Day #297 China comes to the zoo (also, orangutans everywhere!)

I finally had a chance to sort through some of the photos and videos from our trip to the zoo last weekend. In truth, it was a spectacular trip despite the grey, overcast skies. You see, we stumbled into the tail end of Dublin Zoo’s preparation for their first ever Wild Lights event which is running in November. A giant dragon still sat in pieces at the entrance waiting to be assembled with a few other animals, but for the most part the major exhibits were already in place. Of course, we were seeing everything in daylight, which only hints at the experience the zoo is preparing, as they will be opening in the evenings from 5 to 9pm when the skies are already dark.

The whole zoo was being decorated with giant lanterns crafted in the shape of the various animals. And not everything simply a wire frame covered in material! If you can’t read the sign above next to a pair of dragons, it says they’re called Qilin dragons: “The mythical Qilin is a good omen for new beginnings. It is gentle and beautiful, half male and half female. Each Qilin is a unique blend of many different animals. Qilin lanters are made from thousands of tiny medicinal flasks tied together.” Yes, you read that right. Thousands of tiny medicinal flasks tied together.

Chinese lanterns were hung on all the paths and from the trees. A Chinese company was brought in to do the installation and their red jacketed employees were busy all over the zoo preparing the final major exhibits.

In addition to the larger-than-life lantern animals, we also enjoyed the permanent residents as much as ever. The piggy came out to have a scratch, and there was a very pregnant goat wandering around. The peacocks were looking much scruffier than the last time I spotted them (when it was still mating season). We watched Kung Fu Panda 2 with Hawkeye today, and I will admit I’m not sure I can ever look at a peacock quite the same way ever again.

20171022_134255.jpgThe Zoorasic House was very active that day. Well, the living reptiles were active. Stan the T-Rex and his fossil buddies were still just… hanging there chillin’. But the snakes were slithering around. The green python wasn’t moving when we saw him but he had migrated to a different branch! (curling up in the exact same position)  I got to see a turtle viciously attacking some cabbage.


We got a very rare look at the grey wolves (though I could not get a good shot of them) and spent a while watching the sea lions swimming around. One of the Amur tigers made an appearance, scaring a kid standing behind us.

The highlight of the show, however, were the orangutans. We got to see a pair of the younger ones swinging across the rope bridge that crosses over a pedestrian walk way. I unfortunately paused the recording briefly in the middle, cutting The Mister in the middle of a remark about a tourist’s unfortunate choice of observation spot. It turned out to be an almost prescient comment as it turned out, though thankfully by that point the orangutans were over water and not over the pedestrian path.  The video is not great quality as the light was fading, but the audio commentary definitely sets out the chain of events!

I very much hope to visit the zoo in the evening next month to get a look at the Wild Lights in action!

Oh… almost forgot. Do you know what a tapir’s nose does? No? Well here you go:


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