Friday, October 14, 2011

A Critter Kind of Day

We took the day off formal academics to visit Woodland Park Zoo with Columbia Virtual Academy.  It was an almost perfect day for it; it was cool, which is great for animal viewing, but not cold or wet.  We generally had a good day, though Maddie seemed to be having trouble walking and tripped and fell numerous times.

Our critter kind of day started with Mikaela finding a black cricket in our garage.  She came running to ask if our bug magnifier was still unpacked.  Unfortunately, it's packed up so she ended up catching it in a glass.

Birds weren't our focus today, but we all love this Victorian Crowned Pigeon.  It's head feathers are so pretty.

Mikaela loves this Urania Moth.  She found it in display about tropical rain forests.

About the only thing cooler than being inches away from jaguars would be getting to meet them face-to-face and pet them.  I'm rather partial of pretty kitties, big and small.

The littles especially enjoyed the penguins, many of which were swimming through the water at eye level.  These little guys are fast swimmers and super cute...though smelly.  Josh kept crouching down to pretend he was underwater with them.

The river otters are always fun to watch.  They were active today.  I got lucky to catch a picture of one out of the water and several pictures of just their head above water.  They are so quick, it is hard to get a good focused photo.

We met this dad (baby behind him is his) who had a very old camera.  It was made in the 1960s.  It didn't even have a built in light meter.  That gadget on the step between them is a light meter; it tells him how much light there is, and has a circular gadget that he can determine aperture and shutter speed based on the light level.  Then it has the old split center focus.  He explained all this to Sam and then let him try focusing the camera, which Sam said was really heavy.

About that time, the zookeepers decided it was feeding time for the bears.  That was really cool because it brought them close to the viewing area.

They also fed these fish in the bear exhibit.  They swim in a small pool immediately against the glass and went absolute berserk when the pellets were through in the water.  It looked like a typically Hollywood piranha feeding frenzy.

Walking around, we happened upon this hawk's training session.  We learned that he can't be placed back into the wild because of a wing injury; he can fly but not well enough to take care of himself in the wild.  He is trained with a whistle and treats at both ends of his flight.  He has a strap attached to his legs that is attached to a long rope that is attached to a gallon jug of water.  That keeps him from flying away before he is fully trained.

No trip to Woodland Park Zoo is complete without climbing this structure.

I found this beautiful tiny flower outside the Komodo Dragon exhibit.  I'd love to know what it is, but my searches are proving futile.   It sure is pretty though.

I love to giraffes and will never forget the time we got to see them from about 10 feet away.  The zookeepers were moving them from their exhibit to another pen-like area.  It required gating off the walkway to let the giraffes through.  We were just on the other side of the gate watching them walk by.  It was the coolest thing! They are much taller up close than they seem to be when looking at them from a distance in their exhibit.

The kids wanted to play in the habitat exploration loop, and we went through the family farm exhibit to get there.  This play area is called Warm CRAWL.  Notice that Josh is not crawling.

We also hit the bug exhibit.  Isn't she cute?  Yeah, only when on the other side of glass.  Spiders are cool and creepy as long as they aren't in my home and definitely not on me.

I've actually handled a couple of these before.

After playing in the habitat area for a while, we headed back through the family farm to get to the exit.  I couldn't resist taking photos of these flowers.  I love daisies.  I love gerbera daisies.  I love daisy-like flowers.  I love close up photography of flowers.  Add in a bug, and it's even cooler.

On the way home, we stopped at Dairy Queen to try their Pumpkin Pie blizzards.  Yum!

When we got home, we were greeted with another kind of critter.  Meet Abby.  She's still angry that her son never left home.

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Sybil Runs Things said...

I was just at WPZ with my HSer yesterday! I didn't take any good pictures, though, so it was lovely to see yours.
Found your blog looking for CVA info. We finally are officially enrolled in the program :)