Sunday, May 3, 2015

Zoo Review

During the school holidays my sister and I took the girls to Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo.

Koala Selfie

The whole Roar and Snore experience was really fun.  We got to go behind the scenes at the zoo, go on a night tour, have a sleepover in a tent and then get up close and personal with a variety of animals.  It was a great experience and lots of fun for the kids who are just the right age to be interested in hearing all the behind the scenes information about the animals and how the zoo works. The highlight was definitely hand feeding the giraffes their breakfast - they are such amazing animals.  

Good Morning Zoo

Ashlea coped really well with the whole experience.  I suspect she struggled to see some of the animals on the night walk but she loved the idea of having a sleep over at the zoo and was happy to be there.  The only thing that nearly derailed her was at breakfast when there was a special treat for all the guests - a didgeridoo player.  After an incredibly traumatic didgeridoo experience at school Ashlea is not a fan of this instrument.  To add insult to injury the first song that was played (for the kids of course) was ..... her other most hated thing....the Happy Birthday song. Ashlea refused to leave the tent until it was over - because of course being in a tent blocks out so much of the noise...

Hello Mr Echidna

The staff were incredibly helpful and went out of their way to make sure we could participate in the entire experience - I can't say enough about how great they were.  It did help that one of our hosts was Ashlea's awesome school teacher's just as awesome daughter (did you follow that?).  Awesome teacher has an awesome daughter who works at the zoo and rostered herself on to be our host for the night.  I'm sure she'd be just as helpful to everyone who comes to the zoo though :)

Awesome Zoo Host helping Ashlea
feed the giraffe

One word of warning.  If you are like me and have a few issues with anxiety .... and if like me you can't stand the idea of not being able to may want to know ahead of time that the zoo staff will stress (repeatedly) that you will be locked in the zoo (LOCKED IN LOCKED IN) for the night.  I may have lost my mind a little at that point.  I started to freak out and as we walked around the zoo I could feel the panic rising to the point that I thought I wasn't going to be able to stay the night.  I seriously wondered if I could leave my sister at the zoo with all the kids and do a runner.  Instead of running I took a valium and phoned a friend to talk me down from the ledge.  I phoned the only person I knew who would be willing to come to the zoo at 2am with bolt cutters to break me out if necessary. Thankfully it didn't come to that!!!

Nice kitty, soft kitty...
A (Long) Word on Accessibility...

We took Ashlea's manual wheelchair and were able to do everything on the tour.  HOWEVER the reason we were able to do everything is because Ashlea can get out of her chair and walk!  There were numerous times we had to take a longer route to avoid stairs, and a couple of times to avoid going the long way Ashlea got out of her chair and we walked her down the stairs while someone carried her wheelchair.

Sadly at best I can only say our zoo is accessible-ish.  The entire zoo can be accessed via footpath however some of the paths are steep and tricky with a manual wheelchair and the distances too far to walk if you are not steady on your feet.  It is also a long steep walk when pushing a manual wheelchair!

There are accessible bathrooms but (and I didn't check this so I'm not 100% sure) they don't have ceiling hoists.  The tents are accessible but again we left Ashlea's wheelchair outside and she walked in and climbed into bed herself.  Attaching a ceiling hoist to a tent would probably be rather unsafe but it does mean that a person who is not able to do standing transfers would really struggle or not be able to attend Roar and Snore at all.  Perhaps the zoo has a portable hoist somewhere that I don't know about???

We were able to manage our other 'stuff' by attaching Ashlea's feeding pump to a chair and we kept her medications and milk in the staff fridge.  As I have already said the staff went out of their way to make sure we were taken care of and all our dietary needs (vegetarian Aunty Carolin, gluten free Emma and salt free me) were taken care of too.

I think they were looking at us tasty morsels on the other
side of the glass

Prices (insider tip - we were able to use some of our flexible respite package to pay)


Heda said...

Sounds wonderful. Building strong family memories are important. Far more important than almost anything else. And that experience would be a cracker of a family memory.

Alicia - OneMotherHen said...

Wow what a great experience. Love that photo of Ashlea feeding the giraffe.
My mind would have been doing backflips over sleeping in the zoo too.

Therese said...

Are you blogging less? Glad that there haven't been any bad health updates and the zoo went reasonably well.
I haven't blogged in ages. Neurologist tomorrow, pathology Saturday. Maybe something to say after that.
Hope you aren't missing C too much!