Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Day That Includes Chimps and Penguins . . .

is never a bad day!
The Man of The Place has been laid low with a bad back. The bad back prevented him from coming along on the planned family day out to Edinburgh Zoo. After a late and hearty breakfast of apple and cinnamon oatmeal (thanks again Carey) George and I got in the car and headed north to Edinburgh.

We got to the zoo at about 1.15 after having a detailed discussion about what we thought were the most important things to see and how we would plan our zoo visit to maximize our visit and minimize the amount of walking."Hmm"

The place that houses the snakes and lovely blue frogs was shut! A bitter blow for me, I love snakes and frogs. This meant a last minute re-jigging of our plans. Never mind, off to see monkeys and chimps!! We also discovered that the world famous Edinburgh Zoo Penguin Parade was scheduled for 2.15 - a mere hour away!

We had an hour of zoo viewing before the penguins, so we went to the opposite side of zoo to the penguins and started admiring the animals.
The zoo has a spectacular new enclosure for the large apes. Incidentally, we paid a higher price for our entry into the zoo today as the extra proceeds go straight to the chimps. We love chimps. Did I say that already? This poor guy looked frozen. We spent ages looking at these wonderful expressive animals. From the information we picked up inside the chimp enclosure we were able to identify some of the chimps we saw. One of the larger males went off on a big rampage while we were gawking at them. He was displaying all over the place just to show us what a big, strong and important chimp he is. I was impressed.

Henry has a birthday in a few days and we seriously considered signing him up as a chimp sponsor as his gift. We still might.

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At 2.15 precisely, George and I found a good spot at the beginning of the penguin parade. There were about nine King penguins and two Gentoo penguins. They're funny, but smell of old prawns!

We also went over to an observation spot where we could watch the penguins swim underwater.
They are so fab!

It was a very cold day. I don't think the temperature left 0 C or 32 F the whole day. I'm glad we dressed warmly. One of the monkey houses held a huge family of capuchin and spider monkeys. The spider monkeys seemed to be particularly successful. We saw no less than four mothers with babies clinging to their backs! Here is a little spider monkey trying to soak up a little bit of the weak winter sun in the window.

Winter days in this part of the world are not only cold, are also very short. At about 3.30 the sun starts to set. George and I were near the top of the zoo (it's on a hill) and we could see the sun setting over Edinburgh. As we stood, admiring the spectacular views, the lions started roaring.

Though it was cold and the day short, George and I had a wonderful visit to the zoo. The low temperature meant that it wasn't crowded. Fewer viewers meant that the animals were much calmer. As the sun was setting the animals that are a bit more active at night, like the big cats were much more animated. We saw an enormous owl swoop down to get his food - what a treat for us!!Sumatran tiger walking away from us . . . it looked as though he had seen something worth investigating at the top of his enclosure.I love zoos and this one, though small, is top notch!

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