Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kangaroos, Koalas, Wallabies and Wombats - Oh My!!

When I have talked about going to Australia in the past I have always said something along the lines of "Oh I can't wait to hold or pet a koala." In fact I made this comment enough times to my friend Vicki, who lives in Ballarat, that she mailed me an absolutely adorable stuffed koala who I promptly cuddled, held, petted and named Kooky.

Upon arrival into Australia naturally one of the top things on my to do list was to visit a wildlife park where I could pet a koala. Vicki was happy to indulge my child-like desires to go play with the animals so off we went to Ballarat Wildlife Park. Little did I know that the koalas would not be even close to my favorite animal before the outing was over!

It was a coldish day (by Australia summer standards) and it was a bit rainy so the park was not terribly busy when we got there which was great! Upon walking through the gift shop (where you pay your entrance fee) through the door to outside which is the entrance to the wildlife park we were met by a half a dozen kangaroos who were quite happy to see us. Once I had food in my hand it was nearly a mugging! :) They were so sweet and so friendly. Many of them would grab my hand so I couldn't move it away when they were trying to get at the food.

I got to pet literally dozens of kangaroos throughout the park - they just wander about. I even got to pet a little joey in his momma's pouch! That was so incredibly cool!!!

We wandered through the park petting and feeding our new roo buddies all along the way. Apparently word travelled fast that I was a sucker to give every one of them attention!

We stumbled upon the wombat area where the keeper, Casey, was cleaning out the "cage" area a bit and the current resident decided that he was going to escape. Mind you he wasn't moving very fast though! Casey told us not to worry to let him wander and that we could pet him. His name is Boo and he is so very cute! He's a very stocky creature who is really all muscle it seems! Apparently Boo's mom kicked him out not too terribly long ago and he was missing her. He wandered to her "home" area and though he couldn't see her he knew she was there and whined because he was missing her. It was so cute yet kind of sad at the same time. Apparently Mom was ready to party and it was time for her son to be off on his own in her opinion.
Boo was quite happy to be petted and to be held by his keeper. I had no idea wombats were so cute!!

We did get to pet a koala. Boy are those sleepy little things! They spend most of their time wedged in the trees drugged up from all the eucalyptus that they eat. They are very cute creatures and really neat to pet but they aren't terribly social and this is why the kangaroos are much more my favorite now!

We also got to see some other really cool animals like Tasmanian Devils but we certainly didn't pet those!

I enjoyed my time at the wildlife park so much that when Chris (my Mission Discovery colleague) mentioned he wanted to go to Cleland Wildlife Park here in Adelaide because he wanted to see the animals I was totally game to go again. And if Mel makes it to Australia I will be absolutely on board with going a third time. Frankly if I lived here I would definitely be at these parks on a regular basis!!!

So at Cleland we got to see even more roos and koalas but we also got to see some wallabies which were incredibly cute as well!!! I especially loved this little  baby!!! Too adorable!!

Bottom line is a trip to Australia could not possibly be complete without a trip to a wildlife park to get to pet some of these cute creatures! Now if only I can figure out a way to bring one home with me... I think Guinness would love to have them as playmates!!!

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