Thursday, July 18, 2013

China Day Eleven - Super Duper Safari Park

For our only Saturday in Guangzhou, we had a free day. Based on all kinds of reviews from other adoptive families, we heard that the Chimelong Safari Park was far superior to the Guangzhou Zoo in terms of animal interactions. Our guide Helen mentioned that we could hire a van for approximately $150 to run us out there and bring us back later; but we discovered that we could take the subway for about $15 roundtrip instead. The subway won out. We left after breakfast and took the subway about 40 minutes southeast of town. Again we were the only non-Asians that we saw on the subway and as we approached our destination there were a lot more younger families headed the same way. There is a special subway stop for the Chimelong Resort Area, which has a water park, a roller coaster park, a circus and the Safari Park. As we were walking out of this subway station there were lots of vendors trying to sell you anything you might need to take along with you for a day at the water park. Outside the subway stop, there were several buses for the different resort areas and we just had to locate the correct one and we were off! 

By the time we got to the front gate of the Safari Park, Davis was fast asleep. I managed to navigate the tickets, as no one at the ticket office seemed to speak English. None of the gate attendants did either, but one managed to communicate that there was a place for stroller rentals around the corner. 

With Davis safely asleep in the stroller, we were off for some exploring. 

The Safari Park was very big on up close animal interactions. There was an animal trainer standing nearby and you can see how close people got to this little guy.

It was also interesting to see what kind of animals that they had on display. For instance there was this swan exhibit in a building, and later in a different area an entire Swan Lake complete with white and black swans. 

For a few extra yuan, you could feed the giraffes, zebras and ibix! 

Checking out the rhino. 

More monkeys close up. This little guy got away from his trainer and ran over to one of the tables where a little girl was eating a snack. She got a scratch on the arm when the monkey tried to take it away from her and remarkably the parents didn't really seem all that upset. Here in the US, that would have been a lawsuit for sure! 

We aren't sure what they do different in terms of their zoo animals, but in every exhibit that we went to, the animals were awake and active. It was so different than walking through most US zoos where the animals always seem to be half asleep when you visit. 

There was also an opportunity to feed the monkeys here. We bought two bags for the boys to share and Daryl woke Davis up so he could get in on the fun too. We had no idea that these monkeys could swim underwater, but they were certainly agile in the water chasing down the food.

While the people at the gate didn't really seem to speak English, all of the signs in the parks were in both Mandarin and English. It made things easy to navigate for us and sometimes the translations were rather interesting. 

This one reads, "Be Carefully Slip!" 
Parker and Wesley wanted their picture with the park mascot - 
Davis was not up for the character interaction. 

Being a super big brother pushing Davis through the park. 

Next we came to the tiger area. There are 500 white tigers left in the world and 250 of them reside in this park! They have a very successful breeding program here; one tiger mom alone has produced 60 living cubs for them. In this particular area, chunks of meat were put on hooks and run out towards the tigers, who scurried up the pole for their turn to eat. 

Another white tiger area. 

More tigers. Davis was fascinated by the one that kept walking back and forth by the glass. 

And the baby tigers playing. They were going wild in their habitat, jumping on each other and splashing in the water. All of the kids thoroughly enjoyed the show they were putting on! 

A mama tiger with tiny little babies in a special nursery area. 

From here we went to the north end of the park for the Safari part of our adventure. If you brought your own vehicle, you could drive through yourself (like Lion Country Safari back in Florida) or you could catch a ride aboard the train. The train engines all had BMW logos on the front! Davis enjoys anything that moves and he certainly enjoyed the train ride. It was cool to see the animals and how close they got to the trains and other vehicles. 

After our little adventure, we were all starving and ready for some lunch. There were some really good options. Parker was brave and tried a dish that looked like macaroni noodles but was very spicy. He enjoyed it. Daryl and I got chicken with fried rice to share with Davis, and Grandmommy and Granddaddy enjoyed spring rolls. 

There was a Jurassic Park area that Parker wanted to check out so Daddy and Grandaddy went with him, while the rest of us went ahead to have more time with the Panda bears. Apparently most of the Jurassic area was cheesy until the end when they came upon these guys. 

The Panda area was the busiest section of the park, hands down. There were lots of school groups there and it was really hard to navigate the stroller through certain sections. But in the end it was worth it to be able to see so many pandas up close and so active. 

There was more of the park we did not get to experience, but by this point we were all tired and very, very hot. We returned the stroller and beat it back to the subway station and made it back to the Garden Hotel about 3pm for a Lifeline paperwork meeting. Of course what did our guide Helen have for us at the meeting? A loaner stroller! It certainly did come in handy for the rest of our stay. And we met three more Lifeline families (Powells, Hauns and Schmidts) who were joining us from other provinces in order to do there consulate appointments next week. 

After a much needed nap and a chance to cool off, we headed out for some dinner. And on the way back inside, we found the playroom on the 6th floor of the office/apartment tower. The big boys had fun running off some energy, making up their own games and Davis seemed to enjoy it too. It was a nice ending to our day of play and fun. 

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