The zoo was just too much to see in one day. While we made it through most of the zoo on Wednesday, we ran out of time before visiting Africa…and you can’t miss Africa at a zoo! That would mean missing my favorite animal of all — the giraffe!
So on Sunday we made impromptu plans for a quick jaunt to the zoo to see Africa.
Zoo Trip #2
Dee, soaking wet, posing in front of Lowry Park’s signature manatee statue
(The children were glad because the “teacher” in me chose to make the zoo even more educational by printing off scavenger hunt forms for my “students” to complete. While completely optional, I did mention that if they completed their forms they could earn a little prize. Our return trip afforded them that opportunity to complete the forms. :))
Upon entering the zoo, we were greeted by a worker carrying this beautiful barn owl. She explained that the zoo obtained the bird after it had been confiscated from someone who had attempted to raise it as a pet! (Who DOES that?) Having been in captivity, the bird had not learned the proper hunting and survival skills, thus needs to spend the duration of her life in captivity.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t very crowded for a Sunday, which made for a very pleasant day. While checking out some of the African birds, we were approached by an off-duty docent who gave us some interesting information regarding the resident shoebill storks.
Apparently, a couple of years ago, a pair of shoebills built a nest in the camel pen. She described how the two parents took turns caring for the egg, then of the baby, once the egg hatched. The baby has been raised by the parents at the zoo, and was the first of its kind to be born in captivity in the United States, so it was quite a (rare) occasion. She then pointed us to a spot where this pair has recently prepared another nest.
Due to lots of mating activity, and very close attention to the nest, it is believed/hoped that there will be another egg in the very near future.
As I mentioned, the giraffe is my favorite animal — and Dee is pretty fond of it herself, so I was looking forward to my 2 year old daughter getting to experience feeding this fantastic creature for the first time. But it wasn’t to be. This giraffe chose not to eat at the time because he was already helping himself to a snack.
So I took Dee on a camel ride instead, which she thoroughly enjoyed!
Some of Dee’s other Favorites:
She was amused to see a “monkey eating salad”
Meerkat (or “Meera-kat”, as she called it)
The scorching African…uh…Florida heat soon caught up with us, so we headed once again to the splash area and log rides to cool off. Immediately upon our getting drenched, the sky opened up and an utter downpour began, signaling it was time to go home. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect though (except to begin a few minutes earlier ;)) The rain began just after we had completed our zoo expedition and the children completed their worksheets.