Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chiang Mai Part II – The Zoo

“We’re going to the zoo zoo zoo, how about you you you, you can come too too too, we’re going to the zoo zoo zoo.” –Raffi

Tira finally got her first trip to the zoo while we were in Chiang Mai. I wasn’t expecting too much since things here are usually not as nice as in the States. The first unusually thing we encountered was the parking, there was none. People just parked there cars anywhere IN the zoo. We ended up lucking out and finding a place quickly, right in front of the hippos.

Almost immediately the next strange thing happened. The hippos were right there. I’ve only been to zoos in the States and the animals are all very far away and always very separated from the visitors. However I could have literally reached out and touched the hippo if I so desired. Strange thing #3 – they were selling fruit that you could FEED TO THE HIPPOS!! Tira was too scared but we watched another family do it.

We moved on from the hippos and that’s when I began to have my doubts because the next stop was a giant guinea pig looking creature and a rooster.

After that was the nocturnal animals, which were kept inside an enclosure so the picture all turned out terrible. This was where Papa’s amazing bear with the long tail was and some cool cats were. But still nothing too impressive since.

We then hit the African exhibit – giraffes, zebras, and ostriches all together. The coolest part – we got to feed the giraffes! Tira was a little freaked out at first but soon got over it and was L.O.V.I.N.G. it!! She made us buy two bundles of food for the giraffes and was not happy when we decided to move on.

Next was the big cats – lions, tigers, and bears jaguars, ohh my. The coolest part here? Only the fact that we got to play with baby lions! 3 months old and ohh so adorable. The pictures suck because they didn’t stop moving. Another neat thing was that you could feed the young jaguars, they were selling meat on the end of a stick that you stuck through the cage for the cats.

After that was the aviary walk thru and then the pandas (grandma's a terrible photographer so there are no good pictures of the panda).
There was a little more but by then Tira was pooped. It was a lot of fun even if I was a little unsure of how I felt about the treatment of the animals. In my Americanized mind zoo animals should be kept as naturally as possible with no human interaction. However after talking to some other people it appears that feeding and interacting with the animals is common place around the world (at least in Belgium and Japan). I’m super glad Tira go this experience here because she’d never get it in the States.


alexis o said...

the baby lions are so CUTE!! and tira looks like she had alot of fun. i love her face when she is feeding the giraffe.

Sara said...

AWWW Love the giraffe pictures!!! What an awesome experience!