Just a few days before I visited the amazing zoo in Dublin's Phoenix Park, a baby giraffe was born there. This huge and well-appointed facility contains a whole range of animals.
My afternoon walk took me through a few different climate zones. Under a cloudy sky, I strolled past the big cats, seeing tigers, lions and a close view of a sleeping snow leopard who looked a lot like our house cat, only he was bigger. (See picture below.)
On the way to the specially prepared habitat of the African Savanna, I encountered a heavy rainstorm. By the time I got close to the zebras, giraffes and rhinos, these animals had taken cover.
I pressed on to the gorilla rainforest, which seemed aptly named on that rain-soaked afternoon. Gorillas, including a big silverback with a reputation for being good with his fists, played around behind glass. A nice touch was the presence of moulded handprints from these primates. Chimp hands are so very similar to human ones.
Past a strange bird called the Abyssinian hornbill, I spotted the beautiful Eastern bongo, an antelope I'd neither seen nor heard of before.
By this time, the weather was improving. I paused to watch a magpie and a squirrel scavenging in a garbage can.
As I moved on, the sky cleared. By the time I got to the flamingos, the weather was brilliantly sunny. Quite literally, I'd been through several climates and seasons.
It was an unforgettable day: the brisk walk, the fresh air, the surrounding beauty of Phoenix Park with deep pink hawthorns in bloom and stands of huge green trees on the wide rolling lawns.
Left: Meercats watch patrons of the zoo cafe.
Below, a snow leopard takes an afternoon nap.