Monday, June 23, 2008

A Birthday Trip to the Zoo.

There are only two things that have remained consistent in the life of my youngest son, Isaac. They are monkeys and the colour orange. Ever since he was very little these have both been his great obsessions in life. As a birthday gift this year we decided to give him the chance to get up close and personal with the primate section of the Auckland zoo. They run such things as the Zoom Tour which means you are taken backstage in the zoo to hand feed animals. The natural choice for him was to go to the monkeys. Part of the thrill for him though was probably the fact that he actually got a day off school as well :-) What more could an 11 year old want?

The day dawned bright and sunny, the perfect day for a stroll around the zoo. The plan was that he would take the tour and I would meet him afterwards as we couldn't afford for both of us to go but when we got there the tour guide said that I was to go with him, free of charge. What a great day off work for me also :-) We had a blast!!!!

Isaac feeding banana to a ring tailed lemur from Madagascar. So cute!

The lemurs were awesome. They have the most amazing tails that they wrap around themselves like a natural scarf. Their hands are human like as they grab onto your hand to get to the food. They are just like the lemur from the movie "Madagascar". You could almost hear them sing "we like to move it, move it....."

Me measuring my hand against the hand cast of an orangutan in the zoo. They are huge animals!

Hand feeding wiggly, live worms to hungry, lively, cotton topped tamarinds.

The lemurs are so gentle with such amazingly, orange eyes.

Iwani is a siamang gibbon. He loved it when we held his hand and tickled his feet and made sure that he was the centre of attention at all times. He thought my Isy was cool.

Those little worms were quite gross really but obviuosly a treat for these little fellas. The funny thing is that when they had had enough they went off to balance their diet with fruit and vegetables. If only my boys thought like that!

Our 1 1/2 hour tour was extended by an hour due to all the fun we were having. As a special treat we got to see where the rhinos slept at night. While there the keeper said she was going to feed the rhinos and did we want to help. "Of course", was the quick reply. What an awesome experience that was!

Standing that close and touching an animal that could kill you in a second was quite an experience. Their skin felt like cracked mud, was leathery, yet had little hairs all over it so it tickled as well. Amazing!

It was a fabulous day that neither Isaac nor I will ever forget. One of the most special parts was hearing the zoo keepers discover the birth of tiger cubs that they had been eagerly awaiting. Such a special event and we will be amongst the first to line up to view these wee cubs when they finally go on display in another month or so. If you ever come to NZ we will be sure to take you to the zoo and we will be encouraging you to get up close and personal with your favourite animals.

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