Tuesday 27 July 2021

Henry goes to ... Australia Zoo

Henry goes to Australia Zoo!

Recently it was Daddy Superheros birthday so I decided to surprise my little family with an outing to Australia Zoo. Both little superheroes (and us parents) love zoos and we hadn't yet visited Australia Zoo.

I'd already done a little research and had discovered that we could take Henry with us on our zoo outing, they just required a minimum of three days notice.

Australia Zoo has two options for service dogs, the first option is that the service dog can be housed in their wildlife hospital while their owner is at the zoo. The second option is that a staff member accompanies the owner and service dog while at the zoo. That is the option that best fitted our family. While it is wonderful that Australia Zoo are able to look after the service dog, there would be a chance that we'd need Henry to put his training into action while at the zoo. The three day notice for Australia Zoo is so that can coordinate staff for the service dogs visit.

So after liaising with the Volunteer Coordinator, Bec, at the zoo, we were ready for our outing. And what an amazing day we had.

As we approached the entrance of Australia Zoo, the staff there recognised that we had a service dog and directed us to the counter that we needed to attend, as well as contacting the staff member that would be accompanying us at the zoo.

Sarah met us soon after and she was just wonderful. Sarah has worked at the zoo since 2002 so has seen quite a few changes, including the death of Steve Irwin. Sarah's role while we were at the zoo was to be the contact between us and the zoo staff. Sarah was on the radio checking where staff were walking the dingoes and other animals, checking with and informing staff when we were about to enter walkthrough enclosures, and assisting us to find our way around the zoo. And all because of Henry. There are obviously certain risks for both Henry and the zoo animals, and part of Sarah's role was to ensure that those risks were minimised. 

There were a few animals that Henry was not allowed to go near - the crocodiles, the cheetah, the tigers as well as onto Bindi's Island as there were various animals roaming on the island. These really were common sense, walking a dog past an apex predator is a recipe for disaster! All of the animals are very well fed, but ultimately they can be unpredictable especially if they sight an unknown animal. With these animals and their enclosures, Sarah waited with Henry and myself as the little superheroes took their Daddy to look at the animals.

Sarah was amazing - we basically had a personal guide at no extra cost, showing us around the zoo. Due to her working at the zoo for such a long time (she primarily works with the mammals at the zoo,) she was able to call the animals by name as well a provide us with information about the zoo and the animals. Sarah was so very patient with both little superheroes as they both bombarded her with random fun facts about the various animals that they saw - she was very polite as I'm sure she already knew all of the fun facts.

Henry was quite interested in the Rhinoceros Iguana! We're sure that he was thinking he could take the Iguana on! It took Henry about half an hour to settle into the zoo as with all the new smells and sounds, he was a little distracted.

Both little superheroes found a locked cupboard in the fossil dig area and L was convinced that because of it's location, the had to try to work out the code to the lock - "it must be part of the clue!" So apologies to the staff, L tried numerous times to work out the code!!

Both little superheroes had a giggle at this turtle as it was sun baking under the wrong sign! 

Both little superheroes had their own maps of the zoo and were directing us to what they wanted to see at the zoo.

Much to our delight, Chief, one of the zoos Tasmanian Devils was having a great rest in the sun. Usually we have to hunt for the Tasmanian Devils as they're asleep in one of their dens.

Henry has a wee bit of a fear of Ibis, they really are an odd shaped bird. He didn't spot these cousins of the Ibis, the glossy Ibis. He did however spot a fee bush turkeys that were roaming the zoo and by the puzzled look on his face, Henry did not know what they were!!

One of O's most favourite zoo animals are snakes - the bigger the snake, the better.

Our visit to Australia Zoo was the longest time we've been able to spend at any Zoo without one, or both kids, becoming overloaded. Henry really showed during our visit just how amazing he truly is. Whenever the little superheroes needed calming, Henry was there.

And Australia Zoo were so accommodating to us and Henry. As L said, quite a few times, "this is way better than the farm cos they wouldn't let Henry in!" We'll definitely be going back at some stage!

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