A couple posts back I mentioned the Zoom tours that Auckland Zoo offered. Well. As a part birthday celebration/part cheering-up adventure, The Fourth Quarter and I went on the African Zoom Tour, which involved feeding a Giraffe, a fantastic 49 year old Hippo named Snorkel, patting a TWO TONNE Rhino, and feeding two, quite large lions. LIONS!!
It was an amazing experience, and I was stoked to find out that at least half of the (hefty) ticket price was put towards conservation efforts to protect the wild brethren of those we got to meet.
I was blown away by the privilege of being so close to such fantastic animals. All of which had amazing personalities unique to themselves - that's not something your often privy to when you visit the zoo. The Hippo, for example, was incredibly stubborn and toyed with us until bribes were offered. Once she was fed she offered her chin up for a rub! The Rhino was the same, once recovered from the shock of actually TOUCHING a Rhino, if you slapped him hard enough, he would lean into the wooden posts the same way a dog would lean into your legs if they enjoyed the contact.
The Lions were AMAZING, on learning the meat (delivered with tongs in case our fingers resembled meat) was all gone the second in command growled his displeasure. And it was such a FANTASTIC bass-y bellow!
But the best bit? The best bit was walking past the signs that said 'Authorised Staff Only', and getting to see the back end of the Zoo. How things were run, the pipes and little things that keep the Zoo turning. It made the Zoo alot more *real* for me, and I was just blown away by how much work and effort goes into providing the best possible life for these animals. How much effort goes into running a sustainable business - they aren't connected to the mains, and collect their own water. They recycle approximately 85% of their waste, and are incredibly environmentally aware. Props to them, I say!
It was such an amazing day, well worth the price tag and an experience that I would recommend to anyone. It really was that fantastic!