it with his trunk pretty quickly, and it was kind of wet feeling... but the elephant was very gentle in grabbing the food. I of course bought the picture because when am I ever going to have the chance to have a picture of me feeding an elephant again! It was under 10 dollars anyway cause I just bought the digital print on CD.... Here it is!

After the elephant, I passed by a small area of Koalas... the koalas were actually in a few places around the zoo, and there was even an enclosure where you could walk through and check them out... but you couldn't touch them.

Here is my favorite picture... isn't he adorable! And his eyes are open! Usually when I see them, they are asleep...
Oh, and I got a bit of video here of one of the little dears eating... awww isn't it cute?
Next, I walked by when the workers were feeding the giant tortoises... these guys are known for being slow, but when they saw that food they went over for it fairly quick... I have video of one of them eating, but it was a little too boring to show here. The woman who was talking about the tortoise as he ate invited anyone to make an appointment to come into the tortoise enclosure if we really liked turtles. I actually saw that throughout the zoo... people were in the enclosures of the (non dangerous) animals, and the animals seemed to be happy to have them there!

Soon after, I noticed that people were lining up around one area, where the gate that had once been open, was now closed. I went over there to see what was going on and saw that the workers were taking the tigers (not Tasmanian tigers) for a walk!

The animals in this zoo actually seemed like they were kind of pets, in a way. I would see the workers sitting in enclosures of animals I would think were normally too dangerous for someone to be... like the tiger cage... and the animals were fine with it. I guess this means that the animals are all happy and well taken care of... and while normally I don't think it is a good idea to have wild animals so tame towards people, it is probably nice for the ones who are going to be in captivity for the rest of their lives... they get a bit more attention, and are more OK with having people gawk at them all the time.

The next place I found was the dingos... and because the animals are always given the opportunity to have a place to hide from people (a terrific thing for a zoo to do... some zoos force the animals to be out in the open ALL the time... to never have a break from people staring at them...) I only managed to see one, which was pretty far away. They look JUST like dogs, don't they? Isn't it strange to see a dog in a zoo?

Next, I tried to find the cassowaries... which is the most dangerous bird in the world. It is found in rain forests, but in the Australian rain forest, they are pretty rare now, and it is not often that you see one in the wild. And if you do happen to see one... in the wild... you'd better stay away from it. These things have dagger sharp claws and they can kill you in seconds... and they have a sharp plate on the top of their head for slicing through the rain forest... they are bad little (big!) birds. I heard a story not too long ago of a young guy being killed by one of these because he was teasing it... not a smart thing to do.

I actually saw one of these birds in the Sydney zoo... but it was in a much smaller glass enclosure, which nowhere to hide. This was a MUCH better place for the birds... a huge forested/rain forest area with plenty of places for them to remain out of sight.

I didn't see any at first... they were all hiding in the thicker areas of their enclosure, but look at what I saw stealing their food!

These little guys were all over the zoo, just running around. Kind of cute, aren't they?

Anyhow, I did eventually see one of the birds... here is the picture... look scary? Actually it kind of looks like a turkey, doesn't it?

And here is video too!

Next, I saw the crocs. And WOW were some of these suckers big... this one was huge... too bad I couldn't have someone stand next to it for scale... but actually, the crocs were one part that I did NOT see any workers sitting around in the cages... I don't think that crocodiles could ever be tame pets. Same with alligators...

So, throughout the zoo there were cute little Steve Irwin things... this one made me laugh so I had to take a picture of it. It was a kiddie ride...

Hehe, cute, huh? Who wouldn't want a statue like that in their living room?

Next up was the snakes. The snakes enclosures were kind of small (in my eyes) but were still bigger than I have ever seen any other ones. The poor snakes always end up in tiny areas...

But I really did like how they made the home look like how their home would look in the wild...

See an enclosure from afar...

and this is how one side of the room looked... I think normally snakes enclosures would be about half the size of the ones here, or even smaller, so I guess its not too bad.

Right outside the snakes home I saw wombats... and they were all asleep. I was hoping to see one wake up and walk around (no, I did not bang on the glass) but no such luck. So here is a picture of a sleeping wombat...

BUT lucky me! What I saw were only the SLEEPING quarters of the wombat! Outside they had a whole huge area to play and dig!

Here is an AWAKE wombat... he looks a bit like a cross between a gopher and a bear, doesn't he?

OK, next it was on to the bird aviary! It was pretty big, big enough that I didn't see too many birds, except a few small ones...

and there was a worker that walked by with a cockatoo on her wrist... he was cute, could say hello, and hello pretty boy and hello pretty girl (she told him to say hello pretty girl to me, but he said hello pretty boy. Hmph, insulted by a bird.) and he also did the raise the wings trick...

Secretly I was thinking, 'hah, Aunt Chris' bird can do that!'

After the aviary, I went to ROO HEAVEN!

This was an amazing part of the zoo... you walked into this enclosure, and it was like a huge park, with kangaroos all around. EVERYWHERE. Kids are playing, and kangaroos are chilling out right next to them. People are feeding the roos, or just sitting next to them...

and of course, like all of the enclosures, the kangaroos had a place where they could go to get away from everyone, where we were not allowed to go...

When I left Roo Heaven, I was on to see the elephants!

There were 3 that I saw... and it looked like a mommy, a daddy, and a baby elephant... they were so cute, but they snubbed us for a few minutes it seemed...

Of course, when the keepers entered the enclosure, they went right up to them. I wonder what they are all gabbing about? Perhaps the elephants were letting them know what they wanted to eat tonight?

Here is a better picture of when they were having a drink...

And just for all of you, another video!

This was neat... right next to the elephant enclosure, they had a statue of Ganesh, the Hindu Elephant God...

And people actually left him offerings of flowers and money!

Next, I went to see the tigers in their enclosure. They were a bit far away for me to get a good picture of them from the outside area...

But there was a better view when I got to the glass paneled area. Unfortunately, you can tell that you are behind glass so the pics aren't as good as they could be. I did get a video of the tiger playing with it's ball... not a terrific video because the end of the wall was right there, but you can get the idea!

After the tigers, I left the India portion of the zoo (since obviously tigers and elephants are not native to Australia) and I must say I was impressed with how they did that portion. The sculptures and flowers, and the effort to make it feel like you were in an Indian zoo... not that I have ever been in an Indian zoo, but I could imagine that it was like this.

So, on to the Emus! I wasn't THAT interested in seeing the Emus, because I have seen them in the wild... but I thought this was cute. This was an area of the enclosure where the Emu was supposed to have a bit of privacy, so it was covered with a burlap so no one could see in and the emus couldn't see out... but this little guy was wondering who was out there... nosy bird!

I walked by the Tasmanian devil enclosure, but I didn't see even one Tasmanian devil. Good thing I saw them in Tasmania, huh?

I had heard from people that they thought the Australia Zoo was kind changed into a memorial to Steve, but I didn't notice it too much... the only 'goodbye' I saw was this one... although maybe the few statues I saw were all added after he died?

Next, I saw the Echindas, another one of Australias strange native creatures. It looks a little bit like a porcupine, doesn't it?

And it walks strangely too... can anyone say VIDEO???

Next, I had to walk back through the kangaroo territory, and I am glad I did! Check out this beautiful roo... a (mostly) white one! Have you ever seen such a thing!

I had lunch in the food court (I had an American Burger... they were nice enough to call it 'ketchup' as opposed to 'tomato sauce' when you ordered the American Burger!)

You know how birds are sometimes pests and the pidgeons will go on the empty tables to eat the food people left? Well, it's not the pidgeons that are the problem in the Australia zoo...

The LAST thing that I did was hold a koala. Yes, I decided to do it... just because I might never have a chance to hold a koala again. He was cute, but his nails are really sharp, and boy do those things smell!

So, that was the end of my Australian Zoo adventure! We got back on the bus, and watched another Steve Irwin's Crocodile Hunter film, and got back to Noosa. Oh! I forgot to mention! On my walk around the zoo, I saw ANOTHER person that I knew before... an irish guy... and again, I couldn't for the life of me remember WHERE I knew him. He wasn't one of the irish brothers that I met on the Frasier Island trip... and I couldn't remember the last time I met an irish guy... but then as soon as he left I remembered... he was on my rafting trip! Ugh, my memory.

ALSO... when I was leaving Noosa... I saw ANOTHER person that was on my Heading Bush trip! Penny was just getting off the bus that I was getting on! How cool was that, it was so nice to see another person... Awww, I miss them all!

OK, that is all for now guys! Enjoy the videos!


Cheryl said...

That's funny, in that elephant video it looks like that elephant has two trunks! You can't see the other elephant behind him! *lol*

Lisah0822 said...

hahaha cheryl, i was thinking the SAME thing. i did a double take, lol.
What no LIONS??? awesome croc pic though. and that is the cutest pic of you holding the koala!!!


PMH said... koala picture is so adorable! I want a koala!

Neat zoo!

Oh yeah...I love your haircut!