Mara is sitting in her room with a heavy heart. For a long time, she has been looking forward to a visit to the Berlin Zoo. Mara loves animals more than anything, especially when they are still small and helpless. She likes to look at them - when they are sleeping, playing or eating. When they move clumsily or look like they want to conquer the world. Now Mara sadly stares out the window and quietly sighs: “What a shame!”
Then Mummy walks in. “Surprise!” she cries. “Come on, we are finally going to the zoo all together today!” “Great!” Mara excitedly screams and takes a few coins out of her piggy bank. She has saved her pocket money especially to buy food for the animals. That’s what you can do at the zoo.
Mara, Mummy and Daddy take their bikes and get on their way. Mara’s little sister Moni sits in the child seat. The sun is shining and Mara’s face is red with excitement. She can hardly wait. “How many animals are there at the zoo?” she cries “You’ll soon see!” replies Mummy.
As soon as they arrive at the zoo, Mara buys the food. She buys a bit more on purpose – for her little sister. “Great!” says Moni and grins broadly at Mara.
There is so much to see! Mara admires the elephants, giraffes, foxes, bears, monkeys and other animals. She is really enthusiastic: A visit to the zoo – what a great surprise! The cheeky brown monkeys are her favourites. They show daring tricks on swings or hide behind bags or scarves held in front of them.
One of the monkeys even shows Mara his tongue and she screams very loudly: “Eek that’s disgusting!” and starts to giggle. Suddenly Mara is startled again. Hang on, what’s that on her shoulder? The largest monkey is throwing banana peels and has hit Mara with one. “That’s not very nice Mr Monkey!” Mara shouts at the monkey and laughs out loud after she recovers from her shock.
Mara can hardly leave the compounds. But it is time to take a break at the playground and eat Mummy’s jam sandwiches. Mara cannot remember when she enjoyed them that much. “Tasty!” she calls out to her Mummy. “Fresh air does give you an appetite!” says Daddy and they start walking towards the polar bears.
But sometimes Mara gets a strong smell in her nose while walking through the zoo. It comes from the little souvenirs that the animals simply drop where they stand. People, on the other hand, go to the toilet. “Eeek, it really stinks here!” Mara bursts out. She suddenly has to hold her nose. “Does nobody clean here?” she asks, horrified. Mummy and Daddy laugh.
“The zookeepers look after the animals’ welfare according to their species, and they care for them and breed them” Mummy explains to her daughter. “When I’m older I also want to be a zookeeper “, Mara says proudly and looks at the zookeeper with appreciation while he cleans everything up.
On the way through the zoo Mara does not even notice how her parents and Moni keep making pictures with the animals. She does not realise that Mummy and Daddy want to surprise her once more tonight.
And last but not least there is the petting zoo that is loved not just by Mara but by Moni, too. Both scream with delight. They give the food that Mara bought to the little goats. In no time they are surrounded by curious and hungry little lambs. “This is fun!” cry Mara and Moni in unison.
In the meantime, it has become late and the sun is setting. A speaker announces to the visitors that the zoo will close in a few minutes. It is time for Mara and her family to say goodbye to the animals. “What a shame that the day is almost over already!” moans Mara and looks sadly into her little sister Moni’s eyes.
Mara is unhappy at having to leave, but at the same time she is happy about the beautiful day. She says: “Mummy and Daddy, thank you for the surprise! It was really animaltastic!” Her parents laugh.
At home, the family speak about the great experience at dinner.
Daddy takes time for Mara’s question of this morning, about how many animals live in the zoo and reads: “The Berlin Zoo is said to have the most species in the world and is home to more than 17,000 animals of almost 1,600 species.” “Wow! That’s a lot of animals that have to be cared for” says Mara and grins.
After Daddy has put his two daughters to bed, Mummy enters Mara’s room once more. She has something in her hand that she gives to Mara. It is a beautiful picture frame painted green. It holds a picture of Mara with the monkeys. Mara cheers for joy: “That is so pretty! Monkeys are my favourite animals and my favourite colour is green!
Brilliant, Mummy!” She looks gratefully at her mum. The picture is immediately hung on the wall above her bed, so that she will be able to remember this marvellous day every evening. Mara falls asleep happily tonight and dreams about funny adventures with the brown monkeys in the zoo.