A fun but wet day at the Melbourne Zoo……..

I’ve been very slack with my blog posts, but we had a 4 day trip down to Melbourne so I could see a neurologist.  Rather than me flying down for the day just for the doctors appointment, we crazily decided to drive down and stay a few days, primarily to go to the zoo again and to catch up with some friends.  We also squeezed in some visits to Scienceworks and the Melbourne Museum.  Melbourne did not play nice with the weather and it was wet for our whole trip and rather cold!

Despite the very Melbourne weather we did make it to the zoo on Sunday the 26th of April.  On our last Melbourne zoo visit, 2 years earlier, we’d had much nicer weather.  Unfortunately, the Sunday morning was really the only time we could make it to the zoo as Anto either had to work the other days or we had other commitments.  The weather forecast was pretty woeful and it was already raining when we left the apartment we were staying at, in St Kilda.  The kids were excited about the zoo trip, so we figured a couple of hours in the rain to see a few animals was better than nothing….. and being Melbourne it might be sunny in an hours time anyway!

As we had the car with us this trip, we drove to the zoo, and arrived just after opening.  It was already sleeting and rather cold, but we rugged up and decided to head in.  It was pretty wet and cold but, on the upside there were very few other visitors so we had no crowds to fight. We got up close and personal with the tigers (from behind the glass), and wandered all around the large elephant exhibit, to finally find them hiding out of the wind, and trying to roll in the dirt.

I had already decided that I had failed to wear enough layers of clothing as I was pretty cold. Astrid had already fallen over in some mud, and was wet and cold too, so we headed into the butterfly enclosure where it was blissfully warm and we could watch the hundreds of butterflies flitting about. Last time we were here, Astrid was a bit scared of them landing on her and Anto. This time she couldn’t wait for them to land on her. Soren was happy to sit in the stroller mesmerised by the butterflies.  Then Astrid had to have lengthy discussions with other zoo patrons about how caterpillars turn into butterflies……… which somehow turned into discussing how she rode on an elephant in Thailand a few weeks earlier.

We bravely left the warmth of the butterfly enclosure to head back out into the wet and cold.  It was nice and dry for about 10 minutes at a time, then wet again, but the dry periods were enjoyable. We checked out the pelicans, who never cease to amaze us with how big they actually are! Then the other wetlands birds and the koalas (who were predictably sleeping), and the orangutans.  The orangutans were doing their best to have a lazy Sunday morning sleep, by pulling their tarps over their heads and refusing to interact with any of the visitors!  Very fun to watch, if a little antisocial………..

Then it was off to Astrid’s long-time favourites the giraffes and zebras.  The Canberra zoo only had one giraffe (and the zebras seemed to be AWOL our last few visits) so it was nice to see them again.  The giraffes were having a feed on hay so gave us plenty of opportunity to say hello, up nice and close.

Next it was off to the walk through bird enclosure. I remember Astrid loving this last time we were here.  There happened to be a zoo keeper doing a talk, and feeding some of the birds while we were there (and pretty much no other visitors).  So the poor zoo keeper got to answer ALL of Astrid’s questions! We did get to see some of the birds up nice and close as they came in for some treat foods.

It was starting to rain again and the children were getting hungry and cold, the adults were most definitely in need of coffee. So we promised we’d head back towards the cafes to grab some lunch and get out of the wet.  We wandered past the kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, wombats and emus – most of whom were avoiding the wet and not being all that interesting. We then found some of the primates to have a chat to.

By this stage Soren was sleeping, but we were cold and hungry so we headed inside for some warmth and lunch (and coffee) while he slept through the entire lunch in the stroller.  We grabbed him some food to eat later as we (correctly) assumed it was probably the only sleep he was going to have all day.  We also managed to avoid another nasty storm while inside and emerged to only minimal sleet.

During our lunch break we had a look at the map and decided what animals we wanted to get to see with our remaining hour and a bit, before we had to head off to our afternoon activities.  We wanted to see the last of the big animals like the bears, tigers and lions.  We spotted the bears no problems, but the lions, leopards and tigers were all hiding in their sleeping spots out of the rain. We did spot quite a few curled up in comfy corners, just like our cats do, if nothing else it was fun to play ‘spot the sleeping feline’.   The next stop was the penguins, seals and aquarium.  Astrid and Soren could have spent all day watching the cheeky seals play with us, both underwater and on the surface.

Soren loves fish, so was happy to see any and all fish, but Astrid was disappointed the penguins were hiding from her, under a shrub, having a rest.  The ones at the Canberra zoo are always happy to play so she wasn’t impressed with the shyer Melbourne version.

The Canberra zoo also has quite a few lemurs, but the walk through enclosure at Melbourne zoo is much cooler as the lemurs were being particularly cheeky and happy to come right up to us for a chat and a play.  The weather had improved quite a bit and the crowds were starting to build up but we still got quite a bit of attention from the lemurs, who were so cute that you almost wanted to take one home!

We had heard that one of the gorillas had a 6 week old baby, so we had to swing by the last of the primates on the way out.  We did get to see the mummy gorilla and her baby all tucked up for a sleep.  Astrid and Soren enjoyed chatting to the other primates and the pygmy hippos, most of which were trying to ignore the visitors and have some rest.

Then it was time to bid the zoo farewell. We had seen 90% of the exhibits, and at least most of the cooperating animals……… maybe for our next visit we will make it all the way around!  Despite the weather the kids had a ball and it was fun (if little damp) four hours!

It turns out that the last time we visited the Melbourne zoo, was one day shy of 2 years earlier, 27 April 2013.  Astrid was 22 months and I was 16 weeks pregnant with Soren.  How little does Astrid look on that visit? A lot changes in 2 years……… her little brother is now wearing the boots she did on the last Melbourne zoo visit!

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