Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich Zoo)

We had a great time. The Zoo is large and boasts a variety of animals for all to enjoy. Its a 90 year old facility and covers approx. 9 acres (big for a zoo in a large city). We did not get to see everything as we arrived by train at noon and had to catch the train back at 5 pm.

The train ride up went fairly smoothly. We had to move after sitting in 1st class by mistake and could not find seats together initially, we split up 4 and 2. However after a few stops Tim came and got me as seats had opened up in his compartment. I once again had trouble with motion sickness. Why this is happening I can't figure out, I've never had a problem. I was riding facing backwards, perhaps that is why. Who knows. I was always the one wanting to ride the rides that would make you sick and such in my younger years. I dare not try the "gravatron" now. Anyway I was very happy to arrive in Munich.

We took two subway trains to get to the zoo. The kids enjoyed the articulated train. The "surfed" all the way to our stop. Crazy Americans.

The zoo was somewhat different than what we know in America. The most shocking difference to us was that people fed the animals. Always apples, so perhaps that is what is permitted, but it was very surprising to all of us as its such a big no no in the states. Clearly the animals expect it. When a crowd gathers they come toward the viewing area and wait. We saw gibbons and a brown bear both chomp down some tasty treats. Matthew and Carter did participate in what we knew to be authorized feeding. They bought fish and fed the pelicans during feeding time. Carter said "It freaked me out!"

Snacks are different as well. No sno-cones here, instead its crepes:

The baby gorilla was the highlight as far as animals were concerned. Also they all enjoyed seeing a silverback hoard the peanuts from the zookeepers as well. Clearly they knew he likes them as they shook the bucket over his head at the end of feeding. However aside from the animals the favorite thing of the day was the spielplatz (playground). It really was one of the coolest playgrounds I have seen. We crossed over a long rope bridge and then entered into an area with a massive wooden play structure. The major feature was a massive slide and to access it the kids climb up a maze of large beams all going different directions. It was "super cool". I was so busy keeping up with Katey I didn't get any pics, but below is an image from the zoo's website. In the first image you see a large wooden structure in front of the children. The beams on the outside are too keep kids from falling out I assume. They climb up on the interior. For the adults there is a nearby biergarten. So, if one so desires, you could have a drink and watch the kids play. We stayed with the kids and played along, and no I didn't climb up that slide. They DID NOT want to leave, but we feared missing the train.

The ride home was much better. We arrived early to the station. Tim was on the platform when the train arrived, snagged us seats while Matthew, Laurel, and I grabbed food. McDonalds again(I know, that makes twice already :(!!). This time the person who took my order spoke better english and I was more prepared with my German. Everyone got nuggets or burgers as is, no special orders. We still took a long time to be served and frustrated the customers behind us. We are a large family, what can I say?

We wore our homeschool shirts (I wanted to be able to spot the kids in a crowd) but no one said anything. On the way home I saw a sign I could not resist. I am sure it means something different in German. We homeschool but we are not a:

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