Wednesday, November 4, 2009 ;
I mentioned before we've been making regular trips to the zoo.
The Sg zoo is wonderful. There are not many naturally beautiful places in Sg I can be proud of. Not that the zoo is a natural wonder. It's just very very well-organised, very child-friendly, and very animal-friendly.
The animals always look healthy and happy to me, and the breeding programmes are very successful. The grounds are clean and well-maintained and I love the many educational aspects. Not only the kids get to see, touch, feed, observe animals in their natural habitats, they also learn about the flora in those habitats.
Besides that, they also get to see many native plants of Sg. Trees, shrubs are not forgotten at the zoo, there are so many of them, and many have signs and educational facts written beside the plants.
Then of course, there is the new Kidz Rainforest area, where there are petting animal areas, a huge water play section, animal carousel and treehouse and so on. However, I realised it sucks up a lot of time once we enter that area, because which child can resist the water slides and guns and pools? And once in the water play area, it would take at least an hour before it is not cruel to ask them to get out.
So I think we've been to the zoo 3x already and we only went to the play area once. The other 2x, I told them we want to catch some animal feeding in action and there were some shows too, and they were willing to forego that (mainly cos they already go to the swimming pool 2x a week, I guess).
Also, it gets really hot once it's 12pm. Yet the kids often want to stay till 3pm at least (we reach the zoo typically at 9.30am). It gets exhausting for me towards the end because the heat and humidity is already bad enough, and then all the walking is so tiring with a 6.5mth pregnant belly to lug around.
Hence, after the 1st visit, I told them we can visit the zoo up to 2x a week, no problem, please let's just stick to one area per visit. They like to pore over the zoo map and pick out animals to see at random, so that first visit we were really walking/ taking the tram from one end to the other end of the zoo the whole time!
(We have the membership card so tram rides are free during weekdays but I realised the tram stops are too few and still involve a fair bit of walking , especially to view the animals they are interested in.)
That's the Lion habitat. We saw the Lion and his harem of 3 lionesses. ds2 is into reading all the signs, which is good. They take turns to carry a backpack which contains their swim clothes, towel, water, Ribena drink, apples (I cut them up into slices at home), notebooks and other snacks. It's actually really heavy so I am glad they carry it themselves.
They were so amused and laughed hysterically when they caught this cheetah in action - producing poop. Back home, it was something they brought up over and over again, to anyone who would listen. And they'd be falling over each other with laughter again.
There is one thing I like to indulge in. Different people go for different experiences. Some love the photo opportunities, to come up close with the snakes or the orang utans. Some like the rides, like the pony/ elephant rides. I like the feeding.
Before we went to Utah, when there was the old kids zoo area, we used to bring vegetables like carrots/ lettuce, fruits like bananas, to feed the goats/ rabbits/ horses in the kids zoo area. So on our first visit to the zoo this time, we brought carrots and celery sticks. We usually ask for permission from the zookeeper before feeding anyway, so we did the same at the Kidz Rainforest Area.
This time, they said we can't feed with our own stuff. We can, however, BUY from them to feed the animals. Guess what, it cost me $5 for 2 bananas, 1 apple and 1 carrot to feed the elephant. The boys shared those fruits of course, but it's like.... ouch!! I can spend much less than that amount and get better quality fruits than what was offered to the elephant, cos from what I saw, the bananas were kind of blackish and bruised already. Humph!
That said, I still feel that feeding animals is a terrific experience - to learn what the animals eat, how they eat, and to come up close and personal with the animals. When kids actually do that, they remember the animals' diet and behaviour as well as other biological traits much better than if they just observed or read the signs.
So that's why I termed it an "indulgence" because I feel it is way too expensive, but I still told the kids they could choose ONE animal to feed per visit to the zoo. And they have to share the food in that one feeding session.
Therefore, we have fed the elephants, then the Giant tortoise and then the manatees.
Below shows the kids feeding the Giant Tortoises with apples. They were taught by the keepers not to let the tortoise step on their feet, cos then their feet would be flattened totally (more like crushed into pieces?), and to feed using the plant stems instead of their fingers, else their fingers would get chomped off as well. It was funny.
I noticed with each feeding session, the zookeepers always tried to make it very educational for the kids as well, and they allowed touching, photo ops, all in one. They'll teach the kids how to care for the animals and how to interact with them gently. The one in red is ds1, the one at the bottom right side of the pic is ds2 (in orange tee).
For other animals, we tried to catch as many feeding sessions as possible, just to watch and observe their behaviour and diet patterns. This is the Orang utan feeding session. They eat guava, dragon fruit and drink some kind of juice from the coconut shell. They seem to have higher quality/ more expensive diet than the tortoise, manatee or elephant!
Of course, the carnivores are more expensive to feed. We saw the jaguar feeding on chunks of meat, which the keeper said would be varied from chicken, beef, veal to other kinds I forgot.
The manatee feeding session. I was so surprised to see them being fed potatoes and carrots. That doesn't seem like something that grew underwater that manatees usually eat! So all I explained to the kids (my own opinion/ logic) is that manatees like veggies, but the veggies they normally eat are hard to obtain or more expensive so the zoo feeds them the same veggies we eat, which are also very nutritious. And manatees are mammals too, so errm, they share a lot in common with us!
We caught the otter feeding session twice. It's just so funny to see them grabbing the fish with their paws and munching and tearing away at the fish. They eat so quickly... they have to, I guess, which such a large group living together, they have to eat quickly to eat more, and survive better!
It's been fun, all these trips. I wonder if I can keep it up when I get even bigger. Cos the boys run and hop and skip all the time in the zoo, I already find it hard to catch up with them. Dh never has the time to go with us, so it's always just me and the boys. I hope I can have the energy to continue until end of the year, at least. Cos when baby comes, they can only wait for their daddy to be free to bring them. At least, till baby is older and doesn't need to poop and feed all the time.
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow