Bali Safari and Marine Park- Everything but the elephants…

Pictures of Animals! Almost as good as the real thing!

On our last day in Bali, we ventured out to Bali Safari and Marine Park. It was our latest pick-up thus far for excursions outside Nusa Dua, so it was a welcome day for a little sleeping in. Because we booked our safari online, we received free shuttle service to the park, which is totally worth it for those in Nusa Dua. Our driver was ready to take us home afterwards as well, so it worked out really well. Our day started on a sour note once we arrived at the park. We exchanged our vouchers for wristbands and then we were going through a bag check prior to entering the park, when the security lady took away ALL OF OUR WATER AND SNACKS. Except for Landon’s sippy cup. We were like, “Wait a second, those are for our young, snack-eating child.” She explained that no outside food and water are allowed, and that we could purchase snacks inside. Only baby food was allowed. That sucked because we never know when Landon will get a little hungry and want a snack. We also knew that this was the most touristy place we were going, so the food prices would be similarly marked up like Disneyland. Annoyed, but still excited for the day, we entered the park.

Gamelaners
There was a lobby and bathrooms by the entrance, but to get to the rest of the park we took a bus from the welcome area back to the actual park. There were different performers there waiting for tourists to come, and Landon loved the picture of the elephant and other animals. We had a hard time pulling him away to go see real animals. 
Big Fishy
Warrior performance

In the main welcome area of the main part of the park is this big room where a dance performance was going on when we were looking at the aquarium. It featured more Balinese dancing like we had already seen before, but this time with a scary man character and soldiers. Of course, there was some gamelan backing them up as well. It was fun to watch, but also added to the canned tourist experience that Austin and I usually try to avoid. In the main welcome area of the main part of the park is this big room where a dance performance was going on when we were looking at the aquarium. It featured more Balinese dancing like we had already seen before, but this time with a scary man character and soldiers. Of course, there was some gamelan backing them up as well. It was fun to watch, but also added to the canned tourist experience that Austin and I usually try to avoid.

Lemon fish eating breakfast
Staring down the piraricu
Stand-off ended. At some point Austin and I teased Landon that the fish
would eat him…
Waiting for an anti-climactic piranha feeding

The first area after going into the park that we visited was the fresh water aquarium. As far as aquariums go, this one was pretty small, but had interesting fish from all over the world, including piranhas and Pirarucu- the biggest fish in the Amazon river. My favorite fish were simply called (or translated) as lemon fish. I had never seen any fish like them before, and they were bright yellow. We had a schedule of feedings and animal shows so we stuck around the aquarium for the piranha feeding. There was a big crowd gathered and I was expecting to see something amazing. The aquarium keeper put a whole chicken in the water (plucked) on a hook, and the piranhas came and took a little bite and then swam off. Talk about anti climactic. At least they are well-fed piranhas!

Balinese architecture near the animal show
Going further into the park… Balinese architecture and shrines/temples
Javanese Leopard
Off the main entrance were a few animal exhibits, including the Javanese leopard. This was one scary cat, and it was pacing when we were watching it. I read somewhere that these leopards still live on Nusa Kambangan, which is where we hiked through the jungle a few weeks earlier. I’m glad we didn’t run into this guy!
From there we made our way further into the park to the picture with the orangutan. This ape was very mild mannered and not at all camera shy. It was a once in a lifetime experience to hold an ape, so we went for it even though I felt sad for the poor animal for having to sit there all day taking pictures with tourists. Austin mainly held the ape and I held Landon, but we both got to feel the fur. It felt like human beard hair, and the arms felt strangely human with just long hair. It was interesting to say the least. We actually got better pictures on our camera than on the professional’s camera. This was a big plus for the park- they had a camera, but there were a couple other guys on hand that offered to take pictures on our camera as well. We had two free animal pictures, though, and we had a lady at church highly recommend getting the picture with the orangutan because it is a big deal for kids looking back and seeing that!
Hornbill
Binturong
After the cute orangutan experience, we went to the animal show. I was expecting an animal show like animal shows in the United States with very few animals, but a lot of good information about them. This was the opposite. It was more like a “show” like for entertainment vs. education. They had the birds flying in from over our heads, and most of the animals just sprinted across the stage once. They had an orangutan that was trained to bring out a sign that said when the show was starting and he also danced and balanced on one leg. The birds section was interesting because they had some hornbills and a sea eagle, whose wingspan was very long. They also had a pair of binturongs, an interesting animal that looked kind of like a small bear with a prehensile tail. Again, very canned and high energy with loud music playing at times. Not really my thing, but Landon was interested as long as we supplied him with $1/small cups of popcorn. He went through two. 
Balancing orangutan
Next, we went to watch the elephants take a bath. There were two elephants in a pool close by, but the crowd was a little crazy, so after a few minutes and the beginning of a rainstorm, we got out of there to see the Komodo dragons and the white tigers. These were stand-alone exhibits in the park. 
I’m slightly sad they didn’t have pictures with the Komodo dragons… NOT

White tigers just chillin

Komodo Island is part of Indonesia and is not that far away, so it was fitting that they had quite a few Komodo dragons at their park. The white tigers were hanging out under a shady pavilion the entire time, so we didn’t get to see them really up close. There was a viewing platform under the pavilion, but the pavilion floor itself wasn’t glass so that if they were laying on top of it, you couldn’t see them doing anything. We went down to check out the underground viewing area, and Landon said there were rhinos in the darkish hallways. There were two hallways, and not very many people were around, so Austin went down one hallway and Landon and I went down another. Austin started making rhino noises, and the look on Landon’s face was priceless! He was so scared! I said, “Landon, let’s go see what is making that noise!” and he said, “NO! MOM! RHINOS!” And I said, “Let’s go check it out!” and he was very scared and wanted me to hold him. We got close to where the two hallways converged and Austin jumped out making a rhino noise and Landon was very freaked out, but also got the joke and was amused a moment later after the shock wore off. It ended up being quite hilarious. On a different note, I’m not sure why Landon thinks rhinos live in dark hallways. Hmm…

Still amused from our run-in with the “rhino”

I’m covering all the different activities we did with elephants in a different post. There were two types of safaris offered at the park. The first was a 30 minute tour by little bus, that drove through the animals’ exhibits. We went on this one first. The second was the elephant back safari, which we went on later. The bus safari was really interesting! It is a whole different experience to be in a safe place and get to drive very close to a cheetah, or a tiger, or a baby lion. I slapped the zoom lens on and was able to get some good shots of all the different animals. There was a tour guide in front giving us little tidbits of information about the animals, and pointing them out to us. Landon had a lot of fun just being in the bus, but also liked watching all the different animals. My favorite were the hippos. The bus when through water a few times, and one of those times was to get really close to the hippos, which were fighting almost all the way submerged underwater. It was hard to get a good shot with my zoom lens because they were too close to the bus!

Baby lion
Barbary sheep- interesting hair!

Sun bear

Cheetah!
African cow
Tapir- did a report on these guys once, I don’t think
I’ve seen one, at least with this coloring!

Camels
I love giraffes!
Did not quite catch the name of this large African animal…
Look at the zebras fighting in the background!
White spotted deer- they were tiny!
Big daddy orangutan posing for me
Hippo! Very close to us!
Rhinos and zebras!
This was just a picture taking spot, not the actual safari vehicle
I was very impressed with the variety of animals we were able to see in just a short bus ride. It was also cool to hear a few facts about the animals from the tour guide, although he was limited in time because he spoke in English, and then again in Indonesian. I liked this set up better than a normal zoo because the habitats were bigger and less contrived- so I felt like perhaps the animals had a better life than normal zoo animals? I don’t know. It kind of felt like a real African safari or something. I guess that’s why it is called a safari park…
Touching the iguana

A petting zoo area was just calling Landon’s name. I was unimpressed because it was not a petting zoo in the normal sense. They had pens with guinea pigs, rabbits, goats- you know, typical petting zoo animals. There were pony rides for a fee. But there were no keepers there to help kids pet the animals, and so we just kind of looked at them. There were chickens wandering about, but honestly we see that every day in Cilacap so that was not a novel thing. They did have an iguana to touch with a keeper, so that was pretty cool. Landon was all for it and then at the last moment was scared to actually touch, but like a good mother I made him do it anyway.

Cool surroundings in the lion restaurant

After the safari, we decided to look for some lunch. Our elephant back safari was not until three, and I wanted Landon to eat and take a nap prior to that time so he could enjoy it to the fullest. We went to the Tsavo Lion restaurant and ordered some not Indonesian food. I planned on sharing a quesadilla with Landon, but he was getting less and less manageable as we waited for food so I took him for a walk outside to try to get him to sleep. It magically worked and Austin and I were able to enjoy a quiet lunch looking out at the male lions looking at us and just enjoying some Landon-free time.

roof of the lion restaurant
Landon is ready for nap…
Landon before nap
See the lions in the background?

Lunch with the lions looking at us. 
During lunch it started pouring rain! We waited as long as we could before venturing out to make it to our elephant ride. Stay tuned for the next post that will cover all things elephant at the park. 
Temple complex on our way out
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