Sunday, July 24, 2016

Australia 2016, Day 7 - Taronga Zoo, Vivid at the Zoo

On Day 7, Stephanie had to go back to work so I was on my own in the city again. I had an important item of business to handle before getting to go out and have fun. When I put in the claim for the airline destroying my suitcase on the flight to Sydney, they said I needed to bring it back to the airport. Stephanie called and found out the airline would just send me to a local luggage repair store to determine whether or not it was fixable, and that store just happened to be on Kent Street, the same street she lives on. So they said I could just go straight there. So on Tuesday morning, I walked several blocks down Kent Street dragging my empty, broken luggage. When I walked into the store and told them why I was there, the clerk said "That can't be repaired!" No kidding! Thankfully, after about 20 minutes of the luggage store talking to the airline, she handed me a brand new, comparable suitcase and sent me on my way!

After taking care of business, I decided to go to Taronga Zoo, one of the popular Sydney attractions that I didn't visit in 2014. It's rather expensive, but one of Stephanie's friends let her borrow a season pass, so I got in for free! It was a gorgeous day, and quite warm. I took the ferry across the harbour, and then rode the zoo cable car to the top of the hill and the entrance. The view from the cable car was incredible!
I enjoyed wandering around exploring the various animal attractions - the sun bear, the sea lion show, the pelicans, and of course the Australia animals including the koalas.
Of course, my favorite animal is the elephant, so I spent a while watching the antics of this baby elephant. When I walked up, he was doing his best to get all four feet on the rock wall - he really wanted something on the other side of that fence! It took him a while, but he finally made it so he was standing on the wall. Then, you could almost see in his face the question, "now how do I get back down?!" He worked and thought and swayed and eventually made it off the wall. It was really cute! 
The main attraction at Taronga is the giraffes, and for good reason - it is said that they have the best view in the zoo, and I would have to agree. From the giraffe enclosure you can see the bridge and the Opera House, as well as the city skyline and the beautiful harbour. Actually, it is this view that gives the zoo its name (Taronga is an aboriginal word meaning "beautiful view"). In my zoo wanderings, I visited the giraffes at least three times - I just couldn't resist! 
Finally, it was time for the zoo to close for the afternoon and for me to leave the zoo and catch the ferry back to Circular Quay, where I was to meet Stephanie when she got off work and then return to the zoo for Vivid. I watched the sun reflecting off the city buildings during the ferry ride, and waved to the tiny people on top of the Harbour Bridge (we did that yesterday!). Back on land, I walked around taking pictures for a while as the sun set and I waited for Stephanie.
Once Stephanie arrived, we caught the ferry back to the zoo. The main entrance building featured an animated show about the various animals - it was really well done! Past that, we set off on the Light Walk exploring the many light sculptures on display. It was crowded but cool and we had a great time. 
Pygmy Tarsiers
Glowing echidna with an ant snack
Marine turtles
Platypus!
Sun Bear
Asian elephant
Sumatran Tiger
Corroborree Frog 
Saltwater Crocodile 
Greater Bilby
Sumatran Rhino
The zoo animals were all put away for the night so that the lights and people wouldn't bother them, but this giraffe couldn't resist the lure of the lights - he came out and entertained us for quite a while as he had a snack and appeared to actually be watching the lights out on the harbour!
At this point we decided to ride the cable car - for Vivid they had a round-trip rather than simply a ride up the hill. He rode once, walked back through the line and rode again, enjoying the view and the experience. We then caught the ferry back to Circular Quay - I stood in the front and took pictures of my favorite sights at night until we docked, returned to The Rocks Cafe for potato soup, and walked back home. What a fun evening!

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