February 28, 2013

Animal Adventures

Today's story is about the aquarium and the wildlife park in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Now there are aquariums all over the world, and the 38 dollar admission price of this one did not place it particularly high on my list of must dos. Make it free however, and everything changes.

Josh's parents lent us their passes to the two animal attractions, and we spent the day checking them out. The aquarium was first on the list. We bypassed the line with our member cards, and went right in. The first stop was getting our picture taken in front of a green screen by aquarium staff. They do this for everyone, three different poses and try to sell them to you for exorbitant prices at the exit.

Most aquariums have roughly the same assortment of swimmy things, and this was no exception. It had the usual crow of fish, but it also had some very uniquely Australian critters. There were rays and dugongs and sharks of all shapes and sizes. all sorts of pretty fish, and wait for it - platypus!

They are truly one of the strangest creatures I have ever encountered. They are much smaller than I thought, weighing no more than a few pounds. There were a whole crowd of them all swimming in this one tank, maybe five or six of them. They were busy catching food. These shrimp looking things with a silly name.

We stood for some time watching them swim around and eat. They really are weird. One of only two mammals which lay eggs, and one of only a few with venom. A duck bill, a beaver tail, and all manner of assorted random parts all attached to their small bodies.

Anyhow, after the aquarium we went next door to the wildlife park. This was not the zoo, but a small little establishment in the center of the city. Here, almost all the creatures were uniquely Australian. There were slithering creatures, flying creatures, jumping creatures and man more.

We saw the deadliest snake in the world, the eastern brown snake, and many other one which will kill you in a matter of minutes. There were totally harmless but none the less huge moths and butterflies. The things which really captured my attention however were the kangaroos, and the koalas. The kangaroos at the wildlife park are small grey kangaroos, and they also have wallabies  It was a pretty hot day, so they were mostly just chilling out, laying down and relaxing. Really cool to see them though. A few were hopping around, such a weird, but very efficient way of getting around.

There was a very chilled out kookaburra there as well. They have enormous heads. It is funny to see the birds that you hear in the morning. The sound and the bird are somewhat incongruous.

I think however the coolest thing there was the koalas. If you have ever seen a koala stuffy, that is pretty much exactly what they look like. At first I did not believe they were real. Even the one which was eating. They are the most harmless looking creatures I have ever seen. They just curl up into a ball in a fork of a tree and sleep. Sometimes they wake up and have a little nibble of eucalyptus before going back to sleep.

There were probably about ten koalas there, half male and half female. They look a little bit different, mainly the nose is different. It would have been worth paying just to see them.

There were also some crocs and other assorted things, but we were running short of time and needed to catch a train back to were Josh lives.

All in all a very good day. So cool to see these amazing critters I have seen in pictures so many times, even if it was just in a wildlife park. I have now seen some of the snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies in the real world, as well as kangaroos, and wallabies  I would really love to see a koala in the wild, but unfortunately they are very threatened and hard to find.

Anyhow, that is that!

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