Monday, 29 July 2013

The Weekend of... animals!

Yet another weekend come and gone, and nearly the end of the Month! 

We managed to cross off another item from our Koln-Bucket-List... the Zoo! 
After putting this down on our calendar at the beginning of the month and me singing "we're going to the zoo" every time it came up, Malcolm and I finally went on Saturday. We got there as it opened so that we could spend as much time as we wanted (aka. getting our money's worth). 
cologne aquarium entrance

We walked around and managed to see many animals but not any of the maps, despite my repeated complaining that they didn't have any maps anywhere and that I hope we got to see everything! Eventually, on our way towards the exit, we came across a map where we realised we'd missed all the great apes. So we studied the map to figure out how we should go back while seeing animals we hadn't yet and then how to continue to make sure we see everything on our way out... And then it started to thunder and rain bucketed down. We took refuge under a tree/bush for a while, but when it started coming through the leaves we thought we should just enjoy the rain and carry on. 

Just around the corner was a building though, so we went in there and waited for the rain to stop, which it did after only about ten minutes. Then the sun came out and the only evidence that it had rained was my wet hair and the humidity. 

We found our way back to the great apes and discovered a whole bunch of maps along the way that we for some reason or another hadn't seen before, and got to see some of the animals again as we passed by! 

Instead of uploading hundreds of poor-quality photos of every animal and bird we saw, I thought I'd limit it to our "award winning" animals :) 

Malcolm's favourite: The snow leopard/ Gorillas 
Erica's favorite: The otter (it reminded me so much of my dog in SA, Ruby, I swear she has some otter in her! And yes, she's still mine!) 
The weirdest: The Anteater. Come on, have you ever seen one of these?! Strangest proportions... Picasso's inspiration for sure!
The funniest: the bird that had a thing for Malcolm's socks - it kept poking its beak down his socks and inspecting his shoes. Let's put it down to his animal magnetism? 
The Laziest: The badgers. Their pose is self-explanatory. 
The most entertaining: The hippos. We got there at feeding time, so we got to watch them munch apples and press against the glass. They're amazing, and despite seeing them in the wild, I never realised how big they are! 
Most huggable: The grizzly bear. I know it's probably not a great idea to hug these, but I can see how these bears inspired the cuddly toys! 
Most exotic: The tigers. I made this category up just so I can say we saw tigers. 
Most original: The Okapi. Never seen one before, and they're so interesting! 
Least original: The impala. We came all the way here to see impala?! Also, ducks. There were ducks accompanying just about every animal, and outside the zoo they're in just about every lake. 
Least interesting: The turtle doves. Really? 

cologne koln zoo animals best must see
 It does make me sad to see the animals trapped in their enclosures and not with the huge herds they should be with, especially when I've seen them in the wild and this just doesn't compare. But then at least these are safe (like their white rhino), and I think that going to see them certainly increases my appreciation for them, and it made me a lot more aware of how our actions impact the animals' natural environments.
It's also really great for kids; there are interactive learning activities all over, and an amazing playground! Of course, we don't have kids, but that doesn't mean we couldn't act like them ;)

koln cologne zoo playground things to do kids
* meeting the frog
* the kids playground, wagons in the foreground are rented to pull little kids with tired legs along!
* hanging out with the elephants
* Malcolm testing his strength in pushing "blood" to the giraffe's brain. It's hard! But he did really well :D 

We also went to the aquarium part... where we saw lots of river-fish and all sorts of creepy, underwater creatures.

Malcolm wasn't as into my gold-fish or piranha impressions.
There was also an insect and reptile section. Malcolm went ahead and looked at the tarantulas and creepy bugs, while I sat and watched the cutter ants at work. Sore feet, incredibly humid and somehow it's generally hotter inside buildings here than it is out in the sun.  
But, all in all, a beautiful day full of fun and lots to see! (And ice-cream) It's so cool to be reminded just how great God is, to marvel at the creatures he made, the way they are perfectly designed to survive. And so many kinds! The Bible is a book of vast understatements when it says "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array" (Gen 2:1)... vast array?! Even after seeing just a sample at the zoo, I'd call that a very understated statement! Amazed.

Have a great week!


  1. ah, I love hippos! But umm... I had to look up what an impala was because I had never heard of one! That would be my most exotic animal!

    1. Haha, impalas are the furtherest thing from exotic in my book. They're considered the Mars Bars of the Animal Kingdom (everybody eats them...), at least in SA. You'll see them in your first 15 minutes in a game reserve, get excited, and then be over them within a couple hours. :) They are quite pretty though, and babies are always sweet. The lone males waiting for a mate to pitch up sound hilarious.

  2. Sounds like so much fun!!! I absolutely love the zoo! :-)

    1. I do too! Especially because they look after their animals so well!

  3. Köln zoo sounds awesome! Frankfurt zoo is pretty similar to what you've described, the metro stop has some awesome artwork of animals in it too :)

    1. The Ubahn stop outside it is also decorated here, I just missed photos of it because I was being harassed by a bee. I just love the way they have "Zoo" grafitti's on the wall, I guess it's one way to stop others grafitti'ing it?? :D

  4. Sounds like such a fun time! I love your photo of the anteater. Those things are such strange looking animals and you captured its awesomeness completely! PS: I found you through Travel Tuesday :)

    1. It was so much fun! Those anteaters really surprised me, somehow I've never noticed how weird they are! Do they even have faces?! :D
      p.s. I think you might be a no-reply blogger, I don't think my email reply went through?

  5. You look remarkably happy taking refuge under that tree!! Anteater's are very weird. I liked the twist you put on your animal pics! I found you on Travel Tuesday :)

    1. Haha... yes, happily dry for a little bit, and making the most of a situation we couldn't change!
      p.s. I think you might be a no-reply blogger, I don't think my email reply went through?