Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Harry at the Zoo (or how we spent two hours before seeing an animal)

Ok well this shot is obviously not at the zoo but since we didn't see an animal for the first couple of hours at the zoo I didn't think it would be too out of place in this post. Plus I wanted to show off the funky tights we got her from Melbourne.

So on Saturday we went out to Taronga. Started out on the bus...then the ferry...then the cable car. So much transport! So much potential for toddler happiness! Truth be told the cable car really did score big on the reaction factor. Harry was truly agog as the cable car came out of its 'tunnel' and started the trek up the hill. Even an aerial view of elephants didn't sway her from admiring the 'up high' nature of her newfound position.

But we hopped off and after spending fifteen minutes looking at wombats and koalas in the shop located (conveniently) directly opposite the cable car exit, we made a beeline for the KidZoo. When we got there Harry was totally transfixed by the water wheels and little bubbling pools they have set up. It was seriously cold and the water was like ice, but she determinedly stuck her hands in and splashed about with vigour. In fact for a good thirty minutes after we left it she kept asking for "more water" (or she could have just been thirsty and we left her chronically dehydrated, you be the judge).

There was a little wilderness area atatched to where the water was and we finally convinced her to go looking in it because...you guessed it...there were WOMBATS in there! And not only that but when we went in they were running around. Yes, running wombats. Now that's not something you see every day. We also saw an emu disappear and some kangaroos lolling in the sun ("sleeping roo" -kangaroo twitches ear - excitedly exclaiming "awake! awake roo!").

To be honest the KidZoo section was pretty disappointing, not nearly enough animals by half. Although Harriet did enjoy this up close and personal experience with a blue tongue lizard. And yes, she is hanging upside down here. Probably best just not to ask. One of the funny things she latched on to as a concept was that where each of the animals were was its home. Which meant she often named the animal we were looking at ("wombat!") then after a minute of quiet contemplation she'd point to the exhibit and announce that was its home ("Mama, wombat home").

The other big love of the day was this Kombi van parked out the back of an eco-home. It was over-run with five year old girls when we were there (it was Lauren's birthday party group) and Harry in her usual style just loved being in amongst them. She took full command of the steering wheel and was happily driving everyone to their destination of choice. Then, when they left, another little boy (a bit older than Harry) also tried to have a go at steering. Uhhh, no, I don't think so! We ended up prising her from the wheel to give him a go but Harriet was happily running off to look at the red bellied black snake in the woodpile.

Ummm...so think these two might be related or what?! We finally went on a wander of the areas that held animals and that was pretty fun, although to be honest a lot of that was fun when we were running between exhibits. The elephants weren't being particularly interested in the visible-for-little-girl areas (which is perfectly their right! neither would I be if I was an elephant) but the statues outside the elephants were of real interest to Harriet.
In this shot Papa Jimbo is about to have a heart attack because this photo just happened to be taken a split second after she was sitting happily on the statue. In the time between framing photo and pressing the shutter, Harry had decided to "jump", which means throw herself off something high into the arms of the waiting parent. That's the theory but often only the reflexes of pure adrenaline-charged panic are what save her at the moment, because she often doesn't say what she's thinking in time. You can see she is loving it though!

It's been a while since I succumbed to a photo of me in here, but this one Jimbo took of me dancing with Miss Harry was pretty cute so thought I'd pop it in. It's just a shame there's too much of me and not enough of her! But after seeing the tigers (which she was strangely fixated on seeing) it was obvious that this little girl (remember, no babies here) was totally overtired and needed to crash. So I ran around with her, played some silly games to 'get her wriggles out' as the song says, and then hoped the Ergo would work its magic and she would crash.

No way Jose! Despite asking for the hood (which surprised Jimbo, I don't think he's seen her ask for it before), she just wasn't able to get to that place where she could go to sleep. There really was just too much to look at. It was a shame though because we rushed through all the areas I wanted to see, including the gorgeous meerkats, chimpanzees and the giraffes. After admitting defeat though she did seem to have gained something from just chilling out on my back for a while and doing her 'singing' (as Jan knows her singing is actually a tuneless sound she makes when she's really really really tired but out and unable to sleep).

So we stopped and had some lunch and marvelled at how difficult (read: totally impossible) it was to just buy a piece of fruit at the zoo. I was seriously tempted to just run into one of the animal food prep areas and grab a banana but refrained admirably. One of Harriet's favourite animals of the day was the seal. We watched as two of them swam around their pool, coming up occasionally for a big intake of breath (Harry would turn to me and do a big sniff just in case I had missed the seals doing it) and then dive back down again ("seal swimming" *sniff* "down, down"). Harry and Doll both had vantage points on the side of the pool. Both were held tightly by parents. I'm not sure who would have been more of a disaster to drop in the pool.

One of our last ports of call was the wallaby and kangaroo area. Harriet decided it was time to get friendly with the locals and show them we were all just animals as well. I love it when she leans over and pats her belly and says "baby guts" - so cute!

But when I said it was almost our last visit I of course meant that the best was yet to come. We went to the wombat and platypus exhibit which was supposed to have echidnas in there too but we couldn't even see where they would be, let alone actually see any. As we were walking out we happened to come across the residen wombat out in his dirt area running around digging holes and being generally rambunctious. Harriet was beside herslf! Not only that, get this. He did a POO! Harriet's two favourite things to talk about in the whole world - wombats and poo - combined in one delightfully memorable experience! On the video I took all you can hear is Harry saying over and over again "wombat poo. wombat poo. Mama, wombat poo".

And so we went home again. It was a big day out, waking up at 7am and not getting back in the door until about 6.30pm. On the bus on our way home Harriet fell into a dead sleep. She had definitely enjoyed her day out at the zoo.

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