Dalian Forest Zoo (Part 1)

Did I mention I had witnessed an attempted jailbreak in Dalian a few weeks ago?  No?  I even got a picture…

(yep – I think I’m funny….)


 

Now, why on earth would I be talking about a zoo of all things? We have those in the US!

Yes, yes we do, but this one was a tinsy bit different.

To start, this one is in China.  The critters here, the way they have things, it was all a bit different from what I had seen before.  Being built on a mountain was a big start.

Pretty, huh?  There was a cable car you could take from this point all the way to the peak of the mountain, but sadly, because of how cold that day, the cable cars weren’t running.  Excuse me while I mope again for just a moment about this. I was greatly looking forward to leaning out over the mountain and watching it pass beneath me…

Besides… I lovely seeing animals…

So let’s begin!!

I’m dividing my virtual tour up into a couple of different posts so you can actually see all of the animals. I took a ton of pictures, and I figure at least a few of you out there would enjoy it.

But enough of all of that – I know what ALL of you are wanting.  I was in China, right?  SO WHERE ARE THE PANDAS??

Right here:

Yep. They have a special building just for them.  You couldn’t miss it from the moment you step into the place.  When we first tried to go on in, we were turned away – the Pandas were still sleeping. So we started with the petting zoo, and that’s where you get to start, too!

They had a couple of Shetland ponies and a couple of llamas… or are they alpacas? I’m still not altogether sure if the difference, but they were pretty.

           

Very friendly fellows, the ponies, though the bigger fuzzies couldn’t care less about us.  They stared distantly, the one taking a kitty-loaf position and refusing to move.

But that’s alright.  Throughout the zoo, there were critters that were more than happy to let you pet them. Ok, ‘feed them’ is a more apt description, but you can pet them while you’re feeding them, so that’s something.

 

Regardless, just to the side of these adorable sets were enclosures for smaller critters.  Guys… they had meerkats.  Most of them were gathered on the table, just staring…

But this one decided he wanted a closer look at all the passing zoo. Or maybe he was as curious about the foreigner as the rest of the zoo attendants. Hard to say. I get stares like this quite often, even from the two-legged beasties. He’s got a bit of side-eye going on here…

But guys… guys… They had Fennec foxes!  They were so freaking cute! But far less impressed with anything else going on.  They looked as if they had only just woke and were unwilling to leave the cuddle-puddle they had found themselves in.  It WAS first thing in the morning after the zoo had opened, so I was unsurprised. And besides, that’s fine – I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, too, so I can’t really fault them.

One of the other beasts I was surprised to spy was an anteater.  Why was I so blasted excited over an anteater??  No clue, but I squealed when I was told there was one at the zoo (even before we booked our tickets), and when we got there, I spent more time in front of this one’s cage than was necessary, strictly speaking.  More zoos need anteaters.  No freaking clue why… but LOOK at him!

As I said, we got there relatively early, but there were at least a few critters that had plenty of energy…  These tiger cubs were have a grand ol’ wrestling match in the back corner of their enclosure. I sat there giggling for a good long while as I watched them. Took a ton of pics, but this was probably my favorite. Yep, can anyone say ‘sisterly love’?

 

And then we saw the Pandas…

What, those don’t work for you??  What about this adorable pair:

Still no?? Sheesh!! (But you have to admit this mama/baby duo gave you pause before you realized they weren’t real, huh?)

Ah, there we have it!!

The pandas had just woke up, and their breakfast was served. This one was still sitting there, contemplating life, universe, and everything when she realized there was food there.  She trundled on over and INTO the bamboo to start nomage.

This next fellow wasn’t having any of it.  He was quite comfortable right where he was, and stayed there for some time.  He finally decided it was time to stretch his legs a bit so climbed on top of his couch… and enjoyed the sun. And that’s where he stayed for the rest of the time.  There was just no moving him, but ya know?  He can do what he wants – I’m fine with that.

            

But how close did I get to them?  Oh, I’d say pretty darn close…

Please note, there was no petting of any pandas.  I value my life too much to risk my sister’s ire like that. (that, and the opportunity for panda-cuddles was not offered here… If I could pay for baby panda cuddles, I’d…. ok, I’d probably do it, sibling rage or no).

On my way to the next part, I spied this jerk trying to be all subtle while taking my picture… SUBTLETY, DUDE!! Look it up!

But it wasn’t just your regular pandas here.  They have RED PANDAS, too!! There was a whole bunch more of them, and it was their breakfast time, too.

Red pandas are tiny bears that look like some kind of cross between foxes, raccoons, and Care Bears. They really do look like little, stuffed animals, and they are so damn adorable it hurts.  I could have likely stayed the rest of the day right here, but something about the rest of the zoo to be seen or something silly like that.

These fellows had a lot more energy than their much larger cousins.  There was one in particular who kept running like mad all around his enclosure.  He’d come up from the top of the hillside onto the roof of his sleeping quarters.  He crept his way to the very edge, and peered over the side at the ground a good three feet below.

There he stayed, for several minutes, just staring down. He hadn’t quite finished his first lap around the pen, and this was how he would complete it, but… that was awfully far down for such a little fella.

He finally decided this not the way, and he backed up to the back of the roof and hopped off there – only a couple of inches up – and started his run around the enclosure once more.

        

He repeated this at least twice while I was standing there, and started on his third lap when my friends had decided it was time for all of us to leave.  LE SIGH!!  I very much wanted to stay to see if he was going to get up the bravery to take that hop or just keep doing laps all day and THINK about it…

The walk throughout the zoo was long, but not to fret, plenty of places to kick back and put up your feet… Let’s kick back here ’til next time…

 

To be continued…

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