one sweet weekend, we went to al-ain zoo in abu dhabi, and feed the giraffes! what an amazing experience to go up-close (but not personal haha) with these magnificent creatures!
i’ve written about al-ain zoo here – one of the best zoos i’ve been to for sure, in terms of cleanliness, beauty and comfort. well, there we were, at al-ain zoo and we noticed an eye-catching giraffe-patches booth with the signage ‘giraffe feeding’. wow! this should be interesting!
refer to your zoo map as you look for this interesting activity, but the booth is hard to miss, with ‘giraffe’ patches all over its outer wall. besides, with them being the tallest living animal on earth, who could miss the awesome giraffes wandering in their enclosures?
we pay 25dhs (it’s about rm21 only) for 4 person, and we’re given 4 sticks of carrot in a cup, which ended up being 6. i think khaleef charmed his way into getting another 2 sticks of carrots with his loud ‘assalamualaikum’ and ‘maassalamah’ hihi.
(moral cerita : bersopan-santun lah anda walaupun anda di mana jua berada. hihi.)
there are a few water pipes right by the entrance, as the do’s and don’ts clearly state that we need to wash our hands before and after feeding the giraffes. other rules include :
- don’t pet or startle the giraffes as this could make them aggressive
- don’t feed them any other food than the one you get from the kiosk
- don’t harass the giraffes with yells of whistles or throw anything at them
…and a few more about rubbish and smoking.
how tall are you standing next to a giraffe?
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it was really a priceless experience. they were really close. we were reminded not to touch its head for any reason, but its head was VERY close as it bowed down to take our ‘offerings’. their fat green tongue waggling about to grab the carrot into its mouth! however, their tongue is not green, actually their tongue is covered with bristle like a brush – which helps them to digest food from thorny plants.
it was exhilarating! giraffes are really huge! their head is as long as a camel or horse but with that adorable antennae-like horns on their head!
do you know that those things on their head are really called ‘horns’, but looked ‘soft’ and covered with tufts of hair. these ‘horns’ are believed to be some sort of a cooling system for the giraffe’s or to protect their head from harm. whatever it’s for, it does give these giraffes a distinct appearance!
maybe they’re the real life version of the mythical one-horned unicorn!
my boys were SUPER EXCITED. enough said. even THAT is an understatement.
kahfi was screaming shrilly with a big amused grin as he felt the touch of the damp tongue on his tiny fingers when the giraffe eats his carrot. khaleef called one of the giraffes ‘melman’. urm, from madagascar? *wink*
when they’re older, i hope they appreciate this chance of seeing a giraffe so close like that! i don’t think they quite realized how incredible this is to see a wild animal LIVE right in front of your face. and not just ANY animal, but the tallest living animal on earth!
kahfi probably thinks it’s just like petting a cat or seeing a shaggy dog pass by!
as i stood there looking at them, i observe their calm face, and soft beady eyes. they’re so big and tall, yet they move gently and gracefully, slowly swinging their long necks as they move.
i run my eyes across their long slender body, admiring the lovely patches of their fur. the patches are really special, unique only to giraffes. really beautiful.
their fur is not long at all – it’s just a very soft covering on their skin. you can’t even call it fur, rather they’re just very short hair – so i imagine running my hands on their skin, it would feel soft and velvety rather than furry like when we touch a cat.
i looked at their very slim feet and clean hooves. imagine seeing them run! but right now, standing tall and majestic in front of me was enough to cause awe and amazement. mendongak tengok!
suddenly i was imagining tall dinosaurs…
let’s learn a thing or two about giraffes!
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i won’t bore you with too many pictures of the animals we see – except for these two awesome creatures – the white tigers, and the cheetah.
the white tigers are the main attraction at al-ain zoo, and many come for a visit just to see these rare mammals in action. interestingly, white tigers ONLY exist in captivity, that means ONLY in zoos, wildlife park or preservation centers.
the white tiger is so beautiful, like a character in the magical land of narnia! it’s just a wonder to see!
mind you, these white tigers ARE NOT found in the wild. ONLY in captivity, under human care.
so then i was thinking : the normal orange-with-black-stripes tigers are now considered endangered because illegal poaching still continues and their habitat disturbed by human activities. well, what if a hundred years from now – our great-great-great grandkids will know the WHITE tiger as the original tigers because they see them often at the zoo (since white tigers ONLY live in zoos far from the harm of hunters), while the orange ones have become extinct – they became the rare one seen only in museums, old documentaries and history books!
long live the tigers!
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…and then there’s the cheetah!
i love these shots because the cheetah was SO CLOSE to the boys – right smack in their face! without the glass, kazim would’ve mounted the cheetah and ran off somewhere hihi. or, instinct would suggest, the cheetah would gobble up the visitors for his meal…
but yeah – it was an exciting experience seeing a cheetah that close – even though it’s through a glass. observing them move that close just got me to one conclusion – they’re nothing but a big cat. with dots. and killer instinct!
amazing closeness. i SO wanna hug one! thank you for hanging around on that table long enough for me to take this shot. hihi
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we took this chance to visit al-ain zoo because the weather is still cool and cozy.
you might notice my boys’ change of clothes. they first wore long-sleeved t’s because of the cool morning, but eventually got extremely sweaty as the day progressed, and after much running and jumping around excitedly at the zoo. so they changed to short-sleeved after that!
al-ain zoo is definitely one of the cleanest zoos i’ve been to and i’ve been to our national zoo, melaka zoo, taiping zoo, spore zoo and the ballarat wildlife park in aussie – al-ain is one of the top ones in terms of cleanliness of the animals’ enclosures (tak busuk!), beauty and comfort.
- there are ample sitting area, drinking fountain and food kiosk
- the walkway is very spacious
- and most importantly, the toilets are clean! (bab ni singapore pun menang jugak!)
- there are also zookeepers and guards everywhere we look to assist us, and ensuring the safety of visitors
- and there’s also a mosque inside the zoo (not just a surau!), and azan will berkumandang sepelusuk zoo bila masuk waktu.
the boys love looking at animals, and i enjoy al-ain zoo. this is definitely not the last time we gonna visit.