Penguins at Central Park Zoo

IMG_2288The Central Park Zoo is small but beautifully landscaped. It provides plenty of places to pause and enjoy sea lions or watch a grizzly bear snoozing. I didn’t realize they had penguins until I saw an article about places to stay cool in NYC in August. One suggestion was the to check out the Antarctic House and see the penguins. I noted that the penguins were fed publicly at 10:30 and 2:30 p.m. I realized when I left Lincoln Center that if I hot-footed it I could just make it there by 2:30.

IMG_2290It was $18.00 for a ticket to get into the zoo for one adult. As a penguin lover it was worth it–although at feeding time it is crowded and as you can see the windows get steamy. It is hard not to be captivated by the birds swimming and jumping back on the rocks. IMG_2297

I spent a bit more time looking at other animals and admiring the flowers and shrubs. I really needed ice cream. I stopped at the cafe where they had the usual sort of packaged and reheated food. The gift shop was a little more original.

This is a great place to visit with children. You can save 10% on tickets by buying on-line.

Wildlife Safari on Kangaroo Island

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Bachelor kangaroo on KI

Such fun! Another friend suggested a I check out Kangaroo Island (KI) if I was going to be in Adelaide. I debated whether or not to spend a day away from the bike race for a wildlife safari. I am glad I did. It was terrific to spend the day relaxing and viewing the strange and wonderful animals of Australia.

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If you look really closely you may be able to see dolphins playing in the waves.

Signing up for a day trip to KI makes for a long day! I had a 6:15 pick up at my hotel, then a 2.5 hour bus ride to Cape Jervis. Then we boarded the SeaLink ferry for a short ride to Penneshaw. A guide from Kangaroo Island Odysseys picked me up with a family from Italy. Paolo was guiding me until we caught up with my group. All of the vehicles are top rate. We met up with my guide Nikki and I transferred to a smaller group–just one other American couple in a jeep-like vehicle.

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We had a full morning of viewing kangaroos, dolphins, pelicans, and wedgetail eagles before we stopped at Odysseys special camp for a gourmet lunch. We relaxed for a short while before we went on a bush walk on their private reserve and viewed koalas and found an echidna.

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The echidna is like a punked-out hedgehog. Charming!

Our guide, Nikki, was excellent at taking care of every detail and sharing her enthusiasm for KI. We saw so many species on found in Australia and it was delightful. We also learned the history of the island. As we stood watching the sea lions up close on the beach I realized I could drive 3 hours to the Monterey coast and watch California sea lions. Why wait till a big trip? Why not both?

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Nikki Redman is an amazing authority on the flora and fauna of KI. Pointing to a pile of wallaby bones, “Do you know what that is?” No one does. “Wassaby.” 🙂

The tours begin at $415 US and increase depending on size of group. There is also an option to spend the night and includes accommodation. My day was really long because I had the bus ride and ferry (round trip) included in my fee. The couple in my group flew on a small plane from Adelaide so they spent less time in transit (and more money). There may be more affordable ways to see KI, but I am not sure if you drove over (ferry accommodates autos) how much wildlife you would see without a guide.

You can see more photos and learn more about the experiences available on the Kangaroo Island Odysseys Facebook page.