Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You can come too, too, too

Since before E was born (D claims since before he was an adult) the thing D most looked forward to doing with her was taking her to the zoo. I am more of a take-it-or-leave-it person when it comes to the zoo, but as a result of D’s adoration of them, can say I have been dragged to visited zoos in Singapore, Berlin, Vienna, Sydney, Geelong and country NSW as well as the ones I visited as a child in Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Part of the appeal for D was that we would buy an annual pass and therefore be able to visit for child-friendly lengths of time on repeated occasions. The annual pass for two adults (children under four are free) is $130. It’s $21 each per visit if you don’t have a pass, so you need to visit four times a year to get good value out of it. D’s theory is proving sound so far: we bought the pass on Saturday, and somewhat to my surprise, had such a good time that I happily agreed to return on Sunday!
The hits on both occasions were animals that we could get nice and close to or were at least large and doing enough stuff that they were easily visible from a distance. On Saturday this meant penguins, elephants and sun bears. On Sunday: lions, orang-utans, various monkeys and painted African dogs.
Here are some random interesting facts about zoos:
* The oldest existing zoo is the Vienna Zoo in Austria, which evolved from the Imperial Menagerie at the Schonbrunn Palace.[1] The menagerie was founded in 1752 and opened to the public in 1765.[2]
* An open range zoo is due to open near Perth in 2024: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/8601803/plan-for-perth-open-range-zoo/.
* Some zoos are now calling themselves “bioparks” or “conservation parks” in an effort to distinguish themselves from the now-criticised zoos of the 19th century.[3]
* In 1906 the Bronx Zoo displayed a pygmy man from the Congo in a cage with chimpanzees, then with an orangutan and a parrot, in order to demonstrate the “missing link” between the orangutan and the white man.[4]
* If you happen to be driving around the NSW south coast, and have an urge to see big cats and chimpanzees, all is not lost. You can do as we did in 2006(?) and stumble across the privately owned Mogo Zoo near Bateman’s Bay, and visit white lions, African lions, snow leopards, Sumatran tigers and “the biggest collection of primates of any privately owned zoo in Australia”.[5]
As D would say, what's not to like?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoos
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] http://www.mogozoo.com.au/animals/animals.html

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