Thailand: Monkeys, Snakes, Tigers, & Orchids

We decided to go to Monkey School today and the driver said that the snake farm, Tiger Kingdom, and an orchid farm were also nearby so we should do them all. We agreed and set out for the monkey school first. I had suggested these things to the kids with some hesitation: the idea of some of these places seems "wrong" but then also this is how these people earn their livings. There are many things I could say here, but I'm going to try to just leave it at the level of documenting our family vacation...

Monkey School: When we arrived, the lady asked the kids if they wanted to feed a baby monkey a bottle of milk. Henry did not, but the girls loved it. Then we saw a few gibbons and they asked if we wanted to feed the monkeys. We bought a basket of fruit and we were led to an area where the monkeys were tied to posts with a short chain and you were to toss the food at the monkeys. This part was really hard for me. I really wanted to walk out and leave! We did stay for the "show." The monkeys (and members of the audience) did some silly tricks all while on a leash (I found this interesting because at the Singapore Zoo, the animals in the show we saw there did not have leashes and I wonder why each place is the way it is). At one point the monkey came around and looked into your eyes with a basket, an umbrella, and a sign, and put its hand on your knee! I was not expecting this and it took all I had to not freak out. The monkey did not put its hand on the kids until Anna lifted her skirt just enough for her knee to show and then the monkey did put its hand on her knee. Sarah actually moved up to the top row of bleachers away from us to make sure the monkey didn't touch her! The monkey's hand was cool and limp but by the third time this happened, I got fairly used to it (still would have preferred it didn't happen though!).

Snake Farm: This was Sarah's idea. Henry & I sat on the top row of bleachers for this (he was seriously freaked out and I contemplated taking him out of the area completely but we would have had to walk right past the stage and I didn't know if he could handle it). Craig & the girls sat in the middle row and Anna & Sarah pet a couple of the snakes. Somehow, I didn't feel bad at all about the snakes living at the snake farm like I did for the monkeys at monkey school.

Tiger Kingdom: I initially did not want to go here at all but this was the one Anna was most excited about. I partly didn't want to go because I didn't want to be eaten or have anyone in my family eaten by a tiger and also partly because I had heard that they drug the tigers and it all seemed so unethical. I guess this was my day without ethics though and I had already seen the monkey school, I might as well compare Tiger Kingdom to that! Tiger Kingdom was a really nice facility. We paid to go in only with the littlest tigers (I believe you have to be an adult to go in with the adult tigers anyway, so it was never an issue to let the kids go in with the adult tigers). While we waited for our 15-minute turn, we were able to watch the people in the adult tiger area and there was one tiger who was passed out in the corner, but two others we were active. There is no way I would have been in there with them walking around and playing with each other the way they were! I was convinced we were about to witness a mauling. I can't figure out how the tigers are not eating people. Obviously they are well-fed and they are well-cared for, but I still don't get it! Anyway, the tiger cubs were adorable. Henry said he didn't want to pet them when Anna & Sarah went for it, but when I went to the tiger cub, my little shadow jumped on my lap and happily pet the tiger. He is such a goofball! In the end, I liked Tiger Kingdom the most of the three animal places we visited but I'm not sure it's something I would recommend for anyone to do if that make sense.

Orchid Farm: We ate lunch at the orchid farm and it was another really good meal (buffet style so we all could get just what we wanted). If I had been there alone, I'm sure I would have taken 1,000 pictures of orchids but I'm pretty sure I'll be fine with the few that I took and not miss the rest!

After this touring we went back to the hotel and just rested until dinner time (pizza tonight). We wanted to be sure we all got lots of good rest tonight so that we are ready for our big elephant day tomorrow!

January 2013

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