We had our first visitors this week. My parents came from Los Angeles (via New Zealand and Australia) for a week. It was so great to have them here! One of the highlights of the week was our trip to the Bali Zoo which is only about 15 minutes from Ubud.
Most of the animals are from Indonesia although, there are a few from Africa and Australia. Unlike most zoos at home in the US, this one is very interactive. It is fairly small so, it’s easy to get around and see everything and you can get very close to most of the animals which makes it even more fun.
The first thing we did when we arrived was go for an elephant ride. The elephants at the zoo are from Sumatra (not as big as African elephants — still 5000 lbs!) They have 6 elephants that take people around on short rides throughout the day. I was surprised how healthy the elephants appear, both physically and mentally. Sadly, they seem better off than in the LA Zoo — perhaps because they have a “job” to do all day instead of standing around in a small pen. After the ride, we got to feed them pulp from coconut trees that they loved, and throughout the ride handlers would appear and hand them other treats like yams or watermelon. Marc and Fletcher’s even grabbed a small tree, pulled it up and brought it with them on the path.
After the elephant ride we went to the bird show where we participated in the tricks the birds were performing (somewhat unwillingly, due to the fact that we were one of two groups in the audience). Fletcher tried to let an eagle take a piece of meat off his head and I got to wear an angry falcon as a hat! So fashionable!
Next we fed the Orangutan known as “Jacky.” The zoo sells fruit and encourages you to feed it to him and the rest of the animals. He looks very blase when you walk up to his pen but as soon as he sees the fruit he comes up to the edge of his pen to catch bananas and watermelon slices. After he finishes he lobs the peels back at his audience. He was very keen on hitting my Dad — and, he has pretty good aim!
The rest of the zoo is great too! It’s a totally different experience to be so close to the animals. The environment is definitely more relaxed. Unlike the zoos at home, no one is worried about some dope jumping in the moat to wrestle with the tigers. In Bali, that would result in a lively afternoon for the tigers and not much else. There are no local news reporters or personal injury attorneys to speak of so, the moat jumpers have little incentive to tangle with the tigers.
We all had a fantastic time.