Givskud Zoo 2014

4 August

I think it was the 5th of August, when we went on holiday last year, and we had a wonderful time, all of us. So wonderful that “Gubby” has asked me every single morning, not missing a day, “are we going to Legoland today?” and every day I have had to answer him “no, just to pre-school” or on Saturdays and Sundays, something else. When summer vacation started this year, two more boys started to ask me about Legoland and “Cookie” wanted to know if we were going on vacation somewhere. “Gubby” started to talk about the animals and wanting to see them again. I who did not think he was that impressed last year with anything but Legoland! After a couple of weeks, I started to think that no matter how little money we have, it is no fun sitting at home, all summer, doing nothing.

My initial plan, after having to cancel an Italy trip (our car being most unhealthy nowadays), was to take day trips to places, like museums in the Copenhagen area. But for everyone who has looked at the museums and the entrance fees, you know that it cost an arm and a leg not just driving over the bridge, but also to go to any of the fun museums available. In our case, we would have to go and park at Fields shopping centre, on the other side of the bridge, and then buy tickets for the metro, because trying to find a parking place for our big bus would just be a nightmare and I fear impossible. In other words, making day trips are even more expensive, than going on a “real” trip!

Finally I settled for going back to where we went last year. A repeat of everything except one thing. This year I booked three nights at the flat in Langelund, from the start, when a flat was available for all those days. Last year we tried to add one night after the initial booking, since my husband had re-thought our plan to drive home after Legoland closed at 20:00. One is very, very tired after an entire day there. He came to this insight too late and we had to go stay in an expensive hotel, last year, on the third night! Not so this year. I booked all three nights in one go. All summer the children have longed for our trip and have collected cans, so they would have some shopping money. And today, was finally the day for take off.

The  order I gave,  was to leave at  07:00, since “Jane” (Our GPS who sounds like Jane Fairfax in “Emma”), said it takes 3 hours and 14 minutes to get to Givskud. Had we left at 07:00, like I said we should, we would have made it for the camel feeding, even if we encountered road work and bad weather, the camel feeding taking place at 11:00. The children loved that feature at the zoo, when they were given carrots and tried to give the babies the carrots, while the gluttonous father wanted all the carrots for himself and pushed the babies out-of-the-way.  But to leave at 07:00, we needed to get out of bed at 06:00, and I was the only one who got out of bed. My husband having problems with authority and being told what to do, shut down as usual with his snail syndrome and we did not get to leave until 07:37. D. and E. were not coming along on the trip but D. finally got out of bed and helped me out with the things to the car, which were too heavy for me to carry. Had he not helped, we would have left way later than when we did. He really is a life saver in my life! But those 37 minutes did all the difference in the world.

It has been hotter than hot for weeks now, but today suddenly it was pouring down rain. Which made packing the car more difficult, of course. But also made the driving dangerous. I had T. drive the first stretch and he really drives like a snail. But I hate driving through the gates to the bridge, since our bridge bizz “machine” has given us trouble every time now, when we have crossed the straight. Last year, my husband had a new VISA card and had forgot to update the bizz machine to this fact. This year the battery was worn out so we were stopped and received a new more high-tech machine.

Since I can never sleep properly when I am going somewhere, I woke already at 04:00 this morning and had to get up taking aspirin, since I also had a splitting head ache on top of the insomnia. At 05:30 “Gubby” started to ask if it was time to leave, which woke T., so he was so sorry for himself, for not getting his full beauty sleep. In other words, I had to take over the driving as soon as possible, since I can’t stand sitting beside him when he hits himself in the face, to stay awake. Makes me feel very unsafe!  There was a another reason for taking over as well. To drive 90-100 km/hr when you are allowed to drive 130 km/hr, makes me irritated. Especially when we are trying to get to a place by a certain time and it is not MY fault that we are late! So even though I was about to go to sleep, I took over the driving, on slippery roads and I had to exceed the speed limit to try to drive in lost time.

But even though I tried my best, we missed the camel feeding with 20 minutes. It broke my heart, since “Gubby” said “Are we feeding the camels now?”. How could I explain to him that since his dad refused to get out of bed, this pleasure was taken away from them all? We just made it for the feeding of the elephants but the subsequent feedings are not as funny as the camel one, since all other feedings are made by the vets. You are not allowed to help.

That said, it was still fun to watch and listen to what the vet told us all about the elephants. Last year, the only thing we did was feed the camels and listen to what he said about camels. We never saw the elephants or any of the other animals being fed. This year, I made sure we almost saw all of the ones they feed in front of an audience. Not just because of the feeding but because it is interesting learning more about the animals. Like what the vet said about the elephants at imageGivskud zoo. They are four old ladies according to him. One fat one, which was standing right in front of us, looked pregnant. But he said that she is not, she just loves food very much. It was only two of them which were interested in eating and it was funny to watch how they wrap their trunks around whatever food is thrown to them, and then they lift the food to the mouth. I guess I have never really contemplated what the trunk really is, but he explained that it is the elephant’s nose, nothing else. They do not drink with it! They do pull up water with it, but only a little bit and then squirt it in their mouths. They would choke if they tried to drink with the trunk just like we start coughing and acting weird when we get water in our noses, when in a pool. What did they get to eat? Melons, bananas and cucumbers. This little boy beside me was shocked when he saw the elephants putting everything in to their mouths, unpeeled. My children wondered about them throwing sand on themselves the entire time. It works as a sunscreen. It cools the blood down and they stay cooler which also protects them from the sun! Smart! Givskud’s elephants are from India so they have no tusks and we learned that their ears look like India’s map while the African ones have ears which look like the map of Africa.  I knew Indian elephants have smaller ears but  I never paid attention to that they look like the India map! I know I have said this in a previous post, but it never ceases to amaze me, how all animals really are a testimony of God’s existence. Everything is so intricate and well planned!!

One thing that the vet really burned for, was the elephants. He had been to Thailand and seen tourists go on elephant rides and he wanted us all to pause for a moment next time we contemplate such a thing. (Like I would go to Thailand!) What is done in Thailand is: They track down an elephant baby, kill its parents and then train it to  do what they want it to do, by hitting the baby in  to compliance. I can understand how he got so upset that he felt he had to mention it several times to us.

Next we moved on to the wolves, because the vet told us they would be fed nextimage and that they had cubs. Personally I thought it was all gross. I had to look away because they are fed dead chickens. Tiny, little furry things with legs and feet and everything. Too much for my sensitive stomach. But it was interesting to hear the information about the wolves. It was a female this time, feeding and teaching us about wolves in general. Some years ago, for someone’s Birthday, we watched the film “Alpha and Omega”. The film was alright. But I guess I have never thought of wolves really being led by an Alpha male and Alpha female. But they are. But the animal carers at Givskud zoo has still not figured out who IS the Alpha male since it seems like  one of the males is in charge and one mates with the females. Pecking order is always an interesting thing, and does the above mean that the wolves in captivity have split their roles on two males, to survive? I guess they also eat in pecking order, the males first and so forth, but she said that the funny thing is that while the cubs should eat last, they are pushed forward by the adults so they eat pretty early on, during the meal. Which assures survival!

image imageThis time we really did try to do what we did not do last year, so we followed her advice, and walked over to the Indian tepees, grabbed  big sticks and made  bread over open fire. When everyone had eaten their bread, an activity that actually did not cost, like it does at Legoland, we sat down in the car to drive through the safari bit. I really got angry this time. If you pay 100 DKK (£10.73/€ 13.41 /$ 17.95 for each child to get in to the zoo and 190 DKK (£20.38/€ 25.49 /$ 34 for adults, what is the rush? Why do people honk at you when you stop to look at the animals and take photos? Are they insane? When we went to Knuthenborg’s Safari park a couple of years ago, where the giraffes are less scared and walk up to your car and stick their heads in, we sat for an hour by the giraffes and so did many others! But in this place, people expect you to just zoom through the safari part quickly. Well, I have the right to sit and study the animals as long as I want to! I have paid! So we put our hazard lights on and sat there till I felt done. But getting all these dirty looks, from especially idiot Swedes on vacation, staring in to our car like we were doing something wrong, was not something I appreciated. Some Swedes should just not be let over the bridge!

We headed to the Lemurs next, since they were to be fed. They are funny little imagecreatures and they will never be the same to me after having watched “the penguins from Madagascar”.  They are all the spoiled “King Julian”! Unfortunately the wolf lady’s voice was drowned this time, so the only thing I heard when she was feeding them with grapes cut in half, was that this little classic looking Lemur was best friends with this little brown one. They grew up together. ((I hope to get a photo in here!)

Next stop was the gorillas and this was really a highlight because they are interesting and their life is like a real soap opera drama. The leader of the flock is Samson  and he is even on Facebook so one can be updated on his doings and the rest of his family’s. I wonder what will happen though? Samson is according to Facebook being sent to Hawaii to retire. But the lady who fed the gorillas, as well as the wolves and Lemurs, said the decision has not yet been made. 42-year-old Samson, is father of the two babies but also of two other “children”. The oldest of his sons, is Kipenzi, and we could all see that something was wrong here. Kipenzi is 12 years old, gorillas becoming about 50, and he weighs 20 kilos imagemore than his dad. And his dad has “told” him he is no longer welcome in the family. Kipenzi was sitting far to the side of the others and one carer had to go feed him over where he sat, so there would not be any unpleasant fighting in front of us all.

What is soap opera about it all? Well, Kipenzi’s mother is dead, so he could mate with all the females in the flock. But as the animal caretaker said “he is young, inexperienced and perhaps not up to being a leader.” It sounded like it would be better to send Kipenzi to another zoo or to another part of the Givskud zoo. I think it would be cruel to take away Samson from his wives and his children. Because this was a family we saw in front of our eyes! The two little babies jumping on their father and he throwing them off him, not being in the mood. Being more interested in all of us, imagestaring at him! 32-year-old Minnie is a funny mother who wants to cover herself with sticks all the time and she has the youngest baby, called Amiri, who was probably the newborn we saw, last year? Chuma is the mother who will play with both babies. She is 28 years old, and her baby is actually 2-year-old, Yeba. But both babies ran up to her and she would nibble on them, tickle them and throw them in the air or hang them upside down in a foot. T. thought that was the dad since she was so playful, but not so. The cocky one was the “”teenager”, Sammi, who is 9 years old. He was breasting himself while his dad gave him a look like “right, you fool!”. When the apples were thrown to them, this gorilla liked to catch them with one hand like the best baseball player, to show off I am sure, and of course people applauded. The saddest creature in the family, was the old spinster Nille, 50 years old. She has never had any babies but help out with the other females’ offspring. She was bought and kept as a pet, in a flat, in Denmark somewhere. At 18 months (I could have mistook this, since it was said in Danish, it might have been 18 years but that is hardly likely.) , the family realized that they no longer could have her as a pet. So she had been taken to a zoo and then ended up in Givskud. She thinks she is a human, so she is pretty lonely, keeps to herself a lot, does not let any male mate with her. BUT… she has looked a lot of the male human caretakers deeply in the eyes, to show that she is interested in mating. With them! If that is not tragic what is? Could Givskud really break up this family  and just hand over the females to Kipenzi? And what about the babies? Would not the entire family feel confused? I think Samson should be allowed to stay and live out his days with his family. Soon enough Sammi will be a problem too. Too many gorilla boys being born!

Just like last year the lions where laying in the shade  resting. By now, theimage children were getting a little bit restless and wanted to get to  the playgrounds. I just wanted to do a little visit to the gift shop where I ended up getting myself a T-shirt and mug. Why? Well, they had giraffes on them!

Our next stop became a nasty one. All over it says you are  not allowed to feed the animals. Right. I think we all understand that for a zoo  animal to be fed ice cream, cookies, hamburgers and other things, which us humans sit and eat around them, at the zoo, could be lethal or at least cause them digestive problems. But what about feeding the goats grass? They are in this huge pen eating grass all day and what “Cookie” and “”Kitty” did was pulling up grass  and  feeding them with it. Lazy goats ran like crazy towards them like they had never seen food before and of course the children were delighted. I was on the other side of the pen, trying to take a photo of “Gubby” petting a baby goat, when I hear this Swedish man bawling “Kitty” out for feeding the goats. Screaming at him that it is forbidden. The self-righteous moron! That is what it is like living in Sweden. Everyone is self-righteous and thinks they know better than you and they are all self-appointed police officers. This man had decided he was the zoo police of the day. But he did not tell the man beside him anything, the man who did the forbidden act of picking up a goat to be photographed with it, when signs all over say that you are not allowed to lift them. No, this Swede picked on a child, not a peer! And then he walks by me and T. and says loudly to his child “They just have bad parents who do not tell them what they are not allowed to do!”. I said very loudly to T. “And Swedes are the worse self-righteous idiots!”. And if anyone is allowed to say this, it is ME, because I am 100% Swedish and often ashamed of that fact. Because my people can be the most narrow-minded idiots in the world and we have nothing to be self-righteous about AT ALL.

I marched my children out of there, having had enough, and we walked down to the trampoline park instead. I had to cool down but I was ready to bite that man’s head off, if he so much dared to come near me again. He really managed to spoil the rest of my day. How dare he? Feeding the goats grass that they stand and munch on in front of you the entire day, when you are there. For heavens sake! I was so livid that I did not want to jump on a single trampoline and I wish I had had D. there to vent with.

The day was coming to an end, most people had left the park, and I thought we would as well, but “Cookie” begged me to drive the safari run one more time. I thought, why not? So we did, and I will tell you that the hour to drive through the safari park is not noon, when all the animals lay sweating and panting under trees, but around 19:00 when we did. All the animals were roaming around and eating. We had a gigantic buffalo bull walk right by the car and I was afraid he would scratch it. He was as big as our bus almost and very scary. The giraffes imagewere still pretty scared, but they came all the way up to the road and stood there looking at us. Most animals came very, very close. The boys wanted us to drive in to the lion enclosure again, as well, so I did.

It felt a little bit odd. Why? I got the feeling that my door was not closed because I could hear the sounds from the outside, too well. But you are ordered to not open any windows so no way I was going to open the door to see if it was really closed. T. told me about these Japanese tourists who had stuck their heads out on a safari thing and well, you can guess yourself… I tried not to think about the door when the male walked right in front of our car, to get to the other side of theimage road where he lay down there right beside us. Next came the two cubs and they went to play with their dad. He did not appreciate them jumping on him so he roared. Wow! The kids got scared and I once again pointed out, that “I don’t think my door is closed”. The females were on the hunt all over when we slowly imagemoved around the place and towards the exit. Outside, I finally got to check the door and  guess what, it was just pulled to, not closed at all. The lions could have had quite a feast there!



We drove to Langelund after this, to check in at our converted barn. We received the same flat as last year and while the children jumped on the trampoline and played mini golf, we unpacked the car and fixed dinner. An entire day in the sun, takes its toll. We were all exhausted actually. Not the least me who had been awake  since 04:00. The  best thing today was that  the rain stopped as soon  as we drove  over the bridge to  Jylland. It would not have been a fun day to spend at the zoo, had it rained all day. Noah’s Ark rain is alright, if you are at home and do not need to leave the house, but it is awful to drive  130 km/hr in and awful to walk around in, wearing a dress/shorts and sandals! The only thing I had packed for this trip!


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