Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roar & Snore

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to camp out overnight at Sydney's Taronga Zoo for an event they call 'Roar and Snore'. For a self-confessed animal lover, a visit to the zoo doesn't get much better than this! 

It's been such horrible weather here in Sydney for the past month or so, so I had some reservations about actually attending the Roar and Snore on the specified date. In the end though,  I decided that the rain was only going to be a problem for me if I let it. That didn't stop me from stacking up on raincoats, hats, boots and umbrellas! 

I think these Asian Elephants were the only ones enjoying the rain!
Some of the others were clearly upset with the dismal weather!
I arrived at the Zoo at 5.30pm (wayyy too early) and waited with a few other campers for our hosts to greet us. Once we got to the communal tent, we were shown to our personal sleeping quarters - fully decked out tents with lights and electricity!! We were served beer and wine and fantastic welcome platters of carrot sticks and celery. It was here that we were introduced to our first lot of animal friends. Friends of the scaly kind. Each of the four keepers bought out a native Australian animal for us to meet. We felt the smooth skin of a Diamond Python and Shingleback Lizard (you know the one that looks as if its tail could be a second head), and got to see a little long neck Turtle poke his head out of his shell. Growing up having Lizards, Snakes and Turtles as pets, I was happy to take a step back and watch all the kids in the group ask fascinating questions. Besides, I was probably too busy enjoying my wine and gazing at the breath taking Harbour views anyway.  

Following this, we had a fantastic dinner and set off on our guided Night Safari tour of the zoo. Now this wasn't my first time to Taronga, but it was my first time walking around with a torch and playing hide & seek with the animals. It was interesting to see how some were definitely more active at dusk, while others were more than happy to find a warm dry spot to snuggle up for the night. I think this part of the experience would have been a thousand times better but for the rain. But it didn't matter, we still had the chance to hear some great stories about where each of the animals had come from, who they were breeding with, and where they were going to go next. As well as some tales of their individual personality quirks! Unfortunately we were unable to take any photos at this stage (we can't blind them!). 

We had an early start the next day. After a quick breakfast and three cups of coffee (because of my lack of sleep due to dreams of escapee bears) we headed out for our first behind the scenes tour. We trekked around the zoo until we reached the Giraffe exhibit. Here, we were greeted by a lovely keeper man who opened the gate and ushered us in. He taught us a lot about the Giraffes, including their prevalence in the wild, their breeding habits and their specific dietary needs. Then we were lucky enough to feed them!

Following this the group was led to a classroom where we were able to get up close and personal with some of Australia's furriest friends. We met a sleepy little Possum, a Quokka and a quirky Koala. The keepers gave a talk about the importance of preserving the environment for these guys, and it was so great to hear that the kids in the group had all the right answers when it came to being environmentally responsible.

Our next behind the scenes experience took us to the Seal Show arena. Here we were introduced to a lovely male New Zealand Fur Seal named Mav. He was such a charming young seal and was quick to show us just how smart he really is. Mav was treated to a tasty fish breakfast and let us all give him a pat! 

The entire experience was also a great way to learn about Conservation. I am already a pretty strong anti Palm Oil advocate, and have long since cut the horrid substance from my regular diet. But we learnt about other things we can do to play our small part, like recycling your mobile phone to relieve the pressure on Gorilla habitats by mining for Coltan, and buying only ethically sourced fish to avoid the mass killing of wildlife that get swept up in trawling nets.

At the end of the Roar and Snore we were free to spend the rest of the day at the Zoo and re-visit some of our favourites. It was so wonderful to be wandering around before the public opening time and seeing some of the animals at their most active. This was especially the case for the Sumatran Tiger and her three cubs. Overall it was an amazing experience I will never forget. Hell, I'll probably go again!

For anyone in Sydney or anywhere else really who is interested in finding out more about Taronga Zoo's Roar and Snore click HERE!

Also, this probably goes without saying, but all photos are Copyrighted to me and this blog 'Far From The Mocking World' and are not for commercial use. Feel free to use them personally, where credited! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Oh my! I can't believe we're a week into February already! 2012 has one month under her belt, and it feels as if time just isn't going to stop for anyone. Now I know in my last post I promised to keep this little blog of mine up to date, but the truth is, I've been one great big busy bee! But the great kind of busy! Work has slowed right down for both jobs, and I'm still on Uni holidays until the end of the month, so I decided to fill up my weekends with fun! And you won't believe the things I've been doing!!! Im not going to give it all away in one post though (besides, there are way too many photos). 

I have collected a bunch of those 'experience' type vouchers from various birthdays and I'd decided that it was about time to cash them in. Since I had a Circus themed 21st Birthday last year, I was lucky enough to be gifted a voucher for two people to learn how to Circus Trapeze. Fantastic gift right!? Wrong! I am absolutely petrified of heights. I always have been. But one couldn't really turn down an experience like this. It was time to concur my fear!!

I climbed up the ladder for my very first go, trembling with fear of course, and when the lady yelled 'Go' I remained stuck to the platform. No surprise really, I knew it would happen. So the man beside me gave me a little tap of encouragement behind the knees and that was it, I was flying. It was such a surreal feeling to be able to let go like that. In a matter of seconds I had overcome a huge fear of heights, and surprised myself by being able to complete the trick. By the end of the lesson, I had flown through the air a number of times, holding on with my hands and then only by my knees. I had learnt how to do a backflip on my own, and then for the final trick I let go and was caught by a man on another trapeze and swung freely below him. So I think all of that is significant enough to cross off the "Do something extreme" prompt on my 101/1001 list! 

Here are a few photos... I think you can tell from my body language that I was super uncomfortable on that platform! Ha! 

February has been crazy fun already... And there is just so much more to come! You'll have to check back in the next few days to see just what I've been up to. Unless of course you follow me on Instagram, then the secrets are already spoiled! 
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