We have been trying to get to the “zoo” for six months now. David and I have been living in the theme-park-centre of Australia for nine years now, yet we haven’t been to any of the parks. Some of it is because we think they’re over-priced, and some of it is that the main-stream entertainment options just don’t appeal to us.

However, occasionally half-price vouchers become available, and so I decided that we should try to get to Seaworld to mark Aïcha’s 3rd birthday. (Actually, I wanted to go before she turned three, as she would have received free entry.) However, David’s work just didn’t fit in with the timing, so our visit was delayed until today.

Because we didn’t have any experience from other theme parks, I think I was expecting a small sort of aquatic zoo that we would wander through before getting back home in time for David to do some more renovations work. However, we were busy having such a good time that we didn’t leave until closing time.

We actually went on the same day as two other families, but apart from two brief encounters, we just couldn’t make our other rendezvous because it was too hard to pull ourselves away from whatever was keeping our interest at the time!

Aïcha spent the whole day asking lots of questions, and David (to his surprise) enjoyed himself tremendously. We have already talked about going back — that’s how good it was. Here are some photos from our day out.

Aïcha, 3yo, + David, June 2008
The Skyway was a gentle introduction to the park. Aisha was very reluctant to get on it and was adamant that it wasn't fun until she became distracted by the sights. By the time the ride ended, Aisha was in the right frame of mind to enjoy the rest of the park.

David, Brioni, 22 months, + Aïcha, 3yo, June 2008
First encounter with a dugong. We visited the park on a very quiet day, so many of the exhibits were deserted, giving us a great view with no hassles!

Aïcha, 3yo, Lauren, + Brioni, 22 months, June 2008
Here's a picture to keep just for embarrassing Aisha when she's older.

Aïcha, 3yo, + Brioni, 22 months, + Lauren, June 2008
We had just witnessed a helicopter taking off at close quarters before the girls got to ride in their own "helicopter".

Brioni, 22 months, Lauren, + Aïcha, 3yo, June 2008
For once, David had control of the camera, so here's me and two of my girls.

Aïcha, 3yo, + David, June 2008
The shark aquarium was David's favourite exhibit.

Brioni, 22 months, June 2008
Brioni's highlight was eating ice cream. Watching the fish in the great aquarium was fascinating entertainment for all of us, and I can understand why people set up their own fish tanks as TV-substitutes.

Dolphin at Seaworld
While Brioni napped in the pram, Aisha and David got really close to the dolphins at two different shows. We've always taken a matter-of-fact approach of explaining everything to Aisha, so she now understands that dolphins breath out of the top of their head.

David on the Pirate Ship
David didn't let go of his hold on the bars throughout the ride on the rocking ship, but he was *much* braver than me. I used the excuse of holding the baby to wuss my way out of any scary rides.

David on the roller coaster
David even tried out the roller coaster, which was pretty scary, but very short.

Aïcha, 3yo, + Brioni, 22 months, June 2008
By the end of the day, as other families were leaving the park, Brioni was rejuvenated by a nap and Aisha was still going strong, so we went on all the kiddie rides without having to wait in line.

David + girls, June 2008
Aisha chose to ride in the red airplane. The kiddie section of the park was themed as Sesame Street Beach, but Aisha didn't pick up on any of the characters. I've never introduced her to any Disney or TV characters, and I don't allow books from merchandising into the house, so the girls remain completely innocent.

David + Brioni, 22 months old, June 2008
Even after going through the whole park with us, Brioni thought the best ride of the day was on Daddy's shoulders.