Thursday, August 23, 2012

Parque Zoologico de Goiania

Goiania is a city with a population of over three million people.  There are plenty of things to do and over the past year or two we have driven by the Parque Zoologico de Goiania (a large park in the wealthy Setor Oeste neighborhood) in anticipation of it reopening.  In 2008 the major attraction to the park - its zoo - was closed for renovations and in May of this year those renovation were complete.  Visitors were once again welcome to explore and enjoy the over one thousand animals which call the park home.
A little history before we purchase our tickets and begin to explore.  The park was created in 1946 and like I stated above contains over one thousand animals representing approximately one hundred and ninety three species.   Within the boundaries of the park lie four lakes - Lake of Roses - Monkey Lake - Lake of the Birds and Swan Lake.  These lakes are supported by five streams which find their sources within the park's boundaries.  It has been a place to gather and enjoy nature right in the heart of the city since it was built.  Enough with the history lesson let's see what the park has to offer. (thanks wikipedia)
It is once again a wonderful blue sky filled day and since we have been waiting for the park to open, we decide it is time to go take a look.  Parking is a little bit of an issue with the area designated for the parks visitors is really too small to support the crowds and as you can imagine the overflow streams into the surrounding neighborhood.  We drive around a while and find a spot on the side which is opposite the zoo.  It is nice out so an enjoyable walk in through the tree filled outer park is a great way to begin our journey.  As we near the front entrance,  the sidewalk is lined with vendors
 selling waters, sodas and little toys for boys and girls.  The closer we get to the front gate the more people there are gathered together waiting to enter.  However, there is no line and we immediately purchase our R$2,00 ticket (wow quite cheap for Brazil), hand it to the gatekeeper and enter the park .
Right away animal life grabs our attention as three hippos are eating their mid afternoon snack.   The pen seems a little small for the three XXL animals and it is probably a rarity that they are out of the pond which lies in the middle, but then again it is snack time.  We linger to watch a while and  soon it is time to move on to the wild pigs and iguana next door.
OK,  I am not going to go pen by pen and share with you what animals we see but I will share some photos and say that the zoo was filled with visitors on this particular day.  The animals were all your typical suspects found in zoos across the world.  Like the other zoos their living quarters seem to be a little small, but only the tiger seemed stressed by it as he/she paced the edge of the cage.  Some of the different habitats are breathtaking among the tall buildings of the neighborhood around. Besides the bear who seemed to be injured and the missing giraffe who recently died,  the animals seeme happy and healthy.
Of course the zoo has a large collection of unique birds including several species of macaws.  They have taken this bird watching one step further with the recently completed addition of a large netted bird cage filled with vegetation and several birds.   Guests are guided through this area by zoo employees and educated on the habits and characteristics of the birds found within.  Of course the toucano is one of the birds found here along with peacocks, and macaws.  They only give these guided tours at certain times of the day and we are fortunate to be here at the right time so we
proceed to stand in line.  Through the hanging chains we sneak as not to disturb the birds on the other side.  We walk around the small loop inside enjoying the colorful beauty of these magnificent birds.   Our guide shares some of the birds habits and what my brain is not translating,  Luiz attempts to translate for me.  As we exit the large bird cage  arriving just outside the netting we are treated to a full display by one of the peacocks.  Almost as to thank us for visiting.
Next we stroll through the museum which is filled with information about the wildlife of Brazil along with the stuffed remains of a large crocodile which called the zoo home for years along with other local animals.  After this the only thing left is to walk around Monkey Lake and watch the monkeys play on their island habitats in the middle of the lake.  These little critters are surely entertaining and we find a nice shaded place to sit and watch for a while.  It has been a enjoyable afternoon and little did I know,  my favorite part of it was still left to come.   After a few minutes or resting it is time to continue our journey around the lake towards the car.  As we walked along,  there is a large squawking noise coming from the middle of the lake.  We notice a pair of ducks eating monkey food on one of the islands.  Soon one of the black monkeys runs towards the fowl as he waives his arms up in the air.   The birds respond with a loud squawk, hiss, and jab of their beaks in his direction.  We stop to watch and soon it seems as if they are playing a game of tag.  The monkey flies around the island, waiving his arms, and dashing towards the pair.  They
respond with a quick little chase and some loud noise.  Most of the time the monkey runs away, grabs a tree and swings around the island before his inevitable return.  Once and  a while the monkey seems to win and the ducks retreat to the water where they are safe only to return to the island once again.  Seemingly egged on by the monkey who appears at the waterfront near the ducks.  I begin to wonder what is so specific about this island for the birds.  There are others and they have food on them as well.  Maybe they have built a nest here or are thinking it would be a good place to call home.  We stand and watch this back and forth for over a half an hour.  Several times I find it hilarious enough to let out a chuckle and actually just have a great time watching the battle of Monkey Island.  The birds finally swim away so we move towards the gates.  As we get to
the entrance the hippos are now submerged in the pond and behind us we hear the squawking of the ducks again and turn around.  We can see the pair have returned to stake their claim on the island but it is time for us to leave and enjoy the rest of our day outside the zoo walls.

You knew there would be a photo of a Toucan! 


Catherine Tramell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DAVE W said...

Catherine, glad you enjoyed the blog. The city is truly beautiful. Enjoy the rest of the posts.