Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rotterdam's Zoo ("Diergaarde Blijdorp") - An Impressive Inner-City Retreat for Expat Animals

The day before yesterday, as I was having my second false "Braxton Hicks" contraction, it occurred to me that there wouldn't be many more opportunities for me to venture out (alone) with one of my favorite travel buddies... my 2-year old son. Yes, with just 8 (antepartum) weeks to go, our mid-week exploration will change considerably, and there are so many things we have yet to do!

...Hence the hour and a half journey to Rotterdam, to check out "Diergaarde Blijdorp" -- reportedly one of The Netherlands' "most visited" attractions. Unfortunately, although I had my camera with me, there was no memory card in it, which limited me to 7 photos - and those 7 photos seem eternally bound to my camera (but I will find a way to retrieve them... and when I do I'll post them!).

In any event, the zoo was definitely worth visiting. There were animals there that I had never before seen, and some that I might have seen, but they're so rare, that it's always fun to see them again (the African Okapi for example, or bright orange ibis). It's location right smack in the middle of the city make it super easy to access, but a bit noisy (there are two overpasses running through it, not to mention a set of well-utilized train tracks). But most of the zoo remains surprisingly quiet and peaceful, and they've done a fabulous job with landscaping.

All-in-all, I can't wait to go back, and Lukas thought it was fantastic. He says that his favorite animal exhibit were the giraffes, but I think sitting around the pond, watching monkeys, birds, fish, and turtles while eating Ben & Jerry's was my favorite part of the day. :-)

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