Athens: Day 9

This was a national holiday in Athens, so we needed to find something that would actually be open to tourists.  Turns out there was a great private zoo just outside of the city that is open year round, the Attica Zoological Park.  We had a huge snafu of an adventure getting to and from the zoo, which we wrote about earlier this year.  You should seriously go check it out, it was probably our craziest adventure yet.  But, despite the hassles to get to the zoo, it turned out to be awesome!  The line to get in was so long it snaked through the parking lot as there were many families there with their kids.  Compared to zoos in the US, it was more expensive, but we were impressed that the zoo is funded entirely by private donations and sponsorships while receiving no funding from the city.  I don't think there are many if any zoos that can operate that way back home.  It's also a relatively new zoo, having just opened in 2000 as just a bird park.  Needless to say, it has expanded greatly since then.

Most of the animals were birds and reptiles, but they did have a whole section that focused on the animals of Greece, which was an interesting focus that we didn't expect.

Wild boar, these guys looked pretty fierce!

Two lynx cuddling and bathing each other. This was super cute!

We also went to the dolphin/seal show.  They were all trained very well and put on a great show.

The zoo made sure to warn us not to throw things at the crocs, and we loved the portrayal of the croc in the sign.

Sweet little penguins, photographed primarily for the enjoyment of my sister.

These giraffes cracked me up.  They kept licking and chewing on the railing around their enclosure.  I have no idea why they were doing it, but it sure did look funny!

Grant's Zebras.  Turns out they aren't at the end of the alphabetical list after all.

Pygmy hippos are so cute, little and even a bit strange.  This was a baby that had been born sometime in 2009. The adults look like baby regular hippos, and the baby was even smaller. Tiny animals are adorable!

The screaming bald eagle was loud and impressive. Neither of us had seen a bald eagle scream in a zoo before.

Look, it's Toucan Sam! Mmmm Fruit Loops.  These toucans were fun to watch, one of them was even sharpening his beak (I think) on a tree stump.

Hiding behind a branch?

All in all, we had a great time at the zoo.  It was a bit chilly, but they had a nice, warm coffee shop so we had a hot chocolate and cookie break in the middle.

*Catch up on our entire Athens adventure by checking Our Travel Page, or our Greece tag.*

Catch up on the rest of our adventure: