Friday, February 29, 2008

Woodland Park Zoo

Did anyone take advantage of Woodland Park Zoo's special pricing today for Leap Day? We did and we had a blast. The weather was nearly perfect; it wasn't too cold nor was it too hot, nor did it rain until just before we were ready to head home.

We invited along one of our favorite people, Susan. She's a great friend, has taken on the role of grandmother for my children, and takes great photos. All the photos in this post with the exception of the one with her in it, are courtesy of her.

We started out in the African Savannah. The giraffes were doing this weird thing where they were whipping their necks around each other. It looked like a mating ritual except that the zoo staff told us they were sparring, a behavior called necking. At times, it made them look like a three-headed monster.

Meanwhile, these zebras were casually and quiet grazing nearby. They are such pretty animals.

The zoo staff were in the area showing the kids a ribbon the length of a giraffe's tongue (it's long), letting the kids touch some giraffe skin/fur, look at a giraffe's skull, and compare a giraffe's vertebra to a human's vertebra. While I was looking at these neat items, Josh began climbing this rock behind me. I'm glad I turned and look because he was bent on making it to the top. I was shocked that he was able to do it. He did just turn 1 yesterday after all! Besides climbing rocks, he also insisted on walking most of the day. He ended up splitting his frenulum on one particular fall while walking at an indoor kids exhibit and play around. He's fine; he barely even noticed it.

When we reached places where we could see animals, I'd pick up Josh so he could see. He spent most of the time pointing at them with this look on his face. Here he's checking out an Asian elephant that was only about 20 feet away.

Then we found this sculpture just waiting for someone to climb it. Lots of kids were drawn to it. Here's Mika and Sammy "monkeying around".

We wandered along the paths looking at various animals as we came to them: orangutangs, siamangs, and macaque monkeys. We came across an animal talk with raptors: a great horned owl, barred owl, peregrin falcon, turkey vulture, and others. We walked through the habit areas for the slot bear and Sumatran tigers on our way to lunch. After lunch, we visited the Zoomasium where the kids ran and climbed and played and Josh split his frenulum. Then we headed to the bug house to check out cockroaches, various insects, and several spiders including a taratula, black widow, and a golden orb spider sitting in its web that wasn't behind glass. Afterwards we visited a mock courtroom against spiders and this spider stockade with Susan spider (our friend and photographer) and Sammy spider.

After finding the spiders not guilty, we headed to the family farm to visit the goats, sheep, donkey, rabbits, and chickens. We found this tractor; the kids loved it.

Josh especially loved the tractor. Can you tell? He was turning that wheel and shifting the shifter between his legs and having a grand ol' time.

But we were running out of time and Sammy still wanted to see the lions so we headed that way. On the way, we snuck a peak at the hippos. I think they are just the coolest looking animal with their heads sticking up out of the water watching us.

Then we ran into a road block. The staff had blocked off the trail because they were moving the giraffes. The kids (in green with the thought bubble) were right up agains the chain about 10 feet away from the giraffe. It was amazing to see these large, tall, beautful animals up close.

About this time, the rain began coming down and they still had two more giraffes to move. Sammy was tired and decided he'd rather head home (we'd been ther 4 1/2 hours) than wait. So we headed out.

It was a great day at the zoo. The Woodland Park Zoo is so cool. It is much larger than our local Pt. Defiance Zoo and is only about 40 minutes away. There are so many more animals to see and the park is quite large. One of my favorite things about the park is its winding, trail-like walkways. You can almost pretend you are out in the forest rather than in the middle of the city. It's really nice. The other neat thing about this zoo is the animals have huge and very nice habits. You can't really get through it all in one day. We'll have to go back soon because we didn't get to see several habitat areas of the zoo.

You can see fact sheets and video clips of Woodland Park Zoo animals at their website.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such great pics, JoAnn! I love little man on the tractor. So cute!

Shadowfur said...

Yes. He loved it. It almost looked like he was saying, "AAARRRGGG!!! EERRCCHH!"

Suswan said...

Wow! Very nice summary. I can never remember all the details when I get home, I just know that I had a good time. I guess that's the important part, ay? Watching kids have fun always makes for a good day. :-)