Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 6 - Beijing Zoo & Aquarium

Day 6 - Beijing Zoo & Aquarium (short version)
~Van to Aquarium
~Touched dolphin
~Played with starfish
~Lots of ramen
~Park or zoo?
~Awesome zebras
~Saw pandas
~Fun day

Day 6 - Beijing Zoo & Aquarium (long version)
Early on when we were making our travel plans, we were trying to decide what we wanted to do and visit while here in Beijing. We wanted to include things that were not only cultural and educational for us, but also fun and entertaining for the Ladybug. We chose many of the typical tours, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Summer Palace to name a few, but we also decided on a place that we knew the Ladybug would love to visit, the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium. Because we live in a rather small town/city, one where we do not have a zoo, the Bug has never been to one. So we figured, why not make her first experience at a zoo be in China… seriously, how many American kids can make that claim!

Our guide picked us up around 9:00 a.m., we piled into a small van, and were driven to the Aquarium part of the Zoo. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised when we walked in the door. The Aquarium is set up with different sections; a rain forest, a beach area where you can touch starfish, an amazing coral reef, and a whale & dolphin discovery and mammal pavilion. Each section seemed to place you right inside the area, making it seem like you were really there. We loved the atmosphere of the Aquarium and thoroughly enjoyed wandering around from place to place. The Ladybug especially enjoyed holding the starfish and feeding the fish.

The best part of the day for her was the dolphin and sea lion show. She loved watching the tricks the dolphins were able to do, jumping out of the water and doing flips. At the end of the show she was able to go up front and touch a dolphin’s nose. Quite a special memory for a little girl, especially for a girl who has never been to a zoo or aquarium.

Before making our way to the zoo part of the park we decided to eat some lunch. Each of us chose a nice Chinese meal. The Ladybug and I chose a ramen dish with noodles and broth. Little did we know that when we ordered, one bowl would be enough to feed everyone in the family. The Bug was totally surprised, but loved the fact that she had a huge bowl all to herself (honestly, the Bug and I totally could have shared a bowl, with some to spare... but, at only $3.30 American, not bad at all).

After spending a few hours at the Aquarium, we made our way to the Zoo. On one of the China adoption blogs that I frequent I asked other people who had visited the Zoo and Aquarium what they thought and if both were worth visiting. We were told, hands down, to visit the Aquarium, but that the Zoo was just average and if we didn’t have a lot of time that we could skip it. So, with this recommendation and a few descriptions from some people, I imagined the Zoo to be very small with tiny enclosures, and very few trees and greenery. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Zoo itself looks more like a park with lush grass and bushes throughout, tall canopy trees that help shade everywhere, and a nice stream that winds its way through the park. I imagined the animals sitting in stark, grey enclosures, but instead they were playing in lush areas with waterfalls and numerous things on which to jump and play. The Ladybug loved all of the different animals, her favorite being the zebras, who walked right up to the fence to let you pet them. They were so gentle and seemed to love the attention they received from the patrons. Eventually we made our way to the Giant Pandas who were beautiful, but slow and quiet. However, it was very special to see them while in China.

Following our wonderful yet tiring trip to the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium, we settled into our hotel room, popped open a nice cold beer (the Ladybug drank a Sprite), and ordered up a delicious pizza. Below I have included some miscelaneous photos from our adventure today.



Kelly T. said...

Wonderful Photos!!! The Zoo looks so beautiful! I'm so glad you all enjoyed your time there. Can't wait to read about the next adventure!!! You must be getting so excited as the day you recieve the Butterfly is drawing's the closest you've ever been to baby #2!!!! SO EXCITING!!!!!!

Courtney said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. It was wonderful that she got to touch and experience so many things.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun. So many things Ladybug gets to experiance so young! Can't wait till you guys get back with Butterfly!

Alex Fallon