Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tama Zoo
After Fuji Q High Land we drove the rest of the way to Tama Hills. We met up with another couple doing Olmsted in Tokyo at Tama Hills as well. More about Tama Hills in my next post. But, the following morning we all drove over to the Tama Zoo which I had heard was great. Of course we showed up about 15 minutes after opening time, so we thought. Turns out we were going to wait another 15 minutes for it to open. Oh well, we joined the crowd to wait.
Here are all the families at the zoo, the Gamaches
Yamadas
and us.
Some how Hiro always ends up with all the kids
We went straight for the Africa section of the zoo. There was already a line for the lion bus. You get on and drive up to the lions laying down in their exhibit. We just looked over the fence to see the lions and called it good. 5 kids waiting in line just can't go well. We went to see the giraffes and it turns out to be the largest giraffe exhibit I've ever seen. There were 10 in total and they had a huge enclosure. If we could have fed them it would have been the cherry on top. But, it was still really neat to see that many giraffe in person. Just up the hill from there was a large chimp exhibit. After watching them for a few minutes we noticed that we could go inside and see them through glass. We ended up hanging out there for a long time. Not only were the kids entertained, but so were the adults! Here are some things we got to see:

Chimps laying in a bed
A vending machine...yes, you read right. At 1:30 the chimps can use the vending machine. I believe it's veggie juice.
The recycling machine. Uh huh. After the chimps finish their can they recycle it then get a treat out of the bottom. Unfortunately we left before seeing all this, but we got to watch the video that was playing inside the building.
This guy was checking out all the kids
This was the youngest one and he had fun swinging and banging on the glass. Got everyone's attention.
There was a large glass cylinder with two levels. Each level had chopped up fruits and veggies. There were small holes on the outside of the cylinder and a hole in the center of the cylinder. The chimps can take a tree branch, strip the smaller branches, and stick them into the holes to push the food into the center hole. The food would drop outside of the cylinder. It was amazing to watch.

Another view
We walked around seeing a bunch of other animals. Riko ended up falling asleep in Hiro's arms so we decided to take an early lunch break. Of course she woke up as we found a spot to lunch. Here are the kids lined up snacking on crackers while parents were off buying lunch.
Riko is so talented, using chopsticks already without help
Of course we had ice cream afterwards. Riko ended up wearing some of hers.
Everyone, minus me
We walked around a bit more checking out all the animals we could until the kids started taking turns melting down. Etta brought up the rear of the meltdown saying see wanted to see the lizards. We haven't passed any, what are you talking about? It was time to go. Etta stopped crying when we reached the front and I asked her if she wanted to pick up omiage (a small gift) for her class. Crying stopped and she was back to normal. It was a short morning/afternoon at the zoo but overall a great zoo! More on Tama Hills in the next post!

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