Thursday, April 24, 2014

Melbourne Zoo

Yesterday I visited Melbourne Zoo. It was easy to get there via public transport, and I took a train there that stopped about 50m from the gate. Then I took the tram back into the city, passing parkland with cycle lanes, and the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital. It was special to see this place which proved to be vital for a baby I know.

You enter the zoo from the back entrance when you go via rail or tram, and the first enclosures I saw from this direction were the big cats- and I was concerned at how small these were. However, the rest of the zoo has had extensive development, and had many interesting displays. I'll just share a few of my favourite bits here.

 An unexpected surprise was the platypus house. I had no idea they were nocturnal, and I didn't realise they were quite so small. I guess I had imagined they were more like otters in size. The platypus was very active while I was watching- swimming around with great abandon. This photo is of course of the statue outside- 'no flash' in a nocturnal house, plus a speedy platypus didn't help with photos!
 I loved the section where the seal and penguins were. At the entrance were these Southern Fiddler Rays, which are apparently quite docile. They were swimming around vigorously in their tank- and their colours blended in well with the stony bottom.

 What amazed me the most about the penguin tank was how close the penguins came to me- just metres away. You could easily see all the waterproofing on their backs.

 Another of my favourite sections was the area near the main gate set up for children. There were glass fences that allowed children an excellent view of the meerkats. Here's one on 'duty'- though the meerkats seemed very used to people close by.

One of the other animals in this children's section were these big tortoises- and I happened to time it right to see them eating.
 The primate section was amazing- built at various heights so you could see different lemurs and monkeys etc at the height in the trees where they lived most comfortably. Some of these lemurs came very close to people.

And of course the baby monkey was one of the stars of the day...

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