Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Back to the Zoo


It had been 3 months since I'd been to the Zoo. No wait, even longer.  We didn't go at Christmas this year.  Heck, it was probably Zooboo since the last time we came.  Oy!
Anyway, since it had been so long, and it was such a gorgeous day today, sunny and it got in the 60s, I took a lot of pictures.  A Lot!
I guess this is what happens when I can't make it to the zoo in forever, and I finally get to go with all the cuteness.  And there are flowers, and butterflies, and animals that were out and happy.  I think they were all happy about the blast of beautiful weather today.  Too bad it won't last, we're supposed to get snow tomorrow. Ugh. Snow is becoming a 4 letter word around here. Anyway, I had trouble narrowing down all the cuteness and pretty photos, so sit back with a cuppa cuppa and enjoy.

First, we met up with my friend Melissa, and she watches two friends of Sam's - Alex and Della.  She found 3 discount orange exercise shirts, so we put them on the big kids, and they are Hard to Lose anywhere we go.  We were doing Tuesday adventures weekly there for a while, but the holidays and the illnesses interfered with that.  This was our first Tuesday adventure in a while, and it was a great one! 

The sea lion Ray was up close to the edge and talking up a storm this morning.  Look how close we were! 
He was only a couple feet away from Sam. 

I loved this shot.
I didn't bring my zoom lens, no room for all that with a diaper bag and a picnic lunch, and a couple of sweetboys, with just me to load and unload.  So just the beast camera.  But this one turned out so perfect, I didn't need to do anything to it.  

Is he ready for his closeup? 
Eric was thinking he was showing us his best side. 
But I put it out there to caption this photo, because I love the look on his face as he was smack-talking to us.

Ray the Sea Lion comes over to bask in the shade for a minute.  I bet they LOVE this weather too! 
Jake was so interested in checking him out.  
It's the first time Jake has really shown any interest. 

The walrus came right up to the window to give smoochies to our crew. 

Our whole crew decided to go to the Dolphin show.  

Jake hates when anyone holds him but me, but he did really enjoy the dolphins.  He watched them the whole time.  This summer is going to be a lot of fun.  I enjoyed the show too.  The 'baby' from 2 years ago, isn't so much of a baby now, and he plays and makes trouble with the other new boy dolphin.  They had to have a couple of timeouts....just like the boys around here!  But they did do a few good tricks, like all 4 jumping up at the same time.  Sorry about the blur, but they are fast, and Jake wasn't up for letting me take many photos inside the dolphin pavilion.

After dolphins, we decided to hit "The Back 9" which I call the area in the back of the zoo.  It used to be not well shaded at all, and always hot in the summer, so I'd avoid it.  But the trees and bushes are growing.  They put in a rest area, with bathrooms, water fountain and misting station, so it's a lot better now.  But since I'd been ill, I don't think I'd been in the back in a year, maybe more.  We'd pretty much just done the train so I didn't have to go that far.  It was good to see all these animals out and ready for visitors! 

White Rhino love. <3

The lioness.  We stopped to see her and she kind of glared at us, so we moved over to the rhinos.  While we were checking out the rhinos, we heard a weird noise.  We looked back to see the lioness clearing her throat.  We can just tell they've got more to say, but I didn't have my video camera, or even the point and shoot camera to capture the sounds.  It was almost scary, she was only 10 feet away, and clearing her throat.  Then the lion, over on the far upper left, started in on it too.  Sam got right up by the fence and watched as the lion and the lioness started coughing at each other.  It wasn't a full Roar, but it was loud enough and disconcerting enough, that I know I don't want to be around when they do let loose.  Sam said they were saying Goodnight, because by the time we got around to the other side, they were asleep.  And they sleep a lot in the day.  But Alex said they were telling us that they wanted a baboon snack.  No doubt.

Ah yes, Cheetahs never prosper.  
This cheetah was practicing her yoga.  Downward facing cat.  

But the other cheetah stopped and took a look around, very regal.  
They are such a beautiful cat.  Maybe my favorite.

The elephants were in a fun mood.  
This is the baby following who I expect to be the mother as she comes over for a drink. 

But that drink turned into a dip into the pool.  
It's 60 degrees out, nice and all, but I wouldn't consider it swimming weather.  
But all the elephants did look like they were pretty desperate for a bath. 

The baby is keeping her eye on that mama, not letting her get far.  

Elephants are terrible at playing hide and seek. 
She looked like she was trying to hide behind the rocks.  And the baby hide behind her.  

Peek-a-boo!  We see you too! 

We stopped for lunch, and Jacob was all like, Word Up!  Gimme 5 Mommy!  
Actually, he was exhausted, but the only Joy he could find was in sweet potato puffs. 

This was Sam's "Word Up" pose.  He was so tickled by Jacob's word up pose, he had to do one too.

The bears were out too.  One was playing, and one was not.  The playing one was in what used to be a pond, but it was just dirt, and he was digging through it.  The other one was watching, just kind of sleepy.  
As we watched, Jake started to drift off.  Finally!  Until we bumped into a friend of mine, and Sam poked the sleeping baby.  He cried all the rest of the way out of the zoo.  But the kids wanted to see one last thing before we headed out.  The Butterflies!  

As we headed for Butterflies, I hoped we'd get lucky and see a few butterflies, or some flowers.  But we found these happy little yellow ones already blooming inside the zoo.  Turns out they are crocuses.  :) 

 Alex and Sam loved the fishies.  Alex kept running around the place trying to catch butterflies, or trying to get them to come, like they'd obey. Ha!  But Sam was much more mild. He wanted to just observe. And if they took off,  or buzzed by him, he'd Freak Out, shriek and come running to me.

In spite of being blitheringly exhausted, Jacob was actually interested in what was going on in the butterfly pavilion.  He was watching things that moved.  He actually liked it!  I love that he had fun too.  But he was So Tired. 

In the Butterfly exhibit they still have some beautiful orchids in bloom.  
I didn't used to like orchids.  My Mom used to say that they remind her of someone sticking out their tongues. True.  But I think they are growing on me.   

This pretty seems to be known as the Red Postman.  I found it called, heliconius melpomene plesseni/ 

Another awesome butterfly score.  Without my zoom lens, he just let me get this close.  
A Blue Morpho butterfly!
But he was still so fresh, he didn't want to fly far, I could still see the wrinkles in his wings, he wasn't fluttering them very much either. . 

This was another awesome butterfly photo score.  An Owl butterfly hanging on Spanish Moss.  
This one is not altered, not cropped, he just let me get close, and it may be my favorite of the day.

We bumped into our friends the Welsh's while we were there too! 

The orchids are growing in the ground now...not just put in a pot.  

Love this red lady slipper orchid.  

I didn't know that butterflies liked gerbera daisies.  But I sure do! 

This pretty orange one really makes me look forward to spring. 

Jake finally fell asleep in the butterfly exhibit, so before we hit the road, I wanted to kill a little time, and take a few pics, if any, of flowers in the Gardens.  The  kids had fun running wild.  I love that I can let them go in that space, knowing there's only one way in and out.  Alex and Sam tried to see if the train would work, but it's not running yet.  

Sam found a sundial.  A sundial with a butterfly on it, so he said. :) 

This guy was cracking me up.  
It looks like he's got a little secret. 
I bet it's about how it's 60 degrees today, and it's going to be 20 tomorrow. 

These little yellow flowers were the only things I could find blooming in the Gardens.  But they seemed to make the honeybees very very happy.  I didn't know what they were.  But come home to find out, they are yellow crocuses. Duh.  Apparently, honeybees like crocuses.  I'm going to need to plant some this fall!  I've decided to plant perennials for bees and butterflies in our yard.

The little yellow flowers really shown like gold on the brown drab ground.  
Makes it really feel like Spring! 

Sam said he was not tired on the way home.  But Jake was out cold.  He slept all the way home, plus the 20 minutes or so in the Butterfly/Gardens.  I had a whole lot of tired people in that car at the end of the day, whether they wanted to admit it or not. ;)