Monday, November 10, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

Since our trip to Germany was centered around a conference where Matt was presenting a poster, we spent the middle part of the week in Hannover. Most guidebooks skip over this town as it is mostly a convention and shopping town. Since it was low on the typical tourist sites (churches, art museums, and memorials), I decided Hannover called for a visit to the zoo!

The brochures touted it as the number one zoo in Europe and it did not disappoint. The complex was as themed as Disney, as educational as a museum, and as clean as a hospital. I easily spent the day lost in their world of animals as there were animal feedings every half hour, hourly shows, plenty of playgrounds, many eateries, tons of animals and exhibits, and a boat ride.

The zoo showcases a major difference between play areas for kids in the US and in Europe. At home things are designed so no one can get sued, here things are designed for kids to explore. Between every exhibit there was the traditional paved pathway for adults and strollers, but the second pathway was where the fun was. It criss-crossed back and forth with the paved pathway so parents could keep an eye on their kids, but it was a "wobbly trail". A trail of bridges, rope courses, things to jump on and off, balance beams, and anything else you can imagine for a kid to climb on, over, around, and in while making their way from point A to point B via point M. In addition to these wonderful paths there was an awesome play area for kids to really run loose. It feature a river system controlled by the kids and had wonderful fixtures like a trampoline hut, a mini rock wall, and multiple kinds of swings.

Yes - I played on it all by myself and had a ball!

If you are ever in Hannover at the Zoo, make sure not to miss out on:
  • The adorable Giraffes and their wobbly legs

  • The larger than life Rosa Pelicans, who if you are patient will let you pet them
The only reason I headed home that day was because it started to rain...or else I might still be hanging out with the giraffes!

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