Erin and I got up this morning and planned to go back to the national park around the nearby mountain for most of the day. There are supposed to be many waterfalls, temples, views, and hiking trails. We decided to also check out the zoo for a couple of hours since it was on the way and seemed promising when we saw it on the way to the waterfall the previous evening. We showed up to the zoo, started exploring, and never made it to the national park. It was just that good.
We saw the most adorable koalas. They were hanging out on branches (a baby koala too!) and munching on Eucaliptus. Absolutely take-them-home adorable. There was exhibit after exhibit, all built in to the side of the mountain the zoo was on. You could see they were rapidly expanding in almost every area. The zoo was especially fascinating for Erin and I since all the animals were from around Asia and Australia -- stuff we had only read about in books.
One of the major attractions was an aircraft-carrier-sized open aviary. A cage roughly 200' high, 500' wide, and half a mile long was packed full of birds, paths, streams, and jungle. Recall that this was an open aviary -- nothing between us and the birds but trees. We even saw a little cockatiel-like bird using the man-made stairs instead of flying. Species interchange all around.
Far and away the most interesting of all the exhibits were the big cats, and not because of my partiality to the feline genus. As far as raw collection goes it was pretty great: white lions, white bengal tigers, leopards, and jaguars (check my flickr for photos!). The show-stealer, however, were the leopards and jaguars. Firstly, for around $0.80 you could feed them with a piece of meat on a loooong metal pike. Just like my kittens in childhood these majestic beasts would leap up to great heights to grab pieces of food. It was amazing! But that's not the real kicker... meat is apparently an aphrodisiac for jaguars.
After getting food, the two jaguars went to one of the corners of their cage near the watchers and went at it. Lovers, not fighters. Watch the video.