Generally, the Zoo wouldn’t be my first choice for a weekend destination. Sad animals, too much sun and a million hyperactive, sugar-crazed screaming children are some of my least favourite things in this world, but a few months ago I did go and to my surprise discovered some genuine positives about our local animal jail.
Firstly, I know it isn’t actually an animal jail. Zoo’s do some amazing conservation work, research and data collection which supports those working with our most endangered species. Secondly there is very little about Auckland Zoo that makes me feel sorry for the animals; they are in pleasant open enclosures with plenty of greenness, space and the ability to hide from the penetrating eyes of Joe public should they be having a bad furr day. There are some terrible, despicable zoos in the world but our local is really rather welcoming.
On arrival I was told the gift bag I was carrying with an array of billowing pink balloons would not be allowed inside the zoo proper. If a balloon were to pop it might upset the animals. While embarrassed by my lack of fore-thought I rather liked that this was they policy. It showed their genuine stance of putting the welfare of the animals before we stupid humans. See balloons here before I handed them over.
This is the first toilet I encountered and a very positive start for my agoraphobic self. It was a busy as fuck Saturday afternoon so I had to park my car a long way up the road. By the time I started walking, the panic was already rising in my throat. I spent the whole walk muttering “I’m fine, I’m fine I’m fine” like some crazed, street balloon vendor. When I finally got to the Zoo and through the front entrance I was pleased to see the set up allowed me to go to the loo, calm down and collect myself before I had to wait in a line for tickets. Now that is what I call good anxiety planning! A loo BEFORE the line? Yes.
The first bathroom was behind the offices and shop, in a row of the same. They had decorated exteriors but plain inside, a convension followed throughout the park.
It wasn’t the tidiest bathroom I had ever come across and I wasn’t impressed with the parent/guardian who left a dirty nappy on the sink rather than putting it in the kindly provided bin, but hey any port in a panic storm!
Wonder how many conservative Christian groups have complained about the rampant Darwinism displayed in these signs?
The following is a terrible fuzzy image but I had to include it because of the wheel chairs, BEST disabled accessable toilet sign ever.
The main take-away from this day, the TLDR of it all, was that the Zoo has LOTS of toilets, which is grand. There are many places to hide if it all gets a bit much, and enough stuff going on that other people would likely not be watching you while you were doing it. Some are all decorated up and cool looking though only on the outside.
Over all this wasn’t the most exciting toilet post and honestly I’ve been putting off writing it but I think I have finished it anyway because my major take home was that the zoo is a good place to go if you happen to have agoraphobia and require bathrooms/hiding places/fresh air and autonomy. There are so few places we can go and feel safe so having one more secure venue identified might help someone with a group of teens who needs to organise a party (a balloonless party I might add) but knows that the obvious places are out due to the likelihood of having a panic attack and running away screaming and projectile vomiting.
I know how you feel, I’ve got your back.
If that party also happens to include a few people whom you hate but know HAVE to be there then mores the better because you might casually feed them to the tigers when no one is looking.
Cleanliness : 7/10 Pretty good for such a busy place. They weren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but you wouldn’t expect them to be would you? That is why roller-coasters have vinyl seats; for ease of puke-wiping.
Interior : 5/10 They were fine, had the basics and plenty of options but they were a bit boring inside over all. I would have liked to see the cool exterior themes carried over a bit. It was a bit like stepping inside the wardrobe, expecting to exit in Narnia but finding yourself in a poorly stocked Tesco’s minimart.
Exterior : 9/10 Lots of loos, cool decoration and really great cute signs. Parking was a bit of a bitch but that’s Auckland isn’t it.
Safety : 8/10 I like an entrance fee for lessening my chance of random stabbing or bother. It worked for me at the Colosseum in Rome to get away from the harmless but highly irritating hawkers, and it works in a place like this. Less people are going to pay the fee to come in and rob you than just wait in the park outside. On the whole it is a pretty safe place unless you have an issue with Big Brother watching over you.
Snugglitude : 7/10 I missed out on getting my face painted which was shitty but the Lemurs and Otters were pretty fucking cool.
Total : 36/50