“Wow! Look at the length of her tongue,” enthused our son as he offered a carrot to the blind giraffe who curled her tongue around it before drawing it into her mouth. Three younger giraffes jostled to snare the carrot from our daughter’s hand.
Roars ruptured the morning air, momentarily startling us. Their powerful sound leaving no doubt the nearby lions were awake.
We were at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, on their Roar and Snore adventure. We’d spent the night in tents and were now on an early morning behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe enclosure.
Being able to get up close and personal with so many creatures was definitely the highlight for the children in our group, regardless of whether the animals were soft and cuddly, tall and dribbly or cold and scaly.
“It’s a crocodile!” yelled a little boy eagerly feeling the skin of the nine-month-old saltwater croc presented by our guide Matt, who also introduced Ferris the python before it disappeared up Matt’s sleeve, much to the kids’ delight.
We also met a cute koala (attached to his teddy bear), a shy echidna and rather feisty wombat while learning about their life cycles and habitats.
Our previous evening’s night safari, minus the daytime crowds, meant uninterrupted views of the animals while listening to fascinating facts and amazing anecdotes. We all loved watching the lions alternately wrestle and smooch in the moonlight just inside the glass.
Touring the Australian animal kitchen we saw tasty morsels like fly pupae, mealworms and frozen rats and mice, which are all bred at the zoo. We even sampled homemade nectar meant for the Leadbeater’s possums.
This behind-the-scenes perspective made our Roar and Snore tour a fantastic educational experience. With meals, snacks and drinks included, tents provided, and a maximum of 30 guests, it’s a fun way for the whole family to learn more about the animal world.
The adventure begins at 6.30 pm and runs to 9.00 am the next morning after which you are free to spend the rest of the day exploring the zoo. Tours run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, and on weeknights during school holidays.