04 October 2008

Schönbrunn Zoo

We took Elora to the zoo yesterday. I bought a year pass for only 29 Euros, a pretty good deal since it costs 12 Euros to go once... probably one of the only things I have purchased that seemed like a fair price. Elora was so excited to go to the zoo. As soon as we got there she began running from exhibit to exhibit yelling, "More animals! More animals!" It is actually a really great zoo for little kids, because there is not a lot of walking between exhibits, so Elora could walk around (or run and run and run...) without getting too tired. Most of the enclosures also have glass walls so that it is easy to see the animals. Very nice.
Of course Elora found the little animals that you can ride for only 50 Euro cents, too bad that is like 75 cents! Whoa (although getting to be less since the Euro is falling now...) She rode the tiger first, and then noticed that nice frog, which we told her she could ride at the end of the day. And let me tell you, she never forgets when you say she can do something later...
This enclosure had monkeys and mountain goats. I thought that was kind of a strange combination, but Elora was a fan. Maybe the mountain goats reminded her of home. It's interesting because all the signs are in German, they don't translate them, so a lot of the animals I wasn't actually sure what they were. Is it a mountain goat? Sheep? A leopard or a cheetah? They don't seem to bother putting the names of unusual animals in my pocket German dictionary.
Best of all were the chickens and roosters. Elora followed them around until I convinced her it was time to go eat a hot dog (which is probably the only thing that could have bribed her to leave the roosters... except maybe chocolate). She wanted to pet them. Maybe they would have been nice, but my experience with chickens back home is that you want to keep your hands away from their beaks.
They had lots of these metal sculptures of the animals, and Elora had to stop and sit on every single one. She was very excited about the Rhinoceros.
At one point we found a set of stairs that led to a viewpoint. Elora loves stairs for some reason so she started to walk up them. I asked her what she thought she would see at the top, and she replied, "Something wonderful!"
Here we are after Elora finished her hot dog. She wanted to feed the "little birds" so they would come close to her. When we were ordering her food, I was trying to speak in German, but Elora kept shouting, "I need a hot dog? Please? No ketchup! No mustard! No ketchup! A hot dog?" It was like an endless stream of chatter. I hope the hot dog man wasn't too irritated... The hot dogs here are awesome though, because the buns are just these big rolls that they bake, and then they put them on a large metal skewer to carve out a hole that they put the hot dog in... I will have to take a picture, it is quite interesting, and the bread is amazing.
This is the mommy lion who had three lion cubs. All the walls are glass, so you could see her really well. When we got there she walked over to our side of the enclosure, and then started growling at us. Then she would like, charge the glass a little. It was a little scary, but Elora didn't even flinch. I was crouched down to take a picture, and I almost fell over, it was kind of intimidating (obviously) to see this huge lion lunge toward me... then the cubs came over so she sat back and glared at everyone while standing over the little cubs.

Elora said, "The mommy lion is kind of mean!" So we explained that she was just protecting her babies to keep them safe. When we showed the pictures to Chris, Elora saw the lion picture and said, "The mommy lion is mean, it ROOAAARREED!! ROAR! ROAR!" I think this was her favorite animal of the day.
There is a little park at the zoo, which was fun because there is a little kid half where Elora is big enough to do everything all by herself. She loved this little slide, especially because there was a mud puddle at the bottom because of all the rain we have been getting. She would slide into the puddle, stomp her feet and say, "I getting all muddy!" How can this be the same kid who won't eat ketchup because it makes her hot dog dirty? We are excited to have passes to the zoo so we can go back often, there is tons to see there, and lots of baby animals right now. Our new apartment is not quite so close, but it is only a streetcar ride away, not too shabby.
Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

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