Field Trip: Johannesburg Zoo – Animals of the Amazon

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I took the children on a little field trip, during Noo’s school holidays, to the Johannesburg Zoo on Tuesday.

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We usually walk the same path every time, but this time I decided that we were going to walk a completely different route to what we usually do and boy and I glad we did.

We started out at the owls, Pixie and my favourite bird.

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Laughing Kookaburra

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We spent the better part of the morning learning all bout Amazon creatures. They have a new, permanent, exhibit called “Animals of the Amazon“. Its a fairly new exhibit and the kids LOVED looking at the spiders, snakes, frogs (these can’t be my kids, I have Ophidiophobia – snake phobia and Batrachophobia – frog phobia), fish in the aquarium with a tunnel, bats, Tamarins, Puma, Armadillo and Ringtailed Coati…

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COLOURFUL and captivating animals from the Amazon Basin made their debut appearance at the Joburg Zoo in the brand-new Animals of the Amazon exhibit on Thursday, 24 April.

The animals include the gigantic yellow anaconda, Amazon tree boa constrictors, Honduran milk snakes, curly-hair tarantulas, Costa Rican tiger rump spiders, green iguana, Seba-short tailed bats, freshwater fish, and primates from central and South America.

The Amazon Basin, covering areas in Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, is home to a number of these species.

The Animals of the Amazon Exhibit is housed in a two-storey building built to resemble an ancient Mayan temple; the enclosures include a dome-shaped freshwater aquarium with a walk-through tunnel.

The Mayans were keen scientists and their descendants still live in the Amazon Basin area today. To evoke the ethos of the Mayans’s art and architecture, the enclosures have been decorated with crafted rocks and trees indigenous to the Amazon Basin. Walking through the exhibit is sure to have visitors imagining they’re exploring the Basin itself.


I have never seen my kids so taken by an exhibit at the zoo. They have very friendly guides that give you more information on the animals. I didn’t take any photos of the aquarium, I was to taken by the tunnel and the fish seemingly swimming around us.


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Basilisk Lizard
Yup, a Basilisk is a large lizard, not a snake. Who knew?

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Fake Water Cobra

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We saw a little anaconda and around the corner was a big anaconda which reared its head out of the water when Noo put his face to the glass. He got such a fright and had us all rolling with laughter.

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We, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask, LOL), only got to see 2 frogs as it was cold and frogs burrow undergrounds to keep warm.

Blue Dart Frog

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Cane Toad *shudder*

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They have both Fruit and Short Tailed Bats here. I’m not sure which is which. Pixie loved watching them fly around their little makeshift cave.

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Ringtailed Coati
The armadillos were burrowed underground, so we didn’t get to see one. We’ll need to go back during summer to see them.

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After finishing up at the Animals of the Amazon exhibit, we walked through the rest of the zoo to look at the animals.

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The children love wild animals and this was a real treat for them.

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We missed the Polar Bear feeding by all of 5 minutes. By the time we got there, they had eaten all their fish, bar one that was still in the water. This bear was basking in the warm sun, fast asleep.

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This enclosure is, by far, the smelliest at the zoo.

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Pixie’s favourite, the Zebra.

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African Lions.

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White African Lions.

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We learned about the animal food chain.

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Ground Squirrels.

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And of course a visit to the zoo wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Elephant.

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We found King Julian the Ring Tailed Lemur.

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