Thursday, September 16, 2010

SUMMER: Pre-Vacation/Key West

My son and I found ourselves with a free Friday and decided to go
to the zoo
The zoo is only 15 minutes from our home so no big fieldtrip required (although at $13 a person it's also not a trip we make very frequently and I am beginning to think braving the crowds on free days is worth it). Just grab a water bottle, load up and go! We (and when I say "we" I mean I) wanted to take pictures.
It was a lovely day and we got our tickets and raced in...

to see the lions 
While we stood admiring the lionesses and lazy adult male who slept out of reach of my cameras eye, one of the zoo workers who was giving a tour to some kids was telling the kids that a female had escaped by jumping over the moat and out of her pen one night. I didn't get to hear the whole story but that would have been an exciting night to have been at the zoo!

 After reading "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" as a kid, I thought it would be great fun to have a lion, because even though they aren't tame, they still talked to you and you could talk to them and they were good (as Mr. Beaver explained to the kids). Getting this close was pretty dang fun- even with plexiglass between us.

While we stood watching him bask in the late morning sun, the older male gave out a roar on the other side of the stone wall. (This is one of three of the cubs of the females. They've been moved away from the others and were in a separate area.) He didn't appear happy to have his nap interrupted.

I wanted to put my arms around his neck and give him a hug. I just think he wouldn't mind taking my head off as a thank you!

The lions get a lovely natural environment that might fool the observer into believing they were perfectly content to be in this faux wildland. Other zoo inhabitants are not so lucky and look more like prisoners of war or Alcatraz (I don't care how many trees you stick in there with this cat-- it still has bars).

This leopard looks like he wants to grab the bars and beg us to get him out of there, don't you think?

The giraffes are not a favorite but the younguns on the right were cute and I got some much better pictures which will be featured on another day (baby animal day). Prior to my taking the picture he'd gotten out of the pen and had been running around the moat (yup, him too!) and the zoo keepers was just about to shoo us all off. I shot this picture as he jumped back over the bar and into the pen.

I love the polar bears too. This guy looks like he could have been the star in the new Leaf commercial which I think is pretty cute.

I love the Sea Lions, but it's not always easy when they're busy swimming underwater. So I did the best I could...

And caught a nose or two... but it's not easy because there are always crowds around these guys. Even between the shows. They are definitely the most spoiled animals at the zoo, people just hang on their every bark.

So! on we go. . .
I don't care for camels but this Bactrian seemed particularly neglected and gave me a rather pitiful look so I took the picture and included him here. I hated to think of him surfing the net and seeing all the other zoo animals included on my blog entry only to find that he had been excluded.

The wild Australian horses on the other hand could have cared less but I like horses even if they look rather more like mules.

Another neglected camel (Dromedary)  although he seemed less interested in the attention.

The Okapi was in the shade so you can't really see his cool stripes. These guys are relatives of the giraffes and are endangered but the Denver Zoo is working alongside a group in Zaire called the Apulu project to help protect the Okapi. 

"Birds of prey know they're cool" ~Gary Larson (his had sunglasses which made them more cool)

Strange bedfellows might almost say dinner.

These guys are also attention grabbers (or hogs as the case may be)

They are always throwing dirt and grass on themselves-- poorly behaved if you ask me but it seems to entertain the crowds so I don't imagine they'll quit.

I have a picture of my son in front of the elephant but it's on my cell phone and won't have the quality and there is a bit too much shade on his face... So the elephants get the spotlight to themselves-- as usual. 
At any rate, it's time to move on. . .

We didn't spend too much time with the other primates but we did spend a few moments with the gorillas. I thought this guy might come over to window to say hi . . .

but I guess not.

This guy didn't mind the company and perhaps he sleeps better knowing we're all looking down at him.

This is Bear Mountain and according to the signage, it was the "First of its kind" built in 1918 the enclosure was intended to fool the animal into believing that it was in it's natural habitat. It was "cutting edge" and gained the Denver Zoo worldwide recognition.  

I'm not sure what kind of animal it is that is sleeping here but he seems to like his simulated rock house.

You can't leave Colorful Colorado without seeing a mountain goat...although it is hard to see him on his gray rock. It might help if they put him on bright purple rock or red rocks. Red Rocks would still be indigenous to Colorado and he would still feel at home . . .

It is now midafternoon and getting a bit too hot to be out in the sun-- at least to be walking. So home the two of us went thoroughly satisfied with our day at the zoo- which is now corporately sponsored as is everything else in the Land of the Charged (and remind me again why we pay $13 a person to go to the zoo but they also have corporate sponsorship? You'd think that if we have to put up with commercials it would be more like the kind of free we put up with on TV or at least our trips could be cheaper)

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