Thursday, December 5, 2013

Father's Day/Birthday Adventure at Safari World

Yesterday (Thursday) was the 86th birthday of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has reigned the country since 1946. With the day being a major holiday (which is also known as Father's Day) and in honor of their beloved king, the protestors in Bangkok agreed to a 48-hour truce. We took the opportunity to go to Safari World, where we were supposed to take our little boy for his birthday last weekend were it not for the protests

We had a great day there! The place was so much more than we expected -- so expansive with everything under the sun! There was a "safari" to drive through, either in your own car or on a Safari World bus; a zoo and areas where visitors could feed the animals; various exhibits with lots of fun information; and games like those found at carnivals. Then there were shows at various times throughout the day -- dolphins and beluga whale, orangutans boxing, sea lions, elephants, birds, cowboy stunt shows, and spy war shows (it's a James Bond-like stunt show with explosions). There were also "feeding shows" that allow visitors to go out to the lions and tigers in the safari area in cages and have the animals climb all over the cages to feed. On the premises also were a million restaurants, vendors, and gift shops. We spent six hours there and still didn't get to see everything! 

Of course, it was extremely crowded given that it was a holiday and everyone was there, but it was still fun. The only small annoyance was at the end of the day, when two taxi drivers we asked to take us home tried to rip us off by charging us double the price we spent to get there. Luckily, a third, more honest taxi driver agreed to take us by using the meter, and got us home quickly and safely. He was rewarded with a nice tip from us. 
Map of Safari World.
The entrance. There were more signs in Chinese at Safari World than in D.C.'s Chinatown!
On the bus entering the safari.
Painted storks.
Zebras (obviously).
There were a ton of giraffes. Where they are all gathered here is where they get fed by visitors.
African crowned cranes.
Deer of all kinds.
Thank goodness for this warning. I had no idea!
The male lion was patrolling the path in front of him to prevent anyone from driving there.
They really want to make it clear for people not to get out of their cars!
Tigers watching cars of people watching them.
More deer.
Himalayan black bears, all sleeping in the heat.
Indian peafowls.
Seems these are everywhere we go. Is Thailand known for its toilets?
Honoring the King's birthday.
Entrance to the walking part.
Pony rides.
This crocodile was so still that we thought it was fake...until it blinked its eyes.
Koi fish pond.
A red hideous and creepy.
Albino catfish.
This was my favorite part. The giraffes were adorable!!
Feeding the giraffes bananas. Before we arrived, my son was worried about whether the giraffes would have rabies and would bite him. He's such a worry wart.
Love the grammatically incorrect signs all over the place.
We had to cross this wobbly rope bridge to get to some of the shows.
Swan-feeding area by the rope bridge.
The "carnival" area of the park.
Pretty scenery with fake floating markets and real swans gliding by.
More prettiness.
The canopy covering a restaurant. The bird is fake.
Now these birds are real. There were tons of them just sitting around. Visitors could pay money to have one or two sit on their shoulders.
Orangutans posing for passersby. Check out the one in jeans. He's da man!
There were also dance performances.
A mannequin hanging out. If you sit next to her, she'll turn her head to look at you.
We were able to catch two shows while there (narrowed down from an ambitious four shows). The first one was the Cowboy Stunt Show. Set in the Wild West, it was a show of...cowboys and Indian (yes, one), all in Thai. There was a lot of shooting, jumping, running, climbing, falling off balconies, falling into windows, zip lining, and explosions. There were some good stunts and the show was very entertaining. The best part was the sound effects: like in cartoons, we heard recorded sounds of punching, poking, and falling. "Splat!" "Boing!" It was quite hilarious. My son loved it, but at the beginning, he was a bit concerned about all the punching and shooting, and wanted to make sure no one was actually getting hurt.
Long ago, in Tombstone Town....
Here come the cowboys and Indian.
Getting away!
There was a sign warning spectators that the first two rows may get wet. Well, we sat in the fourth row and still got wet! The guy getting dunked was under water for quite a few minutes. By the time he came back up, I had completely forgotten he was there!
The saloon front came crashing down after someone sat on TNT by accident!
It's hard to see, but there was a half-naked lady upstairs when the facade came crashing down, exposing her to the audience.
After lunch, we caught the dolphins and beluga whale show. It was also very entertaining. Here are some highlights.
The stadium was already full half an hour before the show started!
The beluga whale made an appearance, but the show really belonged to the dolphins.
The dolphins wearing silly glasses.
Balancing balls.
Jumping up to touch balls hanging in the air.
Giving kisses to audience members.
Catching balls in mid-air.
Jumping up in unison.
One trainer was pushed through the water by the dolphins.
Another trainer rode on top of two different dolphins.
The third trainer was thrown high up into the air by two dolphins.
Getting into bird territory.
This macaw seemed to be trying to give us a piece of broken pottery.
Pretty birds.
More pretty birds.
We then went to "White World" to see the polar bears, but they were all inside due to the heat. At least we got to see the white tigers. 

Other random animals:
What're you looking at?!
This walrus was quite a character. It was clapping, splashing water at the visitors, and making all kinds of funny noises.
"Egg World," one of the exhibits. It was "eggs-cellent" (Sorry, I couldn't resist!).
An ostrich egg incubator. There were also incubators for all kinds of other birds. So cool.
A days-old green-winged macaw. So cute!
Baby birds in all stages of growth.
Collection of eggs from different types of birds.
A humming bird egg. It was probably as small as my pinky nail!
Throughout the park, there were tiger cubs held in small cages for people to hold, feed, and take photos for a fee. It was actually sad to see these sweet animals held in the cages with almost no room to move. When we were leaving, there was a family that paid to feed this tiger cub. I took the opportunity to steal a couple of photos. The cub was so sweet and cute.
After seeing this, my son said, "I want one!"
That night, we enjoyed fireworks in celebration of the King's birthday from the comfort of our home. A perfect end to the day. 

In recognition of the day, here is the Thai Royal Anthem, which is played before movies here and on special occasions. Our school played it several times on Wednesday before performances celebrating the King's birthday the next day.

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