Today was a holiday in Europe! Labor Day, so all 3 of the kids were home. We went to one of my favorite places in Vienna. We went to the zoo, located on the grounds of the former summer palace to the Imperial family. Schönbrunn, at the bottom of a hill in the city, it is beautiful and a great visual reminder of the rich history the city holds. A beautiful sunny yellow it is a bright spot of the city even today. Along with the beautiful palace, there is a maze, royal gardens, the zoo and the Gloriette, an observation terrace where the royals dined and hosted that overlooks the palace and the city.
The zoo was constructed as a royal menagerie in the park at the palace. The Emperor took his guests there for the first time in the summer of 1752. It has been in operation since then making it the oldest zoo.
One of our favorite things to do at the zoo is visit the elephants. There is a baby elephant named Taluba. He often graces the pages of the local paper because he represents another unique story in Schönbrunn. In 1906 the first African elegant conceived under human car was born here. Taluba (an african name meaning big ears) was born in 2010. He is the 3rd African Elephant to be born in the zoo. The public was allowed to vote to choose his name endearing him in to the hearts of many visitors. We have to visit him each time.
In 2007 when we moved here another historical birth happened in our zoo. A baby Panda named Fu Long was naturally conceived and born here. Another was born in 2010. Aside from all of that, the zoo is very modern and constantly adding new exhibits. Several of the original buildings remain as well as new very modern facilities. There are so many great attractions and playgrounds. We were there for about 6 hours and barely touched the surface of what there is to do.
We spent about an hour and a half at the water park. My kids were running around without their shoes pumping water from the ground into a playground where water moves all of the play elements. My son has a hard time with change.He actually started the day refusing to take off his jacket. It is so hot here, he did not need a jacket but he has a hard time transitioning into new seasons. He cries each day that he needs a jacket zipped up over his shirt. When we were eating lunch he was so hot that his face was red. I tried to take his jacket off and he cried. It took about 15 min, but I was able to bribe him to take it off for a cookie. Much to my surprise he actually let me take of his shoes, socks and pants so he could play in the water park. He had so much fun sitting in the water, trapping it and releasing it into all of the different sections. It was funny to watch. His diaper was so full from sitting in the water and soaking it up! My kids were among the only ones without swimsuits. I suppose I need to figure out how to pack them in my bag too.
Every 30 minutes the water would run dry. The first time, people were starting to leave and my daughter was determined that the water would come back. All the parents tried to pump the water, myself included. I felt weak at first because they asked me to help and nothing no water. I was thinking how is it possible that I can't draw water. Another mom tried, she was thirsty and started saying what kind of joke is this, the water is out?!? Then several men came up and tried. Half of the people left saying the water is out come on kids. Then my daughter she went to the pump determined to get water and SHE DID!!! I said yeah I am so proud of you, and all the little kids started jumping and the remaining adults said great, thanks you did it. She was so proud. each time the water went out she brought it back. Watching the frenzy each time really made me think about the blessing it is to live in a place that we have available water.
It was V's first trip to the zoo. She had a blast. She was singing and laughing and was not even scared when we were only about 10 feet away from the Sea Lions at the show. She even thought it was funny when the male was clearing his throat. She was also very proud to have her own lunch packed. When she realized that she also had a box she smiled so big and I really enjoyed watching her eat her semmel (kaiser roll).
It was a nice day, and I am looking forward to our next trip to the zoo!