Artis Zoo (Nathan)

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
Trip End Oct 27, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The entrance to the zoo was at the end of a sidewalk that seemed to keep going forever... we walked the entire length of the zoo and saw most of it through gaps in the trees, along with a few interesting items stuck on the fence's spikes, such as a mitten and a handwritten flier for homemade muffins, with little pull-off strips with the phone number. I'm not sure why they thought impaling it on a random fence spike in front of the zoo would be an effective way to get their message out, but I took a strip with the number. We never did get around to calling, which I regret. There were also a scary-looking pair of lion statues along the way.

Artis Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world, and the third largest, though neither of these facts seemed too apparent during our visit. It all looked very modern and well-kept, and it didn't seem that much bigger than the Denver Zoo to me. What made our visit special wasn't so much the size of the zoo or any rare, exotic animals they had, but the fact that almost all the animals seemed to actually be doing something interesting instead of sleeping in a corner of their enclosure. I took a lot of videos at the zoo to try and capture this, which happily I'm now able to upload- our hotel in Copenhagen cost a bit more than usual, but it has a fantastic internet connection compared to the ones at the hostels. The sea lions definitely stole the show here, as they were incredibly cute and playful and had two adorable pups, but most of the other animals seemed very happy and lively as well, and even animals I'd seen before at every zoo I'd ever visited were doing entirely new things I'd never witnessed.

We started out by getting reasonably-priced Dutch pancakes at the restaurant by the flamingo pond, and a curious (or hungry) peacock wandered by right next to us as we ate. I also realized for the first time that the undersides of flamingo wings are black- did you know that? After that we decided to see some of the animals getting fed, and started with the pelicans- though it turned out the lemurs right nearby were getting fed as well, so we hurried over to see that. It was amazing to watch... they were clambering all over the fence, leapfrogging over each other to get from side to side, directly in front of us- I think I was only a couple feet away from the ones I was getting footage of, and I remember that one brushed its tail against my camera as it was hopping past. Some of the denser visitors tried to pet them, but were harshly rebuked by growling and nipping. After they finished their food, they quickly climbed up some of the nearby trees and leaped from branch to branch, showing just how perfectly adapted they were to an arboreal habitat... sadly, I wasn't able to get a video of that before it was all over.

We got back in time to see the pelicans getting fed next, which wasn't quite so amazing. A guy with a bucket of fish and dead chicks (ew) tossed them off a bridge and the eager pelicans, waiting below with beaks gaping, gobbled up as many of them as they could. We missed the rest of the animal feedings, except for the big cats, who seemed quite happy with their big raw bits of meat. As for the rest, just look at the pictures and videos. :)

We saw most of the zoo, only missing the aquarium, insectarium and planetarium... well, we actually got to the planetarium, but it was right before closing, so there were no more shows playing. After the zoo we headed back to The Dolphins for a while, then to a handy FEBO, where I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of buying something from an automat. And it was actually much, MUCH better than it looked- all the FEBO items are just indistinguishable fried shapes, but when you actually eat them, they're really crispy and delicious.Then it was back to the hostel for the night... we didn't have a specific plan for the next day, but we were tired and ready for bed.

By the way, sorry if my recent posts sound a little grumpy or strange- I'm in a weird mood lately and probably getting sort of homesick at long last, as well as just worn out from all the traveling. But it's near the end now, and I'm going to try and get the blog up to date as much as I can while I have a free day. Looking forward to seeing you all again!

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Linda on

Awesome that there is an Automat there. I grew up with them in the city. I was always amazed as a child, when I would see just a hand place food on an empty compartment. Just seeing that solitary hand.......was surely freaking. At that time ( in the 50's jeez) it cost 5cnets for coffee.......and it was fantastic. Those penquins and kitties are adorable. &lt;3

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