Cruise to the Zoo – with the Gleeson Crew.

How did Loz welcome her folks to Sydney? Read more…

Recently my mum and dad came to visit from Tassie. Cue the two-headed, inbred jokes – it’s better to get them out of your system before we go any further. Done? Good, let’s get on with it then…

In anticipation of the parentals coming to town, Ally in our Employee Experience team generously offered to organise a RedBalloon experience to the Zoo. And our wonderful suppliers set me up with tickets for the Sydney Harbour Cruise and Entry to Taronga Zoo experience.

Being a family of animal lovers, mum and dad were beside themselves with excitement for our big day out. They hadn’t been to Taronga Zoo since bringing my eldest brother to Sydney in the late 1970s, and the last time I stepped foot in a zoo with my dad was in Melbourne in 1994. That was the year of the Great Otter Episode…where dad thought it a swell idea to throw the little fella the remnants of his apple core. Apparently it’s part of their natural diet, well according to Philip “bush tucker man” Gleeson anyway. That was a highly embarrassing moment, so I’m sure you can understand that I had a level of apprehension about the visit…

Would you trust this man?
Would you trust this man?

On with the story. We caught a bus from the Northern Beaches (quite a novel experience for mum and dad, and quite the daily grind for me) to Circular Quay where we enjoyed what can only be described as a “sub-optimal” coffee experience, before boarding our ferry to the Zoo. The trip was stunning – even though I live in Sydney, I never stop being amazed by how beautiful the harbour looks from the water. It was a quick trip, but well worth the bus trip into the city to make the most of the first part of this experience.

 

The Cruise
The Bridge
Cruising
Cruising

We arrived at the zoo right on opening – the early bird catches the worm; “there’s no point sleeping your life away so get up and get at it”, as dad would say. First stop was the gift shop – dad needed a hat to protect his Tassie skin from the harsh Sydney heat. Then it was on to the bird show!

 

I can’t understand how they train the birds to fly around at high speed and come back! Why don’t they just fly away? We saw some amazing birds – the owls were a highlight for me. But embarrassingly, I actually found the Cockatoo the most entertaining of all – the little fella would take a coin from your hand and put it in the donation box! (Mental note: I must get myself one of those birds to help me collect coffee money from around the office…)

Bird Show
Bird Show
Cheecky Cockatoos
Cheecky Cockatoos

 

Then it was off to the Meerkats! What hilarious little characters they are –I literally could have stood there and watched them all day with their silly little antics. But I think the pictures do it more justice…

 

Welcome to Meerkat manor...
Welcome to Meerkat manor…

Then it was on to the big cats. Snow Leopards, Lions, Tigers were all to follow. I understand that Zoos – and Taronga particularly has a wonderful record of this – play such an important role in education and conservation, but my heart sinks every time I see these regal animals in a cage. Pacing back and forth all day long.

Lonely Snow Leopard
Lonely Snow Leopard

 

But, I couldn’t wait around all day feeling sad for the big cats – there was a seal show to see! Now I have trained dogs before and that can be challenging. But these seals were AMAZING! Balancing balls, waving with their flippers, powering out of the water to hit markers on the ceiling. They were just amazing. And all of the seals in the show had been rescued from the wild – some were injured by sharks, others orphaned and some caught in fishing nets. It was amazing to see what these animals can do when shown love and compassion. It was a hot day, so were thankful for the constant splashed of salt water coming from the pool.

 

Seal show
Seal show

 

After a lunch of toasties in the food hall, next to the elephant enclosure, it was on to see the Mountain Goats, a Tapir, and a mini Hippo (I use the word ‘mini’ lightly…). And just when you think you’ve seen everything; a funny little tree cat pops out of nowhere to say hi (bottom right)…

 

More Animals
More Animals

 

We hit the gift shop again at the end – mainly for a photo op – and then jumped on the ferry back to the city. It was a great family day out – even for a 27-year-old with her parents! Good, wholesome fun, and plenty of exercise.

And that was our day at the Zoo
And that was our day at the Zoo

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Megan
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    My favourite zoo memory was in Adelaide. A hippo was trying to sit underwater on the floor of the pond, but everytime it got there it would start floating to the top – bottom first. Then it had to swim down all over agin. I spent a loooong time watching it through the glass.

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