Almost the first thing we hit was a playground. The kids could have stayed there all day. We need to start going the opposite direction so that they find these places last, but I'm glad it was so cute and fun.
Here were giraffes and gazelles. This area was so pretty to me:
Autumn fighting to get down.
Calvin giving us a science lesson.
Jaguars? Cheetahs? I can't tell the difference:
Autumn loved these guys. Maybe because they were close enough to the glass that she could really study them, but she was enchanted.
This is a bad picture, but I was trying to get a feel for their awesome rain forest house. Every so often it would start to mist in the cages, and the plants and birds, snakes, dart frogs, etc. were amazing. It made me think that rain forests might sound exotic, but they would probably be slightly terrifying.
One thing I didn't get a picture of were the orangutans. They were mating. Against the glass. I felt like I was in some sort of social experiment or something because there were 20+ adults pushed against the glass, crowding each other out as they watched them, making lewd comments and laughing. The kids had all lost interest and wandered off, but their parents were there in some perverse, voyeuristic, peer-induced endeavor to see the whole thing through.
The female orangutan was just laying there, but every time she would try to get up, the male would punch her in the face until she laid back down and let him finish. Maybe I'm a prude, but I felt bad for the gal and had no desire to watch for more than 10 seconds. The people surrounding the cage were laughing and making comments that would have horrified any victim of rape or domestic abuse. It was a weird moment for me for some reason. I was disappointed in people I didn't even know, in a "wow, this is what we're capable of?" kind of way. I guess my point was that one guy kept saying over and over, "man, this is the best part of the whole day. Now I've got my money's worth."
Well, that's how I felt about this:
They have this walk through aviary with parakeets, cockatiels, and small parrots flying around and landing on people. You can pay $1 for a small stick that has food stuck to it (I think it's honey or something?) and the birds will come right down to your hands and eat off of the sticks. The kids LOVED it! It was so much fun to see them interacting with the animals up close without being too afraid.
Calvin and his parakeet:
Autumn and her cockatiel:
Andy, the Bird Whisperer:
My favorite picture of the day:
He didn't feel quite as comfortable with the bigger bird as he did the smaller one.
Cute, happy kids:
The carousel ride:
Autumn ran and jumped on before we had paid, so we were fumbling around and hadn't caught up with her when the ride started. We figured since she'd ridden one recently with her grandma, she'd do fine, but then they turned the thing on and it was on turbo speed. It was the fastest carousel I've ever seen. We prayed the whole time that she would just hold on tight long enough to make it, but she kept letting go to do her beauty pageant wave every time she'd pass by us. Luckily, she's smarter than we give her credit for and she did just fine.
No idea why Calvin prefers the boring benches to the up and down horses, but he almost always picks the bench.
For the second ride, Andy got on with Autumn and Calvin wanted me to sit with him. Here's our not-so-attractive self-portrait:
I realize that this is a very unflattering picture, but I feel like on the blog it always looks like Andy does all of the interacting with the kids and I just stand back and take pictures. Well, I play too!
Freaky, but beautiful. Autumn was also fascinated by these guys.
Calvin loved these guys. They were so playful and fun to watch. In this picture, they're right behind him wrestling or dancing. Obviously I missed the otters, but I thought Calvin looked cute.
The golden hippo:
The new pet meerkat: (Autumn chose a little hippo)
Back at the playground: