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SPEC (South Pacific Educational Courses) trip to Paradise Valley Springs

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On Tuesday 13 April we packed into the school vans and drove to Rotorua. In SPEC we are doing a module called 'Kiwi Icons' so we went to see the animals and native New Zealand trees that were there.

The first place we visited was the lions to watch them feed. There were two lions and five lionesses. Two of them were in the cage because they had been fighting. When we saw the enclosure it looked too little for seven lions but the lion keeper told us that the size of the enclosure matches the territory that seven lions would have in the wild. He also told us they were not soft and fluffy even though you just wanted to cuddle them. Zander, the dominant male, looked like the lion from 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Zander was also pacing up and down the fence line eyeing up some of the students. They must have looked tasty!  Another interesting fact was that the zoos in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton no longer have any lions. This meant that it was difficult to breed lions anymore and the lion keeper assured us they wouldn’t breed unless they had a really good home to go to.

Next we moved into the park to go and see the rest of the animals. We had our tour guide, Mr Shelduck, who wobbled around with us, showing the way. Some of the animals scared people, like the cheeky kea and the very friendly, googly eyed goat, some made us go ‘ohhhhhh’ like the piglets and the baby twin alpacas and lots of students adored the miniature donkey and pony. We also got to walk around the treetop loop to see some ferns, punga, kahikatea and kauri.

There was a crystal clear spring that we walked beside with lots and lots of trout in it. There was one pool where they were moving around in circles. At lunchtime a piwakawaka came fluttering by our table. We were so lucky to actually see the animals and trees that we had been learning about. We had such an amazing time.