Tuesday, May 02, 2006

At the zoo

I went to visit R in Ibaraki a couple of weekends ago, and both days we were blessed with beautiful weather! It seemed a shame to stay inside during the day, so we decided to go to the local zoo.

Zoos in Japan are often too painful to be enjoyable so I tend to shy away from them. Animals in cages that are way too small with just a cold concrete floor and nothing to keep them occupied and other outdated facilities are very common. But I enjoy animals and zoos, so I gave in to my curiosity and we decided to go.

I was very pleasantly surprised! The enclosures were fairly large, the caretakers were friendly and knowledgeable about the animals, and despite it being a beautiful Saturday afternoon the place was nearly empty. And only 500 yen to get in! I think I'll go back.

The hippos were some of my favorites to watch. I love this photo of the hippos basking in the warmth of the sun. They looked so comfortable and relaxed!

It was also fun to watch them take a dip in their pond.

One of the zoo's residents was a rhinocerous named Maki who would come right up to you if you called her. Her caregiver said that she gave birth to a daughter at the zoo.

There was also a very vocal goose whose name was, for some reason, Kitayama-san. I'm sure there's an interesting story about that.

The zoo had quite a few peacocks, and I was so excited to see one open his feathers while we were there! It was really quite beautiful.

We were also treated to a great view of the Pacifc Ocean.

All in all, a very fun and relaxing day. It was so nice to be outside in the sun and be at a place where you don't have to fight crowds. Hooray for the zoo!


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