The monkeys in the park today weren’t mine. For over thirty years, Launceston’s City Park has been home to a troop of close to 30 Japanese macaques — snow monkeys. Visiting the monkeys in the park makes me feel like we’ve entered a time warp that has taken us back to colonial times, like the society illustrated in one of our favourite children’s books.

City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
It's a beautiful sunny day when we enter City Park.

Monkey enclosure, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The enclosure is surrounded by colourful shrubs and blends into the park's landscape beautifully.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The monkey enclosure is a large, natural display surrounded by high glass walls.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The monkeys were originally a gift from the people of Ikeda, — Launceston's sister city in Japan.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
Some of the macaques pair up to groom each other, quickly eating any lice found in the body hair.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
These monkeys give birth in the early summer months, so we see three cute little babies with their mamas.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
This monkey is playing with some broken sunglasses that likely fell off someone's head as they looked into the enclosure.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
Those monkeys who want to retreat from the warm sun hang out in a cool cave-like recess, still visible to the watching public.

Watching the monkeys, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
Our friends Teena and Josh join us at the enclosure for a day in Launceston.

After watching the monkeys for about half an hour, we explored other features of the park. The girls were happy to be with Josh again, and Teena and I followed the children around as they explored the landscape.

City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
A bubble-wrap sky sits above us as we enjoy the warm day.

John Hart Conservatory, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
I think this building is a mausoleum or memorial of sorts before I read the signage labelling it a conservatory.

John Hart Conservatory, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
Inside, a magnificent collection of flowers are on display year-round.

Hydrangeas in the John Hart Conservatory, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The colours of these hydrangeas are manipulated by changing the acidity levels of their soil.

John Hart Conservatory, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
Delaney thinks the bright coleus leaf looks like fire.

Train playground, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
We reach the playground on the far side of the park, where the kids play on an old engine. Josh is disappointed that he can't explore its inner-workings.

Tasmanian tiger mosaic, City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
A large spiral decorated with mosaic links the Tasmanian tiger motif with a Chinese tiger design — a memorial to Launceston's relationship with their Chinese sister city Taiyuan.

Brioni, Aisha and Josh playing in City Park, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The kids follow the footprints around the spirals in an elaborate game that also involves not talking.

Lauren cuddling Delaney on the grass, January 2013
Dell and I cuddle for a while in the warmth of the sun.

After a picnic lunch, Teena and I decide to take our kids to the library. The facility was great, but as a visitor I had no idea where to park without paying for the privilege. The parking meters on the street only offered one-hour parking, which isn’t enough for a decent visit to the library!

Teena and Brioni at the library, Launceston, January 2013
Very soon, Brioni cuddles up to hear Teena read a story.

Reading books in the library, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
I love how Cali and Dell pair up so naturally!

Aisha and Lauren reading a book together, January 2013
Aisha asks me to read the classic story of sleeping beauty from a book of fairy-tales.

Reading a book to Delaney and Calista, January 2013
Later, Delaney brings a book to me that has caught her eye.

Brioni making a viking longboat, January 2013
In one corner of the library, children are working on craft projects. Brioni collects the materials together to make a viking longboat.

Reading to children, Launceston, Tasmania, January 2013
The secret to growing an audience is to make the book sound as exciting as any action movie the kdis have seen. They can't resist!

Reading to our girls, January 2013
This photo is a rarity — me with all four of my girls. We love books and stories and libraries are so much fun for us!

This prolonged stay in Launceston has given us the opportunity to explore more its attractions, and City Park and the library are both great places to take children. It’s a bonus that we got to do this with friends, too, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to spend more time with them.