This was the birthday gift to Aisha. We have decided to move back to India and so I wanted to take her to the zoo in UAE. I have been planning for this for long and got the chance only yesterday. The truth is, we never really heard of any zoos near us, or we never bothered to learn about it. I came to know about this zoo only a week ago. And it was only one-hour drive to the spot. So, we planed the trip on Saturday.
We started after lunch, the time Aisha usually sleeps. She slept through the whole journey and woke up only when we got out of our car near the zoo. As soon as she saw the horses and camels outside the zoo, she got excited and started shouting. Inside the zoo, it was parrots that greeted us, echoing our cries to them. Aisha was thrilled when she heard the parrot scream her ‘hello’ back to her. But she was afraid if they will bite her, and never allowed us to go near them. It took a long time for her to get fearless of the animals inside the cage. Whenever her Dad or I went near a cage to get some snaps, she shouted saying the animal will bite us. After about half an hour, she finally understood the animals are harmless and then started walking by herself. There were almost every animals found in Arabian peninsula. We saw a variety of monkeys, camels, goats, sheeps, ostriches, pigeons, and hens, making me wonder why do the same species have a number of different varieties in them. And yeah, why do we have the Asian, Mongolian, African, European etc amongst us?
There were wild animals like giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, variety of deers, lions, tigers, cheetahs and many other animals from the royal cat-family. I loved the big fat tiger so much. I kept Aisha’s pram near the window of the tiger-cage for her to see the majestic creature, but I saw her crouch in fright when a tiger came towards the window. Next was the foxes, wolfs, hyenas and some others hunters. The birds’ section also had a large number of species in them, including peacocks, of which I knew only a few. The best part was that we could feed the animals. Although Aisha was afraid to feed them, she enjoyed seeing them eat the leaves and pop-corns I offered them. I don’t know why the giraffe ran away when I touched it. There were some rare animals too, some of which I don’t know the name (I couldn’t read the 20 to 50 lettered names of them written on the information cards) and some of which I forgot the names. Aisha was more interested in the slides, seesaws and swings inside the cafe than the animals inside the cages.
Among the fishes Aisha recognized Nemo, the clown fish, and two of his friends from the aquarium. And then there was the snake-section which Aisha didn’t like as the snakes were all ‘sleeping’. She loved the python, as it was the only snake that moved inside the cage. From the reptile’s sections, we played the hide-and-seek game. Aisha enjoyed finding the hidden animals. Most of the reptiles had their skin color that looked similar to their surroundings and so it was difficult to spot them quickly.The zoo wasn’t a big one and so we completed it in two hours. Once we got into the car, I asked Aisha what she had seen and she replied, “Tiger…horse…hen…monkeys and fish.” Good. I remember only a few of the rare animals.