Friday, 21 November 2014

Edinburgh Trip: Part 3 - Going To The Zoo

The other major event during our weekend away was our trip to Edinburgh Zoo. I've wanted to go for ages but have never really been able to justify all that expense (both time and money) to travel all the way to Edinburgh, spend at least two nights in a hotel, and give up three days (including travel time) just to wander around a zoo.

As I was already spending time in a hotel and travelling all the way to Edinburgh it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit the zoo and due to the nerves I was feeling for the ceremony, I was actually way more excited about the zoo than the graduation.

I spent my free minutes in Edinburgh working out which buses we needed to catch, where we could catch them from and what time we would need to leave the hotel to get there. I planned it perfectly and navigated us to the exact bus stop. We had a bit of a wait but we were still at the zoo before it opened.

We'd prebooked our tickets online, which saved us about £3 and enabled us to book our slot for the Giant Pandas, we were scheduled for 10:30am which we had figured would give us enough time to get into the zoo, get our bearings and then find our way to the pandas with time to spare.

Mr Click also convinced me to take my big DSLR camera with me on the trip, which I'm so pleased that he did. He bought me my nice new Samsung camera for completing my course but while it's a nice compact, it doesn't give me quite the same control over my photos as my Canon does. I went in with my short lens but quickly realised that for the best photos I should switch to my long lens. It meant I could get some beautiful close up shots of animals which I might not have otherwise been able to get.

Mr Click's photos of me
And because Mr Click was largely in control of my Samsung, I also got some photos of myself. It so often happens that because I'm the one behind the camera, I never wind up in any pictures. We've got loads of pictures that Mr Click took of me taking pictures and I'm really impressed with lots of them. I'm going to have to give him charge of the camera more often (though he did drop it in the Koala house which I was slightly less than impressed about... I made him touch the koala's bottom bit of the display as a punishment).

Mr Click's punishment for dropping my camera!
The zoo is really well laid out, though it is built on the side of a hill which means your legs will be aching within an hour or so of entering the site. Mr Click and I were both suffering from the day before; sore backs, sore legs, and a grand total of about seven blisters between us (though six of them were on my feet). At various points around the day I could feel my blisters popping, a bit unnerving really.

The weather was quite blowy so a lot of the animals were snuggled up indoors, but that wasn't a problem because most of them have both indoor and outdoor viewing areas. The one animal that we couldn't see was the painted hunting dogs because their indoor viewing area was cordoned off.

One of our first stops (after admiring birds and some random squirrels that had snuck into the enclosure) was the Monkey House. I love all the monkeys and apes and had a great time going round saying hello to them all. Some of them would come right up to the glass and put their hands on it. There were also a few babies; twin lemurs and a little l'hoest's monkey which were fun to watch too.

We also headed over to the penguins which are one of my other favourites and happily live right next door to the monkeys. They have king penguins, gentoos and rockhoppers and I think the latter are my favourites. They just march around the enclosure like little thugs. So cute.

Edinburgh Zoo also has a penguin called Snowflake, a gentoo penguin who is grey where he should be black. I'd read about him online before I went and was determined to spot him but missed him on the first walk round. Once we'd seen everything we decided to head back to the penguins and I spotted Snowflake right away and managed to get a few nice photos.

That's Snowflake in the centre.
The giant pandas also need a mention. Considering they're 'giant' pandas, they're quite small. And although I realise that they could quite easily rip your face off with one of their (admittedly quite large) paws, they are very cute and cuddly looking. The female one got into a bit of a yoga pose while we were there.

I can't really write about every animal I saw, but I took loads of photos. Quite a few of various animals bums, which wasn't really intentional, I was just snapping whatever bit of them they were presenting to me.

On the whole it was a brilliant, if chilly and slightly damp, day. The gift shop on the way out was slightly disappointing, I'd hoped to be able to find an interesting book about the zoo or something kind of crafty. It was all either panda stuff or things you could buy anywhere, but Mr Click convinced me to get a funky notebook (made out of stone, no less) and I picked up a pen to go with it. I'm glad I did because it's nice to have a little physical reminder of the day.

Will I go back?

Definitely, we're tentatively planning a birthday trip for me next year.

This is the last of my posts about our trip to Edinburgh, but it's not the last of the photos, I expect I'll be showing those off for months to come!

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