We finally went to the zooooooooo!
It was gorgeous on Wednesday, sunny and hot and perfect weather for zooification. We packed the camera and a bottle of water, dug out my straw cowboy hat from the backseat of the Honda and off we went! Auckland Zoo is a medium sized zoo, with lots and lots of animals. But the best and most surprising thing about it was the lack of cages.. You could get right up close to most of the animals, like monkeys, galapagos tortoise and keas. We spent the whole day there, walking around being way over stimulated shouting at things like excited 8 year olds and eating ice cream. It was pretty great.
We went at noon, the hottest time of the day, so most animals were having a nap, like this Cheetah who was snoozing next to a giant bloody femur. We missed out on a few animals because of the heat though, like elephants, tigers and penguins, so that just means another trip to the zoo is in order. During February and March Auckland Zoo is open late on wednesday nights, so you can take a walk around in the evening. They will have bands playing in the rotunda and I WILL GO TO THERE.
Some animals didn’t seem to mind the heat. The Africa section was pretty happening. This is a giraffe mom with two babies. They shared their space with some ostriches and a bunch of little zebras.
These are some kind of awesome crane. They stood about 4 1/2 – 5 feet high and seemed very peaceful.
I stared lovingly at this one for a long time, telling it how pretty it was.
Finally it got bored of me and went over to have a little sit in the shade. LOOK AT ITS LEGS! So creepy.
I don’t have a picture, but between the cranes and this Japanese garden we stopped by to say hello to a chimpanzee named Janie. She’s 57 years old and one of the oldest chimpanzee’s living in captivity in the world. She’s got asthma and diabetes, but despite that she’s looking pretty good for an old girl. The zoo is very modern and updated, with lots of trees and each animal has an environment to live in that is very much like one they came from. But Janie still lives in her old zoo enclosure, which is definitely from another era. Concrete walls painted with murals and steel bars, but that’s her home, it’s what she’s used to, and she likes it. She has tv to watch, a radio, some sweet posters of sharks on the wall. She has lots of toys laying around, and things to play with when she feels like it. Usually she carries around a red plastic phone everywhere she goes, tucking it up under her belly while she swings from one place to another, but she didn’t have it on her today.
We stood outside her cage, and said “Hello Janie” to her and waved. She was laying down taking a nap with her hand on her forehead, but when she heard us she got up and came down to see us. It felt so sad actually, like saying hi to a very hairy old woman… seeing her up and about made tons of people flock over and she looked at us forlornly and disappeared to hide from them. I love zoos, but sometimes, they make me desperately sad. It’s okay there, CB is going to move in with her and give her his iPhone to play with and she is going to take care of him like a baby!
This is a pygmy marmoset. Its the size of my fist and has a little scowly face like gollum. I like it.
This is an African Conure I made friends with.
We watched otters playing around until the place got swarmed with kids screaming at the tops of their lungs in a variety of languages to make their parents come over and see the otters. The otters ran off and hid under some logs.
And look at this mighty beauty! A galapagos turtle just walking around, having a snack with a pukeko!
Om nom nom, loving me some grass.
We watched the tortoise very slowly notice the pukeko, and then the hunt was on. One achingly slow step at a time it “lunged” towards the bird. The pukeko just looked up, and walked slightly to the left, evading the fierce predator. The tortoise, defeated, decided to go have a nap under the tree. That’s when it got real. There was ANOTHER TORTOISE ALREADY THERE that I totally just thought was a rock the whole time. They fought for nap spot supremacy.
There was no winner or loser, they came to a compromise and just decided to share. What’s even better than a turtle butt, you ask? A turtle with it’s head all jammed up inside it’s shell. So great. CB says it makes him think of very cold water……
Around the corner was a tortoise house, that was very cool and shady and had a bunch of nice fresh black soil for turtle sleeps. There was the biggest mack daddy tortoise in there, going up the steps towards it. Every step he took a little nap, woke up, slowly pulled himself up to the next one, took a nap.. and so on. This is him glaring at me for judging him. Staring right into my SOUL as if he knows how it takes me to get up the stairs too… how does he know….
Then we found the SEEEEEEEALS!
So cute with its little tube body and flippers all flopping around!
And then this door opened, and a trainer walked in followed by a tubby little tube of a fur seal! It flomped along, like a little googly eyed dog with no legs, and I thought about whether or not I could steal it…
The trainer would have him press his nose to her fist, and wait, and then he got a fish. I’m not sure what they were training, fist kisses for fishes? Everytime the fur seal got one though, the sea lion would shoot up out of the water and wait for his. The trainer would do a hand motion meaning “no food for you” and he would dramatically faint backwards into the water at the injustice of it all. I could have watched these guys all damn day.
If you go through the penguin exhibit (which was COMPLETELY EMPTY by the way, and I was heart broken) you can go underneath the seal exhibit and see underwater in their pool.
Graceful chubby torpedos.
These are some spider monkeys. I am afraid many of their attributes including but not limited to: their quick movements, strong fingers, tiny mouths full of sharp teeth and little penises flopping all around. Might I just mention that there was NO CAGE AROUND THE MONKEYS! Just a moat of monkey pee water! I was 8 feet away from these guys. It was terrifying. At one point they all gathered in this one spot, I assumed to formulate a plan of attack, but they were just having a snack… for now…
Then we heard all kinds of commotion and ran up this wood chip path to another monkey exhibit. This one was for a gibbon, and it was having a grand old time. It was swinging across the window of it’s gibbon house and hooting and hollering it up. Everytime he howled, all the kids in the room would lose their shit, and then he’d howl more, and they would go nuts again. Every kid in there was completely transfixed on his little monkey and it was loving the attention. We made a little video.
Some meerkats, meerkatting it up. Being alert, digging holes, having little naps.. ya know, meerkat shit.
I am not sure what this is. Possibly a gremlin, or somebody’s russian babushka enjoying a slice of rock melon.
Hip, hip, HIPPOTAMUSES! Hippopotomi? We watched them swim around in the water, scaring the hell out of some ducks. When they would submerge themselves they would displace literally a tonne of water out of their pool and it would splash over the side, nearly taking a bunch of baby ducks with it.
Snorfing some water.
“Quack quack qua–ohhh shiiiiiitttttttt”
This is a little pigeon about the size of a baby shoe (standard unit of smallness measurement), there were a couple dozen of them zipping all over, making the saddest little dove noises.
These are some KEAS! They are native to New Zealand’s South Island and we were lucky enough to be in their enclosure during snack time. The zookeeper walked around with a bucket of peanuts and hid them under piles of rocks and buried them in the ground for the Keas to forage fore. They were amazing to watch. One of them hopped down suddenly behind this little japanese girl and scared the beejesus out of her. The zookeeper gave her a feather.
Looking for some tasty peanuts.
The older ones knew to never keep their eyes off the blue bucket.
A pretty white rhino having a snooze in the sand next to some springboks.
The last exhibit of the day. We walked over to see the turtles with a group of families and suddenly all the turtles decided it was a good time for a synchronized turtle orgy. I nearly pee’d myself watching their little turtle sex faces, mouths open like they were just screaming “YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” in their heads. Awesome. Notice how the little one is doing it to the lady turtles face end…. atleast it wasn’t monkeys this time.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the zoo.