I love animals, specially felines. But my disdain for how our government zoo is run stops me from visiting them. I do not want to see run down cages, starving animals, discourteous zoo employees, and uncouth visitors. Private individuals who try to put up small local zoos are not even worth considering. We are so far from being world class. However, the foundation that runs Avilon Zoo may be doing things right. On a 7.5 hectare spread, you’d see a variety of animals that are properly cared for. Running for some years now, they’re still building new cages and renovating some. They still don’t have the biggies like the elephants, giraffes, and hippos though, but a couple of bears are coming soon.
I appreciate their providing a canteen and some snack bars in strategic areas. They even allow visitors to use the dining area even if they don’t buy any food from the Avilon canteen. That’s service that earns points in my book. Other privately run zoos don’t provide dining areas so school kids who come in buses have to eat their lunch inside the bus. Today, I just follow my wife’s preschool kids but I still manage to lose them midway – hard to keep my eye on them while taking pictures.
They tell us that this big guy spits on you. He’s in his enclosure surrounded by an electrical fence and a little moat. Best to keep him away from rowdy kids. Today he just checks us out, though. No antics.
I see this bird and I really do want to shoot some. This was were I lost the group. I thought I saw a crocodile gliding nearby.
Pigeons have cribs too, like these ‘pagodas’ out in the open. The more exotic pigeons are in big cages. I saw some with very interesting colors.
During our time, our field trips would just center on our national heroes’ places of birth or war memorials. There were areas cordoned off so you can’t touch anything. You just had a brief look at things while being whisked away to the next point of interest. Today, kids’ tours have gone interactive and are a lot more interesting and involving.
Next stop was ‘A Touch of Aura’, almost a two-hour drive because of the traffic. Something in the name sounds gramatically wrong to me. Anyway, they’re a group that plays with light and they involve the kids in their presentations.
Our last stop was at Manila Ocean Park near the US Embassy. In the complex of shops and restaurants is the new ‘Hotel H2O’, another weird choice for a hotel name. Where do they come up with these? Anyway, we march on to Seriland (I have no idea what that means) where the kids are treated to the playground, the Hall of Mirrors, the Trick Art Museum, and the 3D theater.
While waiting for our turn at the 3D theater, I go out and try to get a decent sunset shot. Not the most ideal cloud formation and the sun was still relatively high. I settle for some ceiling lights instead.
Being the husband of a preschool teacher has its perks. Like being part of this annual preschool field trip. Front row seat, new places to see, free food (!), a couple of close friends, and The Smurfs movie on the bus ride home.
God really knew what He was doing when He created the world. He never skimped on colors. Nor did He let His canvass limit Him. Just taking time to appreciate His work and celebrate life’s colorful turns.