WOW! Did we have an AMAZING day today! A month or so ago I got back in touch with a childhood friend of mine. We kept updated on each other through our parents, but havent talked in 12 years. We found each other online..I so love Facebook! She is a Zoologist and said next time we are in town to let her know and she will give us a behind the scenes look at the zoo. Today I had to drive my sister in law back home...I picked her up yesterday, we saw Morrissey last night (great show) and she needed to be back today. After dropping her off we headed over to meet my friend.
It was wonderful seeing her again. I thought she would show us around a bit, but WOW she went above and beyond! First she took us to look at some Ostrich..they are so tall! The kids learned how Ostrich will kick, they are really dumb, and when excited or mad they run around flapping their wings in a weird dance. We were only separated by a chain link fence.
She also cares for the Lions. She called for them, and they came inside, she unlocked the door, and there they were....two HUGE Lions. My kids walked in, and we just stood there looking at these incredibly beautiful but HUGE animals. Again, we were separated by a fence...granted a very very very sturdy one. All of a sudden the lioness got upset at her brother...so she roared at him and whacked him across the head...she wanted the treats my friend was giving him. My kids RAN out of there...I followed Eli and Gwen were ok, and went right back in...poor Add was FREAKED out. It took awhile for him to recover from the surprise of that.
I went in to see them again, and just marvelled at how large they really are. Their heads came up to my waist and they are so long.
I had to think about a favorite picture I had when I was a child...it was a painting of Heaven, and depicted children playing with the animals, and a little girl on a lion's back...I always wanted to be her. :-)
Then in order to help Add calm down we looked at some antelope in their stalls. Past that were the Giraffes. My friend brought out some giraffe nuggets, and the kids got to feed them. One licked me...they have very long raspy tongues. They were so sweet, and had the goofiest faces. We all fell in love.
Add was sufficiently settled..he was really shaken up, so she took us to the Zoo Veterinary hospital. There the kids were able to pet a snake, and a Galapagos Tortoise (they are HUGE too!) We looked at a kangaroo who needed some dental work, two grumpy looking Pallas Cats, an Anteater who was new to the zoo...she came to be the girlfriend of the existing anteater. She was sleeping in a dog crate..looked at us, and stuck her very long tongue out. They had two wolves in the clinic, and they were terrified of us, but it was great being able to see them so close up!
Then it was time for her to show us her true loves...the Black Rhinos. Again..they were HUGE! The male rhino peed on everything and nearly got us at one point. She gave the kids sweet potato pieces and they fed them.
It was such a cool day! When we got home, we went straight to the library. The kids found books about a lot of the animals we saw today because they wanted to know more. I already have several uses for our excursion..language arts: reading books about the animals, writing a thank you card, writing a short report about one of the animals...(course it all ties into science.) Making a notebook with facts, etc.
The one thing Im kicking myself about is not having charged my camera battery, so I only got photos with my phone.
Here is what I got!
Feeding the Rhino
Feeding the Giraffe
Add feeding Rhino
Eli standing in front of the lion..it is such a weird angle, and she looks little, but she was the size of a small horse! LOL! Eli said after we left that when I took this picture he was a little scared she would make that big noise again. We were all VERY impressed with how FAST lions can be, and how loud. Her poor brother got a nasty cut on his nose, and looked rather sheepish...if a lion CAN look sheepish.
Add feeding the giraffe