Today was a much more leisurely day than our other days have been. We woke up “late” and took a 9:50 ferry to the Taronga Zoo. We ended up staying there until 3 PM and then decided to head back to the rental to relax. Well, that relaxing turned into just chilling at the place until it was time for bed, though at one point David took Jonas out for dinner while Rachel and I had dinner here. It was kind of nice though as tonight was our last night in Sydney and it gave me a chance to pack things up, do laundry, and tidy up a bit.
The Taronga Zoo was AMAZING. I have to say this was the best zoo I have ever been to. I’ve been to the Washington DC Smithsonian Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, and the Tokyo Zoo (and other much smaller zoos). There were several things I liked about the Taronga Zoo. First, the way the exhibits blended with the scenery. There were also several ways one could view the wildlife – for example the Red Panda. We were able to observe this from above, from below, and even eye level as they have several different vantage points. Second – the way people were able to interact with the animals. There were several walk through exhibits. Some of these included walking among kangaroos and emus. These animals were not caged, but they did not come near the humans. Third, I really enjoyed the animals. I was slightly concerned the animals in the zoo would not have much of an Australian focus, but the majority of the animals show-cased were from Australia. For those of you in the US you will be happy to know that visitors are learning about the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and Deer. We chose to skip the deer exhibit – we see enough in our daily lives. And finally, the Taronga Zoo has the best zoo views in the world!
Rachel probably could have spent the whole day here, but eventually we reached a point of where we were all just too tired. There were all sorts of native Australian birds wandering around the zoo which made lunch an unpleasant experience as Rachel was terrified of these birds. They are your Australian version of sea gulls. There were large birds wondering the food court area of the zoo. There were large birds on the outside as well. We originally decided to eat outside but Rachel could not relax due to the birds so I took her inside. I thought the birds would not be as disturbing there…I was wrong on that point. As we were trying to eat a large bird hopped onto our table and I was wondering if it was socially acceptable to be shooing large birds away….
My favorite animals to observe were….anything Australian. I did particularly enjoy the Tasmanian Devil display. They were actually bigger than I expected. I also enjoyed watching the kangaroos. They all seemed so relaxed and they seemed to be observing the people.
For Christmas, Rachel wanted a camera…she instead received an instax camera. While it doesn’t take the best pictures, it does allow Rachel to take a picture and create an instant memory for us…because let’s face it – do I have time to get pictures developed? Before our trip I bought several packs of film for her and two miniature photo albums for her to store the pictures in. She took several pictures today of animals that interested her. Some pictures came out better than others. But her pictures are a great way to see our trip through her eyes and what she wants to photograph. She took pictures of the Tasmanian Devil, Zebra, Hippo, Goat, Crocodile, Birds, and the Kimono Dragon. Her Zebra photo is my favorite of the day. She’s also taken pictures of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour bridge, and Blue Mountains. And let’s not forget about her pictures of the suspension bridge at Parsley Bay.
So far I am loving this vacation. My husband and I work hard during the year that it can be difficult for us to have a lot of time together as a family. The kids are *mostly* getting along because they have no choice. We rarely turn on televisions when we travel (though both kids have some sort of i-device so they can still do things on there…). We are spending time together as a family and enjoying that time. The kids have not complained about being bored yet.
I am very sad that today was our last day in Sydney. I never dreamed that I would enjoy this city so much. I am so grateful we decided to add it to our itinerary. I think one could easily spend a month here and have plenty to do. I felt completely safe walking around. The public transportation was easy and clean. The people speak my language. The city is beautiful, the people are nice, the location is magnificent. There is minimal traffic in the central city. Even though it is winter here, we have had wonderful weather. I think due to these facts I may have to bump Sydney over Paris in my list of favorite cities….it was well worth the fifteen hour plane ride to reach her.
*Side note: Guess what Rachel and I found one minute after it closed? A gluten-free bakery….sigh…that brought tears to someone. I already know though where we are having lunch tomorrow, hopefully they have awesome gluten free buns….I guess if we had not stopped at McDonald’s for more gluten free french fries than we might have stumbled upon the bakery before it closed…