Monday, September 03, 2007

Let's Go to the Zoo!

Happy Labor Day!

Ash and I spent a fabulous day at the Zoo.

Elephants are my favorite animal.

Then we saw the cuddly monkeys.

And African wild dogs, which are NOT HYENAS, as the woman next to us repeatedly informed everyone in about a fifty yard radius.

The poor kodiak bear did not seem to care for the heat. It was a brutally sunny day today.

So we ducked into the aquarium... with approximately 5,477,309 other people, at least 3,694,946 of whom were pushing gigantic strollers. While I was standing in front of the seadragon tank...

... a particularly classy member of our society bellowed "EXCUSE ME!!!!!" and shoved past me with her triple SUV stroller-- empty of children, who I presume were among the teeming mass of brats banging their hands against the walls of every available tank in the lobby. Poor fish.

Luckily, once you got past the first couple of tanks, the crazy thinned just a little and you could actually get to and see the exhibits, which were really cool. Most of the tanks were little tiny worlds with lots of different species interacting, including some small amount of "nature red in tooth and claw", such as these two pescetarians:

We lucked into feeding time at the penguin exhibit and watched as the keeper hand fed a big flock of penguins, who waited patiently for her to toss a fish down their throats. One lone chick stood off to the side, half-molted and timid. We moved on before the keeper finished feeding, so I don't know if she also fed the chick or if the mama or papa penguin would take care of it or what. I didn't get any pictures of any of that because the jostling crowd was just TOO MUCH.

However, I did get two very cool pictures of the jelly fish:

One of the largest tanks held an amazing amount of color and motion. I oculd have watched it for ages.
The more I looked, the more things I discovered, hiding in shadows and crevices...

And this ferocious looking fellow:
I love how you can almost sense the motion, the zipping, swirling life in this picture:

This very friendly ray came right up to the side of the tank anytime someone stopped next to it. I guess it was just as interested in us as we were in it?
I don't think you can really get a good idea of exactly how big this fellow is. I would guess he's at least three feet long.

The polar bears were surprisingly frisky, given the heat today.

A tunnel under their exhibit gives you a different view.

The sea otters are in a neighboring tank, separated by a hall of sorts... which, by the way, you can rent for weddings and such. That would have been kind of cool. It's also kind of pricey, especially once you look at the menu for their exclusive caterers. Oh well, I guess our guests just won't get to meet this little show off at our wedding:

The petting zoo portion of the zoo had several exhibits where you could walk into an enclosure via a double door system and hang out with various "free range" animals. For some reason, the GIANT FREAKING SIGNS explaining the double door policy were not sufficient for some people-- and not even foreigners who might have the excuse of not understanding English. At a couple of exhibits, the zoo had posted staffers to keep people from opening both sets of doors at the same time.

One enclosure held whitetail deer, which surely don't seem to me to be the sort of animal that needs to be kept in a zoo, especially 'round here. We regularly see them standing on our front lawn, in neighbors' driveways, on the sidewalk... Anyway, one of these deer had plopped itself down smack dab in the middle of the path so that everyone could pet it. Ash and I waited our turn and stroked it. I must say, I always thought they'd be softer for some reason. And now I won't feel the urge to try and pet the little spotted fawns that keep wandering across the road in broad daylight.

They also had a kangaroo enclosure, but these guys were staying well away from the paths and from the fences.

So was this guy. However, he was very keenly eyeing the passers-by, as though he had trouble in mind.

This one's a little blurry, but people, this tiger was separated from me by nothing more than a sheet of plexiglas. And that was damned cool.

He came over, checked us all out...

Then meandered off... see what this guy was up to...

Turns out, he was chewing on a PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE that someone had THROWN INTO THE TIGER EXHIBIT. Seriously! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Apparently, though, plastic water bottle = great tiger toy, because the tiger who came to check us out at the other end of the exhibit tried to take the bottle away from the other tiger, who did NOT like that one bit.

And on that note, we left the zoo behind. What a great day!


At 2:00 AM , Blogger pacatrue said...

Great pics. We have had zoo memberships for the past 6 years or so.

At 12:24 AM , Blogger luneray said...

Great minds think alike! We went to the zoo as well. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, that is.

At 11:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that you I nailed with the stroller? Sorry.


P.S.: did you notice the Mr. Potato Head in the octopus tank?


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