Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Trip to the Birmingham Zoo

For those of you who know us, you may be wondering, "Why did they go to the Birmingham Zoo? Don't they live in Georgia, closer to Zoo Atlanta??" Chris was going to Birmingham for the day on Saturday to shoot some videos for apologist John Martignoni (Catholics may recognize his name). So we tagged along on the two hour trip to visit the zoo while they worked.

Our first stop was the petting zoo area. Goats and sheep for petting and brushing.

Cecilia loved the goats...

...very much. She does this to our chickens, too.

Inside a barn by the petting zoo were more animals, including these baby turkeys.

Rats! When telling Daddy about the zoo, the girls told him, "There were some rats in a wall." That is exactly what they were... a panel on one of the barn's stall walls opened, and one of the zoo workers dumped the rats into it! The other side was covered in some plexiglass type material so we could see the rats.

Two bald eagles! I don't think I have been this close to an eagle before... they are HUGE birds!

Being nocturnal, this owl was sleeping - right there in the open - and the girls are banging on the fencepost and yelling to try to wake him up. He must be a pretty laid-back fellow - he blinked once and continued to sleep...

Random old truck next to a vulture enclosure...

The otters were very cool... I loved getting some silhouette photos!

There were chickens near the petting zoo, and we noticed one rooster was outside of the coop... not sure if that was intentional or not. Later, we noticed a rooster and a hen wandering around in the "food court" area... very random. People were feeding them french fries, sadly.

This tiger came to the inside viewing area just as we approached the window. Perfect timing! Then it went back to the outside part of the enclosure. Now, maybe I'm spoiled because of being used to Zoo Atlanta, but this zoo has a "predator house." They have a bunch of wild cats... in indoor cages. Some have absolutely no outdoor access, like the bobcats. I thought that was really sad. There was also a primate house, where the smaller monkeys - and even the orangutans - lived in indoor rooms. There is construction being done on a large part of the land there, though, where they are making some kind of African exhibit... and there is plenty of land there for them to make bigger outdoor habitats. Hopefully that is what they will be doing. They are getting some elephants once that is completed, too.

Giraffes...

And rhinos. last time I took Caroline to a zoo, she said, "Rhino-nosserus picked me out!" She was a bit younger than Cecilia is now when she said that... we never figured out what exactly she meant by saying that it "picked her out." Maybe it looked at her? These ones didn't pick her out - they were sleeping. Caroline asked, "Are they real?"

This might have been the coolest exhibit in the place... the lorikeets. These bright-colored birds were hopping and flying all over the place, with no fear at all of humans! You could feed them a little cup of nectar, and they would come right up and eat it as you held it out to them, and we even saw some of them sitting on people's arms to eat! One landed on Caroline's head briefly, ha ha!

Caroline feeds one...

...and Cecilia takes her turn.

Cecilia, of course, reached out to pet them. They moved away from her slightly and pecked at her, but she didn't mind!

I'd never seen anything like this, where you can just walk in among the birds and they will come right up to you. Very neat!

We watched a sea lion training show. The sea lions would hop up on ramps, jump in the water, lay down, and leap out of the water to touch a ball on a stick (and were rewarded with fish each time, of course!). They did all this by watching the zookeepers motion with their hands!

Caroline spotted a peacock and was excited that we had seen this animal on our Garden of the Good Shepherd Easter calendar earlier that week! Also on our calendar, we'd seen...

... a pelican! Pelicans are much bigger up close than you would think! And they are kind of mean, too, so I am not sure why we were allowed to get this close to them! O course, I told the girls the story of Uncle Stephen catching a pelican with his fishing pole...

We rode the little train that goes around the zoo... just $2 each, so I figured, why not? The admission to this zoo is so much cheaper than I am used to from Zoo Atlanta!

Last stop was this kids' area, where they had fountains to splash in and a big inflatable thing filled with bubbles (foam, they called it in the brochure).

Caroline stayed in the foam the whole time until I told her to come out and splash in the fountains a few minutes to rinse off, since Daddy had arrived to meet us in the parking lot!

Caroline said that the kids in the foam asked her where her bathing suit was... we had a change of clothes in the car instead!

As much as Caroline wanted Cecilia to come in the bubbles with her, I wasn't about to let her go in where she would be completely engulfed and possibly trampled by bigger kids who couldn't see her! She didn't want to go in either, and so she enjoyed the fountains.

Here's Caroline being surprised by a fountain as it starts spraying. She rinsed all the foam away quickly!

A fun little daytrip! And of course, on the two hour ride back home, neither child fell asleep... Cecilia had almost fallen asleep on my back in the zoo, but apparently the monkeys were just a bit too interesting for her to let go completely! After such a full day in the sun, most kids would crash on the car ride home... ahh, am I destined to only have children who don't fall asleep in the car?? They were in a great mood though, so I am not complaining... only wondering!

Summer time has officially started when the outdoor water-related trips begin - yay!! We'll have to do the lake and our own local fountains downtown sometime soon now!

1 comment:

johnston5in5 said...

We'll do the fountains downtown sometime if you want company.
Looks like they had a great time!