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Things To Do: A Morning At Dublin Zoo

Recently, eumom's Ciara Morgan had the absolute pleasure of taking her two children to Dublin Zoo in the early morning, before the Zoo even opened, for a private tour, followed by a buffet breakfast.

On the agenda: A tour with fun facts of four big attractions - The Lions, Tigers, Macaques and the brand new Orangutan enclosure. Here's how she got on!

I got out of bed at 7a.m., ok, ok I didn’t ‘get out of bed’, I was forced out of bed by my 17-month-old insisting that he was so hungry it warranted eating his book the minute he woke up.

My 7-year-old joined us for cereal and I set about packing up some snacks (even though we had breakfast cereal and would be having a second breakfast just a couple of hours later, I would get the inevitable ‘I’m STARVING’ every two minutes), waterproofs, sunglasses, and hats... that’s a good Irish summer day covered!

My 7-year-old, Sophia, and 17-month- old, Ollie and I set off and arrived at Dublin Zoo bright eyed and bushy tailed at 8.30am.

Our first visit was to the Lion enclosure. The zoo keeper introduced us to mamma lion flanked by her two cubs. While my children were checking out mamma lion Zuri, daddy lion, Kumar stalked past the glass right in front of us eyeing up Ollie hungrily.

When the zookeepers continued to talk and failed to feed Kumar fast enough, he decided to let out a deafening but absolutely impressive roar! Ollie spent the next 20 minutes reenacting it and has given anyone who asks a demonstration since. Apparently, Kumar's roar can be heard a massive 8 kilometers away, as I said, impressive!

We were led to the next pane of glass in time to see the leg of an animal tied up in a tree for the lion cubs to come eat. Two cubs came bolting over, the female being the dominant one gets first dibs and her brother patiently waits. Even when she takes a break, he doesn’t dare touch it and I don’t blame him after watching her swing out of the meat getting herself some exercise in the process.

Next, we were off to the tigers. There was no hanging around here, these cats were starving. A keeper entered the enclosure and threw in a massive bucket of chicken pieces into the pool right in front of us. They both dove in dragging out huge pieces of chicken and devouring them in 10 seconds flat before going back for more and more.

These animals were amazing to watch, you can clearly see them sniff the water as they dub the muck at the bottom of the pool and lifted the chicken piece with their claws into their mouths. My daughter was mesmerized watching them. My son meowed at them which I have to admit, didn’t quite fit with the tigers…

We meowed and roared our way up to the macaques next and watched them get their breakfast of fruit and vegetables. I didn’t learn much here, I’m ashamed to say as Sophia and I spent the whole time saying ‘oh look at that one, he’s soooo cute!’ and copying Ollies ‘ooh ooh ahh ahh’ actions and noises.

Last but most certainly not least, we set off to the brand new extra large Orangutan enclosure. This includes a heavy duty set of wires going overhead across the path. I asked as we approached if they go overhead much and the zookeeper told me they thrive on attention and go back and forth all the time once they see a crowd. He also warned us that they just LOVE to defecate those below them as it produces much-loved screams and laughs. We heard him loud and clear and hung back! Guess what the first one to go across did! Luckily nobody was caught underneath.

This enclosure is fantastic and a real treat for the children. Sibu, the oldest orangutan, posed and actually smiled for photos. He then treated us to a full climb and traveled overhead with his family. Both children were completely fascinated and talked nine to the dozen telling their Dad all about it hours later. I’ve rarely had my 17-month-old stand so still and so enthralled in a scene before.

Go visit Dublin Zoo, it’s a really fantastic day out!! Get their early or plan it around meal times but also avoid the busiest times at the weekend. It’s worth the trip and children (and grown-ups) of all ages love it!


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