Gettorf Zoo

Another week another trip. This week we did not go to Lübeck as planned but to Gettorf Zoo. The zoo is just 30 min away by car and truth to be told I have never been there before. I tried to remember whether I have visited that zoo before but it really seems that it is the only one in the whole area I have never been in. The zoo started as a private animal collection and was later opened in 1968. Ever since then the zoo has gotten bigger but still remains as a family business. They have a big focus on monkeys and on tropical birds. Especially the section with the tropical birds is very interesting as you can enter many of the bird aviaries.

King Julien is bored

Right after you enter the Zoo you can see how family friendly it is as there is already at the entrance a small playground. There are several playground spread all over the zoo area with one even having a section of a wooden castle for kids to climb on going inside a skunk cage! No the kids can not go directly into the skunk cage but the castle “paths” are just a meter above the enclosure. There are signs stating that the skunks spray their nice smelling odor very rarely but it could happen at any time and that they can spray over a distance of 3m. Thankfully nothing happened while Nathan was playing there but I didn’t take any chances and stayed far away from the skunks.

Does this parrot look like a toy?

The monkey enclosures are a bit different from the ones in other zoos I have visited as the smaller ones (such as the squirrel monkeys) can even leave their cage through pipes leading for example onto trees on the other side of the path. There in the trees they can climb around but they can not get down as there is a metal disk around the tree half way down. Besides those pipes there is even one bird hall where White-faced Sakis can walk freely around. As mentioned before you can enter several of the bird aviaries with all kind of different species within. At first we didn’t notice that you can enter until we saw some kids hand-feeding budgies in one of the aviaries. The birds are rather used to people walking around (you are only allowed to walk on the paths to give the animals the possibility to get some rest in other parts of the aviaries) as you can hand-feed several of them and even touch them. One African Grey Parrot was so tame that MIL thought at first that it was a toy!

One of the many butterflies

In the Tropic Hall is a special program for the past few summers. This special is called “Butterly Magic” and is an enclosure you can walk through with hundreds of butterflies within. In fact there are so many that they even land on you when you stand still for a few minutes. My wife loved it until I told her that there must be also tons of caterpillars around…suddenly she wasn’t so fond of staying there any longer. MIL didn’t even care about the butterflies as she was more focused on making monkey sounds whenever we passed by a monkey enclosure.

This fellow was annoyed by MIL

Even though this Zoo has such a high variety of animals it is much smaller than the Zoo we have here in my hometown. It does not feel even small as all over the place are enclosures, playgrounds and other points of interest which makes the visit really interesting. Besides that the entrance fee is also pretty low at 10 Euros for an adult. We all enjoyed our visit at Gettorf Zoo and will definitely go back there again this summer with or without MIL. Especially Nathan loves the Zoo, not so much because of the animals but because of the many different playgrounds.

Have you visited a Zoo where you can entere certain animal enclosures?

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Fun at the family themepark Tolk-Schau

Last week I mentioned already that we would visit a theme park soon. That visit actually happened just few days after writing that blog post. We had one of those rare sunny days here in North Germany and instead of visiting Lübeck we settled on going to the theme park. It was a wonderful day though it started not so well and ended very sad but more about that later.

Slides connecting different parts of the park

Right in the morning we had a doctor appointment for Nathalie for one of the first check-ups. Usually I would have gone with them as well but one of our bunnies was not feeling so well so I went with her to the  veterinarian. After getting home I gave the bunnies fresh food and water and left to pick up the rest of the family from the doctor. Due to the veterinarian visit we were running already a bit late so we arrived in Tolk-Schau shortly before 1pm.

#Nathancuty on one of the extreme rides

The park was full considering that the summer holidays hadn’t started yet in our province at that time. Nathan was so excited when he saw all the amusement rides. The theme park is family oriented and kids his age can go to nearly all rides as there are no “extreme” ones such as big rollercoasters. There were only a few which he couldn’t go to as they were age 7+. The kids can go to simple small slides, big carpet slides, take a small train around the park area, a family rollercoaster, trampoline areas,  information areas regarding dinosaurs and much more. Needless to say that MIL could be found in many amusement rides as well, most of the time not standing in line and just entering the ride while kids were waiting for their turn…

Beautiful wild growing flowers

In case you get hungry you can have a quick meal in the park, nothing fancy but good enough and cheap. The theme park does not have a proper restaurant because of one simple reason: you can rent BBQ huts! We did not rent ourselves one this time but we will do so for the next visit. I must say you get very hungry when going around the park and smell some delicious BBQ from different huts. When I was younger and went there with some friends they often rent those huts. Not only can you prepare yourself food there but it is a perfect place to have a “base” to return to and store all the things you don’t want to carry around whole day.

View on the summer toboggan

All in all Tolk-Schau is perfect for kids till the age of 12. I myself enjoyed the park a lot in my youth  till I was 14. Here is a little video I found the park on youtube. It was a great day for us there and even my wife tried some of the amusement rides however she was even scared of the small family rollercoaster. This is a bit surprising as back in the day when we just started dating we went to a theme park in Helsinki and tried out all the rollercoasters there! In the end of the day Nathan was so tired that he fell asleep immediately after getting to the car. The day would have been wonderful except that it ended in a very sad way. When we got home my wife found our poor bunny dead in the cage. At least that little animal didn’t have to suffer too much in the end as she got at the veterinarian an injection against the pain. Now we have only one bunny and she is very passive these days, not entering the area of the cage at all where her sister had died.

Have you been to a “family” theme park before?

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Plans for the rest of the Year

Over half of the year 2017 is over and much has already happened. Untill the birth of our daughter in May we were very busy trying to “stabilising” our little business. From January till the beginning of May we were investing so much time into our business that we had no time to do anything else. We did not travel anywhere, we didn’t visit any neighbouring towns, we did not even go shopping or eating in some nice restaurant (with the exception of birthdays and the weekend Family Gathering in March).

Basically all we did was work and spend the little free time with Nathan. Due to our work we do not even have any free weekends which can be sometimes very hard when the work seems to have no end. By the time our baby girl was born we had reduced the workload already in order for my wife to find some rest. However it was just reduced workload and thus just two days after Nathalie was born I started working again. Now two months after our family grew by one we started to wonder what we can do to enjoy life a bit more once again after those hard months.

Lübeck in 2015

No, we won’t have any big travels planned such as last year. However we have some smaller trips planned already within Germany. For one we want for Nathan to have some more fun by going to a little theme park in the next few weeks. That theme park is perfect for little kids like him as he can pretty much go into every amusement ride as there aren’t any “wild” ones and there is also a deer park! Besides the theme park we will go to a few cities this summer such as revisiting Lübeck and Flensburg for some day trips. In August we have then our “biggest” trip which will lead us to the dark East of Germany.

Lübeck will be lovely to revisit

That big trip developed only because I got an invitation for a Class reunion from my high school in Chemnitz (East Germany). As my wife had no interest in going there at all just for some reunion I had to come up with some plan. So now we will be driving first to Quedlingburg which is a very old town first mentioned in the records in 922 AD. The old town, the church and the castle are on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994. I was there already once back in 1994 or 1995 with my parents and brother but I do not remember much of it anymore. There we will stay for one night right in the historic old town and then on the following day travel to Chemnitz. Except meeting with some friends and then having later on the reunion I have not planned anything yet. The problem for me with Chemnitz is just that I have no clue what to visit there even though I lived there for two years from 2005-2007.

My father on his way to his old home in 1991

In the late summer we will be trying to travel for a weekend to Poland to revisit my father’s birthplace Kołczewo on the Island Usedom. That trip will be especially important for my father as he had revisited that place only twice before, both between 1990 and 1991.He has not much memories from that place as he was very young when his family had to flee back in 1945 and become refugees till settling down in my hometown (they were living in camps for the first few years here). After that trip we will have only a few more day trips in mind. For us it is only important to get out of the daily routine from time to time. Next year shall be different again for us and I will write about it at some point towards the end of this year.

1990 My father carrying me in front of the old family house. The child standing there belongs to the “new” residents, let’s see if they are still there this year

What are your plans for the second half of 2017?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

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My crazy Chinese Family I married into…