"panda"monium at the safari

This is our sixth stay in Guangzhou, bringing Ian and I up to nearly seven weeks of our lives logged here in this southern city, and somehow we had never visited the Chimelong safari park.

We approached the entrance not sure exactly what to expect, but the sight of Po from Kung Fu Panda ignited the fire to see Xióngmāo and to see them quickly.

Our first order of business though was to ride the "safari on wheels" which we weren't positive was going to be included in our admission price, but we decided to head down and claim "ignorant tourist" if there was an extra fee.

Thankfully it was included...

This attraction of the zoological park that allows one to either drive their own car, or ride the open air "train" or even have their taxi drive them through the safari loop.

Again, we weren't sure what to expect...though I'll admit to setting the bar rather low.  After all, I'd seen the zoo here on previous trips and we'll say it wasn't much to write home about.

But the safari on wheels was pretty impressive. There were kangaroos (we saw a little joey with it's head and arms out of it's mother's pouch), camels, peacocks, all sorts of predatory cats and savannah animals.

And for many of them you got really, really close.  Like I'm pretty sure we could smell the camel as he walked by.  And if I'd have had the nerve I have no doubt I could have leaned over, reached out and touched a zebra.

Unfortunately though shortly after we got off the safari trip attitudes began to tank.  We considered a quick snack break but choices at that end of the park were somewhat limited.

So we broke out the mixed nuts, Kind bars and Larabars, had a little "come to Jesus meeting" with the grumpy ones and began the trek toward the panda house.  Along the way Darcy impressed us with her ability to jump (from a stand still) about 1/3 of the distance a tiger is reported to be able to leap with ease.  Sign that girl up for the track and field team!

Along the path we encountered giraffes being fed (no, we didn't pay the 30 yuan for a branch to offer, but we took advantage of the photo opportunity provided by others).

And I'm pretty sure this was my first time seeing a live koala bear.  They must have 30+ of them.  And I must have 300+ pictures of them taken by my kids.  This was a favorite though as the joey was quite active and climbing all over his mother's back.

The morning started out cool enough, but as the temperatures began to rise, my arms were getting tired of the effort of containing one squirmy little guy.  Lucky for him his siblings are clamoring over his attention and were more than willing to step in to carry him for a while.

The elephants provided some entertainment as they would spray in return for veggies being tossed to them by the trainers.  Countless Chinese folks stood with their backs and got soaked while trying to get a picture.

My crew stood on the other side of the yellow line (apparently the dividing line between wet and dry elephant viewing) though Nicholas was having no part of smiling in exchange for Skittles.

When he realized that I was serious about "no xiào no táng" (no smile, no candy) he was really honked off. Lucky for him his sweet "èr jiějiě" (second eldest sister ~ this is how he refers to them for now though he is beginning to pick up the boy's American names) was willing to give a try at piggybacking him for a while.  There's not much to him, but there's not much to DQ either and I was impressed with how long she was able to carry a little over half of her weight around on her back.

All the while we passed interesting animal habitats and saw so much more than I could possibly put pictures of in one post.  Even though it got a bit warm for a while, the constant reminders of the main feature kept us moving along...

When DQ got tired of lugging her littlest brother around, Ky happily took her turn.  The crazy thing is that with as much of a young woman as she is looking now and as tiny as he is (size wise it's easy to mistake him for a five year old) it was hard to recognize them as siblings only four years apart in age.

And then we finally got to the pandas.  While many of them were sleeping in the warmth of the day, we saw plenty of them.

The highlight of our panda viewing was the nearly three year old panda triplets.  We stood in their room for quite some time watching them enjoy their bamboo and walk around.

When we had about an hour left until we were to meet our driver back at the entrance, we decided to spring for a cable car lift back across the park to the main gate.

Because the crowds were low we requested one of the glass bottom cars.  That was ever so slightly unnerving...

Once we all disembarked...

 we headed back to the safari on wheels to take in one more round of close encounters of the animal kind.

It was a bit on the spendy side, but definitely worth it to do once.  

Upon return we were pretty wiped out, so an early dinner (at the place we'd visited the night before) and bedtime were all we managed.

1 comment:

Allison said...

I LOVED this day- what a fun place to visit- I had no idea it was there. We have no plans to return, but I sure enjoyed it through your eyes! I promise I'm not laughing at the "attitude" issues you're having-just smiling that you're "normal" - cause sometimes I think your kids get along all the time and are always smiling. :)