So Lucia and I did the Roar and Snore at the Taronga Zoo. The gist is, you arrive after the zoo closes, you sleep in a tent with a view of Sydney Harbor, and then you enjoy a full day at the zoo!
If you saw the previous post, you know that when we walked down to Circular Quay and took the Ferry over to Taronga, the city was blanketed with smoke and ash from the bush fires up north. It really made everything look like you were viewing the world in "Sepia," but it also made it really uncomfortable to breath -- unfortunately.
Once we arrived at the Taronga dock, we hopped off the ferry and made out way up to the main entrance of the zoo by bus (they have a cable car that you can take, but since the zoo was closed they had already shut it down). At the entrance, we congregated with the other Roar and Snore participants (adults only on this night, but they also have family nights for people of all ages). We made some friends, and mostly talked about the fun touristy things people were doing, and how crazy the sky looked.
Soon enough the zoo folks opened up the gates, let us in, and gave us a rundown of what to expect. We were led down to our tents and given about ten minutes to drop off our stuff before it was time for our first animal encounters! They showed us a double headed lizard (not actually, the tail just looks like a head), a female stick bug (which I learned is what they used in indiana jones as scorpians), and a gigantic snake. They were also kind enough to provide alcohol. Next up was a quick dinner (again with an amazing view) before doing our night tour of the zoo.
The night tour was neat, we saw a lot of the animals when they're actually most active. They fed the tigers, and one of the came out of NOWHERE and pounced on the food -- it was awesome and terrifying. The zebras were playing and fighting with eachother which was neat to see, and we saw a bear making its bed. The bear was funny actually, it was tossing burlap sacks around for like 5 minutes trying to get them just right, and finally it looked at it left, right, down, up -- yup! and just passed out. adorable.
When the night tour was through we retired to our tents and went to sleep. It turns out that we were there on one of the windiest nights of the year, and the tents were flapping around like crazy. Falling asleep took a while, but the beds were comfortable so the sleep was good...while you can get it. Around 3am a couple kookaburras settled in our campsite and just started doing their thing. If you haven't heard them before click here -- it's awful lol. They sound like monkeys, and they sounded like monkeys for the next couple hours. But that's fine cause we were waking up at 6 to get our morning tour in before the zoo opened anyway....ugh.
So we woke up, and we did the morning tour -- which was even cooler cause it was a bit easier to see things (at night they can only use a red light flashlight) and we're still the only ones there! We got to go into the giraffe enclosure and feed them, a private seal show, and a classroom style animal intro with an echidna, bat, and some other things. And then they let us loose on the zoo just before it opened to the public. THAT's when we went over to the chimp enclosure. This was the best because it was feeding time. These guys went NUTS. Running, Screaming, Swinging, all of them grabbing as much of the food as they could get, and then they settled down to eat. If you go to a zoo with chimps, find out when they feed them and check it out.
The rest of the day was just us checking out the animals, looking for spiders, and a platypus -- which they have, but apparently they're incredibly shy so they never come out.
I will see a platypus before I leave here though...that's for sure.
To sum it all up, sleeping over at a zoo and getting access to everything with only 30 other people in the place is pretty amazing, and well worth the money. You should do it when you come visit us!