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Befrienders Hit The Zoo – 23.07.14

September 22nd, 2014

On 23 August, The Befrienders were due to visit Fota Island Wildlife park in Cork. Due to circumstances beyond our control, that trip proved impossible and instead we headed for Dublin Zoo, and still had a fabulous time.

In case you haven’t been there in a while, Dublin Zoo has changed a lot. The cramped, smelly enclosures of old have been transformed into a 28 hectare park of gardens, lakes and wonderful natural habitats for over 400 animals. This change was achieved through a combination of animal rights protests, the zoo’s own desire for change and a €15 million injection from the state.

The first thing we saw when we streamed excitedly through the gates was The World of Primates, a string of man-made islands in a natural lake. Monkeys & Apes roam these islands & seem to be having fun. Our zoology expert Jason explained the difference between monkeys & apes: monkeys have tails, apes don’t. Or was it the other way around? 😉

Best of all were The African Plains – a large, outdoor area that covers 13 hectares and  houses ostriches, scimitar-horned oryx, white rhinoceros, giraffes and common zebra. Jason explained the difference between an emu & an ostrich, but I’ve forgotten that as well. Head like a sieve!

As well as all the wild animals, Dublin Zoo also has a farm, with Sheep, Piggies, Duckies, Goatees(??), Chickies (Ed: stop it now!) and a cow who gets milked everyday, but who must have been out having a ciggie during our visit.

We had a long day walking around the zoo & were tired & hungry by the time we reached The Meerkat Café, which as it’s name suggests, is staffed by those funny creatures who try to sell you insurance on TV. But seriously, the workers are human & the food was pret-tay, pret-tay good! The meerkats were behind glass and like in a lobster restaurant, you picked the one you would like to eat. Only joking again, I’m a vegetarian & don’t even eat NORMAL animals. No, the meerkats were merely there to be gawked at for those who like that sort of thing.

We had a fabulous day, thanks to Ann for masterminding it, to Jason for explaining everything (even if I forgot it all!) and many, many thanks to Celestial Green Ventures & Tolka Area Partnership for making this great trip possible!

Click on photographs to enlarge.