Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lioness at the NC Zoo

SmugMug Daily Link

A heartfelt thanks to Donnie for taking me and the boys to the NC Zoo yesterday...  Between the cold  I've got and the effects of the chemo, he's doing his best to make sure I don't go out and get myself into too much trouble.  The boys track back into school on Monday, so maybe life will slow down a bit. I doubt it.  I also have my second of four chemo treatments on Monday too.  Trying to enjoy myself before that!

Here's a collage with my favorite shots of the day:

SmugMug Link

You know I am loving that shot of my 3 guys on the gord in the vegetable playground!  No trip to the zoo is complete without climbing the spider web and the various other vegetables.  Even Donnie got in on the act!

Donnie Video  

Temps climbed up to 54 by midday at the zoo, and then they dropped back to 46 by the time we left at 4PM.    Unfortunately, clouds filled the sky for our entire visit.  A light drizzle moved up from the south (odd direction) as we headed to the van.  I am so glad the rain didn't move in any sooner.  The zoo was NOT crowded still somehow we managed to run into another family that goes to the boys' school.  Not too many souls visit the zoo in the winter although they are open every day except Christmas.  Actually, if you want to see frisky animals, go when it is not sweltering.  Winter is a great time to visit.  The female lion, red river hogs, chimps, and many of the other animals were up and about.

I saw a sign yesterday that said that there are 5 miles of trails at the zoo.  I  knew it was at least 3 miles.  Donnie counted over 8000 steps on his pedometer yesterday.  We enjoyed Chinese buffet for dinner:-)

My daily picture shows the lioness resting on a rock in her habitat.  It is HDR and a big improvement over the sooc cloudy day shot.  We were approaching the gorilla habitat when we heard the lion start roaring.   What a sound!  We raced across the Africa side of the zoo toward the lion enclosure in hopes of hearing and seeing what we assumed was the male lion roar again.  I'm not sure why, but the male lion was off exhibit.  However, the female lion did roar again, and I got video and countless pics.

Lion Video

We even heard the male lion roar off exhibit.

Joey's favorite zoo animal is the lion, and Johnny's is the gorilla.  So, after ditching the gorillas for the lions, I walked Johnny back to see the gorillas.  That was a real treat!  Two of them were at the window.  I got this video of Johnny interacting with what I assume was the smaller, female gorilla.

Gorilla Video

Donnie said his favorite experience at the NC Zoo yesterday was seeing the frisky ocelots.  The mom had 2 kittens last April, and they are as big as her now.  They frolicked in their pen to the delight of the folks looking on.  Look at how they played with us through the glass in this video.

Ocelot Video

When we first entered the zoo, and you have to enter on the North America side in the winter vs. the Africa side, we were treated to the Harbor Seal training session.  3 times a day, they feed and work with the seals.  The trainer explained that although they do teach them some fun tricks that most of the training is designed to acclimate the animals to having veterinary procedures preformed like drops in their eyes, nails trimmed, and teeth brushed.  We were delighted to see the few tricks from up top and then go underneath to watch the seals play with a toy.

Harbor Seal Video

As we headed to the tram from Africa back to North America, we stopped to watch the giraffes running in their yard.  As far as we could tell, they were ready to head to the barn for the night!  and eat!

Giraffe Video

The zoos two polar bears are off exhibit and have been moved to different zoos (Detroit and Milwaukee) while the zoo enhances their exhibit.  It's an 8 million dollar project.  Gulp!  I am sure it will be worth it in both helping to house additional bears and to put more than one bear out at a time.  They are tripling the size of the exhibit and could house up to 6 bears and maybe even do breeding at the zoo.  The new habitat is scheduled to open in 2013 along with a much updated Kids Zone play area.  In recent years, the zoo added a bee hive playground and a geyser simulation and we've very much enjoyed those additions, so we eagerly await these latest projects to be completed.  I just renewed my zoo membership for 2 years:-)

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