The last time I went to Knowsley, I was 14 and I got kissed on the lips by a sea lion - needless to say, I was excited to go back!
First up were the lions. They'd just been fed so they were just lion around (geddit?) sleeping off the four legged meal they'd just eaten. There was a couple of cubs in the pack and one of them was practicing his pouncing skills on a magpie - I bet that doesn't happen in Africa!
We were so close we could have touched them. The big male even used our car wing mirror as a scratching post, pressing his glorious mane up against my window so that I could put my hand up to it and imagine I was stroking him.
The lions were one of my favourite animals.
Next were the monkeys. There was a sign 'turn right for car friendly route' of course, we turned left! How bad could it be? Just as we drove through the gates and into the enclosure we saw why people might want to drive around the outside of the enclosure - cars had monkeys hanging off their windscreen wipers, pulling at their mirrors, jumping on their roofs, we even saw a pick up with several giant baboons hitching a ride in the back - looked like fun to me!
We drove past a floret of broccoli and just as I saw it, so did a little monkey who decided to pick it up to try and eat it - as soon as he got hold of it, all of the others wanted it too so the baby took refuge on our car roof, followed by several others! For the rest of the trip, including half the ride home, there were little bits of broccoli rolling down the wind screen! We turned out to be the main attraction (I'm not sure people could see there was a car under the big pile of broccoli munchin monkeys), all the other cars were videoing us... Who knows, we might end up on YouTube. The monkeys were one of my favourite animals.
This is a Blackbuck. You can't really tell on this picture, but they had lovely wavy horns. They were very affectionate with one another, licking each others faces and nuzzling necks at the watering hole. They were one of my favourite animals.
The white rhinos were amazing. You can't even imagine how big they are until you're sat right next to one... And boy, are they big! Their skin is like thick car tyres and those horns must be at least 2ft long! Would you ever imagine that something that size and weighing up to three tonnes could run at 50 kph? My car struggles to do that sometimes! A group of rhinos is called a crash... Hardly surprising considering that's the noise they make when they sit down.
I loved the rhinos, they were one of my favourite animals.
Oh and the elephants! I have always loved elephants. One of these ones had some real anger issues though. He kept throwing things in the pond and even threw a log at one of his friends! That guy needs some anger management counselling I think! The elephants were one of my favourite animals!
The giraffes were very shy and were hiding in their big shed which is surprising as they are 15 ft giants! What have they got to be afraid of? Could it be all the screaming kids trying to feed them boiled sweets through the railings? Anyway, one of them got brave and came for a wander around his yard. I was able to get a good close look with the telephoto lens on my camer, they really are beautiful. Their skin is just like velvet and they have such a knowing look in their eyes like they have seen everything and nothing could surprise them.
The giraffes were one of my favourite animals.
Meerkats. I just can't look at them without imagining them wearing a red velvet smoking jacket and complaining in a Russian accent about the price of car insurance. Needless to say, they were one of my favourite animals.
And finally, the reason we came! The sea lion show! There were three of them in the show, each with their own personality. There was Reggie the baby - he was quite shy but eager to please and said yes to everything. Arthur was the noisy one who liked to get his own way and was jealous of all the attention (and fish) Reggie was getting. Max was 14 years old and obviously the sensible one in the group. He was like a proud dad and clapped every time the others did a trick.
Their performance was brilliant and they clearly love doing it. They did everything from handstands to high jumps, back flips and impressions of seals (the're is a difference, ask Wikipedia). They are such clever creatures...
... And guess what? They were one of my favourite animals!