Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sydney's Taronga Zoo


Sydney Australia's Taronga Zoo wasn't a planned stop on our trip, but given any spare time in a city I will always try to sneak in a zoo visit. We had just a couple of hours but I still wanted to try and fit it in, and I am glad I did. Visiting zoos in other countries is interesting as they have a wider array of local animals than you can see in a U.S. zoo generally, and you can see many small or nocturnal animals you may not be able to view in the wild. I like wildlife sanctuaries for the same reason, though there you get the added benefit of hands on animal experiences more often than not.

The zoo was easy to get to with a dedicated ferry. The Safari Skyview that takes you up to the top of the zoo so you can walk down wasn't working, but they had a bus there to do the same thing. We got there on a rainy morning as the zoo opened, and as it is on a hill, planned the two hours we had so we walked downhill and focused on Australian animals.

Since we didn't see any dingos in the wild, it was nice to see two here at the zoo (one is pictured above). They had a great platypus exhibit and breeding program, and a southern hairy nosed wombat (rare!!!). My favorite part though was the nocturnal animal house. WOW did they have some super adorable, cuddly cute little marsupials. Bouncing marsupial mice and rats and bettongs and all sorts of things. They had some with impossibly big ears, or impossibly long noses, or some so small you could not believe they were real until you saw them move. I could have spent hours in there were it not for our other appointments and the ever-present and exceedingly annoying children who frequent these places and tap on the glass and yell at the animals.

The other photo here is a legless lizard - what a truly bizarre little creature. Not a snake but somehow much creepier than a legged lizard.

I was impressed with the variety of animals, the quality of habitats, and the overall layout of the zoo. It was nice, even in the rain, and if I'm in Sydney again I would like to go back and see the parts I couldn't fit in this time around. While every zoo has areas that could be improved (no doubt with additional funds they sometimes don't have) this was a pleasant zoo to visit. Recommended.

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