So the day started with a lot of excitement from the girls about our day out on the bikes at the zoo. Lach woke again at silly o’clock and so took himself off for some exercise whilst I rested and the girls still slept. When Lach returned I then went off for 30mins whilst he and the girls went to the jumping pillows for some acrobatics lessons ….
the showers were fantastic best we have seen so far – newly renovated bathrooms and the showers had a rain showerhead and boiling hot water – I didn’t want to get out, but knew that I had 3 anxious kids waiting to go to the zoo.
We arrived at the zoo at 930am and all the girls wanted to do was to buy something from the shop with money from Nanna. We then went and hired our bikes with cabooses and as Ava described it “I am the princess and you are the man who drives me where I want to go and to the castle”. Lach started off with Ava and I with Audrey (seemed fairer for me to pull the lighter one), however not even half way around Audrey wanted to swap and then Ava didn’t want to swap back as Lach was too fast for her, Audrey loved the speed of pelting downhill – haven’t seen a smile like that on her face before.
The scenery and the settings for all of the enclosures were spectacular. Before we even cycled through the gates we saw monkeys swinging around and then the first proper exhibit were the black rhinos and meerkats (which were actually really cute). The bikes gave us access all areas and allowed us to zip along from one exhibit to the next. There was hardly anyone else around. The most people we saw were at the meerkats and giraffes and that was about 30 people (both of which were having keepers talks) then we were pretty much on our own all day. We didn’t have to share exhibits, roads and bush tracks with anyone – it was like we were cycling in the bush on our own and accidentally bumping into a tiger or lion or rhino. There should have been a disclaimer on the “ride your way around the zoo” saying you needed to be fit – I classify myself as reasonably fit and I struggled at some points asking Mr Speedy (aka Lachlan) to slow down. We were pulling the girls so an additional weight definitely didn’t help matters. I also haven’t ridden a bike for along time, so was finding bones on my bum that I forgot existed!!! Lach would zoom down and then take off down a bush track as a short cut – I wasn’t brave enough for that.
The most exciting exhibit of the day was the elephants. A baby boy elephant had been born here on 2nd November (6 days ago) and we were told it wouldn’t be on show for a while to the public – so we had to manage expectations to the girls saying we would t see it. However when we cycled down the side track of the main elephant enclosure there he was – a tiny 105kg 6 day old elephant – 1st African elephant ever born at Dubbo zoo. He was beautiful. He had been let out of the nursery to see if he wanted to go out to the enclosure and he apparently walked down next to mum without any hesitation. The keepers were amazed as they thought it could take a couple of weeks. The keeper that was videoing him said that we were probably one of the first 15 people to have seen him out in public. So special.
After the elephants we made our way around all the other animals, some of which I had never heard of eg Addax, Eland to name a couple (can’t remember the rest) and the animal which took Audrey’s eye was the “stinky one” as she called it, also more commonly known as the Bongo – she liked it because it looked a little bit like a cow! The animals were starting to find shade (was getting close to midday and probably 30 dry degrees) and so we didn’t see many more up close but we did manage to see them all. The cheetahs (3 of them) were all huddled together and the tiger (stunning) was resting under the tree “relaxing like Jack”. The gibbons were funny swinging across the water on their rope and mucking around. The girls loved it all and when we went into the Aussie walkabout and Ava patted a wallabie – which surprised us all.
We stopped for lunch on a log and then before we knew it we had finished the zoo track and ended up back at the beginning – so we had an ice-cream and asked each other what their one favourite exhibit was and we would go back and visit 4 more before heading home. Lach and I were exhausted and Lach couldn’t believe that I had volunteered us to go around again. Somehow the ice-cream gave us another spring in our foot and off we cycled to see the baby elephant (Ava’s choice), hippopotamus (my choice), Bongo (Audrey’s choice) and Siamang ape (Lach’s choice) – then we went bush track back to the finish where we were greeted with some welcome drops of rain and cooling breeze. All of this by 2pm. Shattered to say the least but now we don’t need to visit again tomorrow and we definitely saw everything and one of the best days ever. A must visit for everyone …
Ava and Audrey went immediately to the shop to choose something to buy and then we headed to the car – a very successful day which lived up to all expectations.
We arrived back at the van and Audrey went straight down to sleep, Ava jumped in puddles
(they had more rain here than we had 5km down the road) she was loving it and Lach and I had a beer. Sitting outside whilst Audrey sleeps and Ava is splashing in puddles brings smiles to our faces knowing they have had a fantastic day and it’s still only 330pm.
Wine and ‘stinky’ cheese already on the go (the Brie we bought in Mudgee is literally running across the plate and dripping from the biscuit – perfection) and now to work out what to do tomorrow as we have the morning free before we head to Cobar, whilst Ava was writing her journal of all the animals she saw today.