The Origins of the Species

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December 2nd 2011
Published: December 2nd 2011
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The early morning queue of several hundred people showed that ours had not been an original idea to visit the zoo during school holidays. And so before we had the chance to see the world’s diversity of animals, we had a taste of the rich diversity of Australians.

Inside, children rushed around excitedly, while parents explained things, answered questions, or like me, made things up to disguise their limited knowledge.

The zoo is too big to see everything in one visit, so we chose a route past key animals. The big cats are remarkable for being impressive even when seemingly comatose. Byron gave the lions and tigers his best ferocious cat impersonation, which is eerily like his dragon, dinosaur, and monster impersonations. The big cats, perhaps recognising him as one of their own, seemed quite relaxed.

One of the stand outs was a tree kangaroo which did something that fills children’s hearts with fear – it ate broccoli. That was a source of amazement and comment for Georgia and Byron.

The area for the giraffes, zebras and ostriches clearly resonated with G & B’s story books on Africa. Kipling’s story on how the elephant got is truck is one of their favourites, and so the animals of Africa have an easy place in their hearts. On seeing these animals both took for granted that we were visiting Africa.

As our limited circuit finished, Byron reluctantly fell asleep in the pusher, and Georgia’s head rested on my shoulder. Both were exhausted from being amazed so often. In the car on the way home, to these drowsy little adventurers, the brave Simone promised that this was just the first of many visits to the zoo.

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