Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adventures at the Zoo

Peacock Feathers

We've been taking note each time we drive near a local zoo, and as it turns out after this week's adventure, it very much reminds me of an old saying; "You can't tell a book by its covers"...

Yes, that would be the saying I'm thinking of these days because every time we happen to drive by this quaint and seemingly "nothing" zoo, we still wondered what could be inside the fencing, what would we find living there exactly.

The past few weeks have seen great changes along the exterior fencing of the zoo. Throughout the winter months we noticed plenty of buffalo, a few horses, several deer, eland and zebras and not much else. Two weeks ago our daughter shouted from the rooftops when she counted three giraffes and we got a glimpse of many colorful flamingo in a fence opening area.

I had fun playing with my camera;
oodles of fun patterns & vibrant colors everywhere!

Many vehicles seemed to be parked outside the entrance to the zoo, as if very suddenly it flung open its doors opened for the summer season. And that is just what happened, very suddenly two weeks ago. On June 1, one could no longer travel along the road without counting many school buses parked in the allocated lot adjacent to the zoo customer parking stalls. It looked like a very busy place to visit, lots of people coming and going during all times of the day.

Curiosity got the better of most of us, so this week as promised we drove over to the little wee crummy looking zoo we'd noticed throughout the winter months and decided to remain open minded to what lay inside the unforeseen fencing.

Adventures at the Zoo

Immediately while standing in the line up to pay the cashier our entrance fees, I could tell this was not at all what we had assumed, rather I could sense it to be a sweet and precious "treasure trove" for future visits and nature science at its best.

Just as our older children had participated in many, many zoo expeditions, so too would our younger ones enjoy this experience awaiting us today. I could hear the announcer during the first show and all of the subsequent gasps of wonder to whatever he was showing from the mouth's of all present before him.

I was actually getting excited about this visit even before I paid. I glanced about for pricing information only to find single visit fees listed there. Nope I never saw a discount for AAA members anywhere either. I thought I would be brave and just go ahead and ask if there was such a thing as a season's pass. The woman smiled and nodded her head, affirming they offered those too.

When she mentioned the fees, I almost lost my marbles right then and there. Come again I thought, what did this woman just announce as the fee for an entire season's pass? Okay, I will admit it to you, that I had to contain myself because it seemed too good to be true. I almost lost control and clapped my hands. I wanted to jump up and down and do a silly "happy dance" there on the spot, but I re-checked my composure when I stepped forward to the till instead and in one fell swoop I simply reached for my wallet while attempting to maintain my cool and not smile until my cheeks hurt. How could I refuse to become a zoo member for such a deal as she had quoted to me? Woop, woop! For just under one hundred dollars, our entire family can visit this zoo for the next year as often as we would like, that's all six of us to be exact - such a deal! Parking fees were also included.

With napsacks on the children's backs, water bottles in tow, plus hats and jackets, we were prepared for a great day. Our young daughter had her camera and took many photos herself. Our son was thrilled with the mystery of this zoo resolved and while we continued round every bend and corner, more exotic and wild animals awaited our visit.

Naturally when able our preference is to take in the live shows and the one offered at present did not disappoint. From the show and tell of an ostrich egg to a handful of porcupine quills, touching the albino Burmese Python snake wrapped around one man's neck, a turtle, a large lizard, and then seeing a six week old ape, it was a definite learning experience for all the children present. Four elementary schools were present this same day, a day when we thought we would have rain descend upon us, but we were blessed instead with warm glorious weather and blue skies. It was perfect weather for such a day as this with lots of walking, lovely paths with shade to keep us tempered just right, and animal feed available at every turn just in case the children wished to purchase a handful to feed their favorite animals.

Did you know giraffes eat bananas? And the peels too?

Stay tuned as I share more with you on this topic because this is our kind of family entertainment folks! Not only does it cover entertainment value with our children singing, clapping and making body motions to inspire exotic birds to sing and dance with them, it also compliments all of our nature studies in progress quite nicely.

Animal books have spilled out all over table tops and every available surface as we identify all our quaint zoo has to offer for animal resource information. Next, the sketch books with come out and guess how our children will be filling their spare time in the days and weeks to come?

Don't you just love digital cameras? I think I controlled myself by snapping only, well, uh, two hundred or more photos this visit. LOL