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  • Writer's pictureShNaajh

And I thought zoos were for little kids!

The day we went to Korkeasaari Zoo was by far my most favourite day in Helsinki. My father wasn’t able to come as he had work to do, so my mother and I went to the zoo without him.

We walked to Market Square, again, only this time it was to take the ferry to Korkeasaari Zoo as it was on an island. We took the 10:00 am JT-Line ferry. My round ticket cost €4.00 and my mother's cost €8.00. The ferry ride was about 15 minutes and there was food - mainly lollies - that you could buy on board. We arrived at the dock, which was one of the two entrances, the other being the bridge. We bought our tickets - mine was €12 and my mum's €18 - and went inside. We were given a map of the zoo, which featured a recommended route.

We started in Cat Valley. The first animals we saw were two lionesses, and we quickly got into action snapping photos as they elegantly walked around their enclosure. Next up was a fearsome male tiger that stalked its enclosure menacingly as it awaited its breakfast!

The next enclosure, however, was empty, so we quickly moved on to the one for the European wildcat. Sadly, we didn’t see it and carried on through Cat Valley. Next up... the mysterious, beautiful, SNOW LEOPARD!!! Which we didn’t see. But then we saw an adorable little red panda. My mum got some wonderful pictures of the red panda looking directly at her camera, We also saw a much smaller kind of wildcat that could easily pass as a pet.

We kept going only to see two men chatting excitedly! I ran up to the enclosure followed closely by my see a majestic leopard, perched up on a wooden platform looking down at us. My mum took only a moment to take some marvellous pictures!

We then got lost, but quickly made it back to the path. We walked past the reindeer enclosure to see not a single reindeer in sight! We didn’t mind though as we’d seen reindeer before, but as we kept going, I looked to my left and saw the whole herd! There were two males. The one that had faded red antlers caught the attention of both me and my mother. We found ourselves staring at the reindeer’s gorgeous antlers. We later found out they were red because the reindeer must have recently shed the fur off its antlers.

Next up was the lynx, which I wish we saw! We spent over 10 minutes desperately searching for even a flash of the lynx’s fur, but all we saw was a chewed Moomin plush toy. We moved on, disappointed. But our disappointment quickly faded after running around the small enclosure of a very speedy little marten. Exhausted, we moved on to the wolverine. This was the one animal my dad wanted to see, so I took out my phone and videoed nothing. That’s right, nothing. We didn’t see it. I looked around, made random animal noises, but nothing worked! Then there were some calm takins, which were perfect for pictures because they didn’t move, and after that was a bison-like creature which turned out to be a wisent. It glared at us! The wisent was also incredibly loud - I'm not sure whether it was normal, or it did so to threaten us. Then there was a monumental moose! Literally, it was a monument! There was no actual moose, which surprised me, but my mother didn’t complain one bit and carried on taking photos.

We approached the Monkey Castle with caution, prepared for anything, except the horrid smell that hit us the second we got inside! Fortunately, I soon forgot the smell as I was distracted by a monkey playing peek-a-boo.

The two of us then - my mum and I that is - quickly moved on to the predatory birds, one of which was an eagle with piercing yellow eyes. It stared through the enclosure as though daring people to meet its gaze.

As we carried on, we passed Bear Castle. We patiently waited, looking down on the enclosure expectantly. Then one of the two brown bears started walking around swaying from side to side as it moved. It stopped at the sight of a fallen tree trunk and unexpectedly swept its feet over and slowly drifted off while hugging the tree trunk. It was the funniest and cutest scene!

Then as we left, we strayed from the recommended route and found ourselves in the presence of three snowy owls. So, we stopped by the enclosure and snapped some pictures. An owl looked at us very suspiciously!

Once we found our way back to the correct route, we saw some dandy deer, captivating camels and gorgeous gazelles. Then at the musk ox enclosure, we once again got a glimpse of the snowy owls.

As we walked on, we approached some native animals - wild horses, the kulan, and domestic yaks, some of which we got good photos of.

Then came some adorable African Pygmy goats which I admired from across the fence. It was possible to go inside, but sadly nobody could open the gate. We couldn’t see what was in the next enclosure, so we continued on only to realise that we were back in Cat Valley. We then needed to head south to find many more animals.

We once again saw some owls; except this time, their feathers were of a slightly darker colour. We were then surprised to come across a collection of Australian animals! They were certainly far from home!

I then went into the Africasia Tropical House. And yes, I said I, not we. When we were about to enter, Maa saw a bird swoop down inside and refused to take even one step further, which left me to see all the creatures inside ALONE! After I came out, Maa joined me once more, and we went and saw the peacocks and a few peccaries.

The next part was definitely my most favourite.

I had constantly been telling my mum how cute fennec foxes were, and now I could prove it! Maa loved them! There were two pups and two adults. We stood there and admired the family from across the glass, as we watched the two pups playing around happily.

That was it. It was time to return to the Airbnb. We walked back to Cat Valley. We hadn't seen the wolverine, or the lynx, or the snow leopard. Should we go back to those enclosures one last time? Perhaps at least the snow leopard's, because that was the closest? As we approached the enclosure, we saw a mum pointing out something to her daughter excitedly! And there it was - the snow leopard, completely unbothered by the presence of the visitors!

We then had to speed-walk through the east side of the zoo so we didn't miss the boat! After a quick stop at the gift shop to buy a magnet, we left on the boat we’d taken to get to the zoo and drifted out to the water.

If you ever go to Helsinki, no matter how old you are, make sure you go to Korkeasaari Zoo. And if you don't see the animals that are more secretive than others, make sure you circle back to their enclosures more than once and don't forget to keep your fingers crossed!


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