It’s been a few years since we have been to the zoo, and our youngest has been eager to go and see real animals up close. He was super excited about the lions and tigers. He’s been asking for several months if we could go to the zoo. I thought fall would be a nice time as it wouldn’t be too hot. I was hopeful we could see animals being more active than in the summer months that we typically visit.
We planned to go on Columbus Day since we didn’t have school. When I saw the forecast for clouds and rain, I wondered if we should try for a different day. But, we decided to go ahead as planned.
When we first got there it started really down pouring and part of me questioned our decision. But the radar showed the down pour would pass, so we grabbed our umbrellas and proceeded.
I was eager to see the panda bears. We also added elephants and zebra to the list. I recall at our last visit they were working on building a new area for the elephants. This was SEVERAL years ago. Clearly they have finished it now. It was so neat to walk out on this bridge overlooking their area and see them.
We got incredibly close to a clouded leopard. At first she was sleeping, but then she stirred and started licking herself. It was so fun to watch this giant feline and see similar characteristics to our kitty at home. At one point she turned and faced us, for just a second… and Scott snapped this picture.
The kids all really enjoyed the hands on exhibits… I found them reading the signs more this zoo trip and engaging in the educational aspects more.
I was quite eager to see the panda’s. First we saw the Momma panda bear outside. This was exciting. We then went inside to see her baby cub, who I heard from a lady on the path was taking a nap.
When we came in, the baby was stirring and we actually saw him sit up for a bit.
He was so cute and fuzzy. And oh my…. I was smitten. We watched him for awhile and then they called Momma in to eat. I love how her eyes close while she eats. She just looks like a big ol’ stuffed animal to me. I really enjoyed watching her.
Momma was hungry… Baby decided he wanted to go back to sleeping.
After seeing the Panda’s, we stopped for a picnic lunch. Because we too were hungry.
Then, we headed to see the gorillas and orangutans. The gorillas got a little playful and chased each other from room to room in the gorilla house. It was fun to see them racing around. This one looked so serious and somber though.
We left there and went to the Reptile House. If you know me, you know I hate snakes…. so this is an exhibit I am usually fine to walk on past. But, inside we went.
And it was amazing.
In a gross kind of way.
We saw so many reptiles… so many snakes, huge ones and tiny ones, and very, very venomous ones.
And hungry ones.
We happened into the reptile house at feeding time.
Yes, that would be the tail end of a mouse that rattle snake is swallowing.
But, wait… there’s more….
Like this…. Seriously, we watched this boa constrictor eat a rat whole from beginning to end. It was amazing and disgusting all at once.
I have read about how a snake can open its mouth big and how it’s jaw can separate to swallow a small mammal whole. But, to see it…. well that is something else entirely.
We actually watched it’s jaw separate and saw how it kind of walked the rat up it’s mouth as it slowly swallowed it whole. We were so fascinated by it that one of the zoo volunteers offered us a private tour of their discovery room (which was actually closed at the time). We learned about turtles, snakes crocodiles, alligators and lizards. We got to hold old turtle shells and see how their vertebra is actually build into the shell. We got to touch so many things… Scott and I even learned so much from this behind the scene tour.
As we were exiting the reptile house I was laughing at how every animal we saw we would walk away saying, “Ok, THAT was my favorite thing so far.” Every animal seemed to be showing up the last and we joked about what might come next, how do you beat a private tour?
Our last destination for the day was going to be the tiger and lion. They were must sees for our 4 year old. He has been roaring like a tiger around here for months.
I truly didn’t think our day could get any better, but this grand finale was amazing.
We walked up to the lion exhibit and saw him pacing around… and then he started roaring….
We realized, he was roaring at the tiger on the other side of the wall, so we walked over to see the tiger.
The tiger was also roaring quite ferociously. It was incredible. I couldn’t believe it! My 4 year old happily roared back at him.
So often I feel like you come and you peek up and say, look way up there in the corner under that tree, see it laying there… that’s the tiger… or lion…
But today, we could say, “look at his HUGE paws, as he paced right in front of us” And listen to his roar. We watched him pace around, saw him scratch a branch.
We were amazed! Then we went around the corner and saw lion cubs!
We finished the circle back where we started with another great show by the male lion.
You could see the smoke of his breath as he roared, it was amazing. Then he went down and got a drink of water and then walked over right in front of Scott to pose.
We learned so much. And all of us, all 6 of us were truly amazed by these animals God had created. It was such, a fun, fun day and I am so grateful to the Lord that we got to enjoy it together as a family.
Who knew… rainy, overcast, dreary fall Mondays make a great day for a field trip to the zoo!