Sunday, December 4, 2016

Kristiansand



Stop number two on our magical, Disney voyage was Kristiansand, Norway. All 19 members of our crew signed up for the zoo excursion which began extremely early in the morning. The rough early morning was totally worth it since we got to the zoo an hour before it opened so we could enjoy a once in a lifetime presentation the zoo puts on only for Disney guests.

The zoo is home to 8 lions, 2 males and 6 females, and for an hour, we got them all to ourselves! The lions emerged slowly, one by one, as the presentation went along. The two males were the first to arrive and they were magnificent! Then the females began to appear, and they just kept coming!








We learned all about each individual lion, as well as lions as a whole. We learned the females are the hunters and are the ones that supply the food for the pack, which was something I didn't know and I found to be fascinating. 

Then we got a demonstration of the alpha lioness' hunting skills













Upon our arrival at the zoo, we were given brown sack breakfasts to enjoy while watching the lion presentation. Inside was a cinnamon roll, gingerbread man cookie, a bottle of sparkling apple juice, and an adorable little monkey stuffed animal. Norwegians sure know how to pack a delicious breakfast!



The monkeys were a big hit with the kiddos




After our wonderful presentation at the lion habitat, we were on our own to explore the 150 acre zoo. Our group split up into several smaller groups, so we all saw and experienced different parts of the park, it was fun to get together at the end and swap stories from our adventures.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with zoos. I love them because guests get to see and learn about animals from all over the world. I love animals and I love getting to see and interact with them. However, I also have a hard time with zoos because these beautiful, wild creatures are kept in such small enclosures compared to their natural habitats. The Kristiansand zoo had the most beautiful and large enclosures of any zoo I have visited, and while I know it comes nowhere close to these animals' natural homes, it was nice to see a zoo have the ability to give these beautiful animals nice places to live.



This cheetah frolicking in the flowers was adorable







Red pandas are one of my favorite animals, and they had one! His enclosure was nice and big and open so we got wonderful views of him and that adorable face of his!





Going to the zoo first thing in the morning is apparently a great time to go, all of the animals were out and about, not hiding and sleeping. Well, the tigers were sleeping, but they were right up against the windows, so we had the most amazing views of them!!

Tigers are my FAVORITE animal, so, there are lots and lots of pictures of them. They were just so majestic and gorgeous and cute and adorable all at the same time.






We watched the tigers for a long time and it was amazing to me how similar their mannerisms are to house cats. I share my home with two kitties, so I know their mannerisms pretty well, and it was so cool to see these ginormous cats do some of the same things my mini kitties do at home.







After we finally pulled ourselves away from the tigers, we followed the sounds of the gibbon's song to the monkey enclosure. The chubby little gibbon pictured below was singing his heart out, and it was loud! We passed by a few zoo keepers that had stopped what they were doing to listen, apparently this certain gibbon hadn't been singing the past two months, so it was really special that he began singing that morning.

Gibbons are social animals. They are strongly territorial, and defend their boundaries with vigorous visual and vocal displays. The vocal element, which can often be heard for distances up to 1 km (0.6 mi), consists of a duet between a mated pair, with their young sometimes joining in. In most species, males and some females sing solos to attract mates, as well as advertise their territories. The song can be used to identify not only which species of gibbon is singing, but also the area from which it comes.



Next, we happened upon the farm animal part of the zoo, all the itty bitty ponies were too adorable.







We took a (very slow) spin around a track in some trackers



I attempted to teach Nora the complex art of taking group selfies... I feel like a few more lessons may be needed ...











We passed by this amazing, life size circus tent made out of sand



There are A LOT of hills in this zoo, I wish I had worn better walking shoes!










The realities of traveling, hurry up and wait. There was some sort of delay with the buses that were scheduled to take all of us back to the ship. We were all exhausted, hot and sweaty, it was a lot warmer than most of us were expecting, plus none of us are used to any percentage of humidity. But, hey all of that is a big part of traveling! At least we had good company with which to pass the time ;) 


When we finally made it back to the ship, we had some time to relax before getting ready for formal night! I always love formal night, I love dressing up!