Ella celebrated her 6th birthday with some of her school friends at Reptiles Inc yesterday morning. It was a cool rainy morning, heralding the first day of winter for us, so the first thing on the agenda was to check out the frill neck and blue tongue lizards in their glass sided enclosure - feeling much warmer than us under their special sunlamps.
Pete at Reptiles Inc puts on a great show for the kids. He's funny, informative, passionate about reptiles, yet very good at making all the kids feel like it's important to know about reptiles and their role in the environment.
Things started gently enough with a close look at a blue tongue lizard - a reptile Ella is already very familiar with - from playing in our garden.
And turtles are always very benign to handle.
But saltwater crocs are another proposition altogether - even a tiny baby croc like this one was.
I thought Ella was really brave handling this one even though she looked a bit dubious at times (Pete had its jaws very firmly (but gently) clamped in his hand while ever the kids were handling it).
None of the kids were at all troubled by the appearance of the snakes (they were only pythons after all). As the birthday girl Ella had the opportunity to have a very close up encounter with the Tiger Python.
And nobody minded being in this group shot with the magnificent Olive Python...
Goannas were next..first a huge and scary looking Sand Goanna and then this cute little fellow with the distinctive blue tongue which Ella was encouraged to hold like a baby (to make it feel safe and warm!) as she took it around the group for a closer look.
Abi missed most of the show as she was enjoying a cosy snooze in the arms of her Mum. She woke up in an excellent mood ready to see what the big kids were doing, and more importantly, get her share of the added salt and added sugar items on the birthday party menu (first taste opportunity for her - and YUM! - she decided).
Ella provided me with the challenge of making a Lizard Cake (with co-ordinating cupcakes) for the party - but it had to be pink. As is my habit I had the cake baking and construction pretty well planned but doing the icing the same day as the party (so it's fresh) I often end up in a bit of a rush so my birthday cakes can look a bit "rustic" (IMO). This pink lizard was no exception, although my cupcakes looked quite fun I thought!
Anyway Ella seemed happy with the outcome - and the cake is always cut up and very quickly demolished anyway!
I love watching Ella interacting with her friends from school. They're are a bunch of sweeties this lot!
As is this birthday girl.
Ella asked to come home "to play with us" after the party. We spent a lovely few hours with her playing Monopoly (Ella's request) and eating Rob's popcorn while the rain persisted outside.