Sunday, April 28, 2013

More of March

These pictures are a little "old" now since I've been slow getting around to blogging again.  I have some new stuff that I'm kind of anxious to blog so I'm going to post these pictures without too much "talk" - hopefully.  :-)
The first six are from another Spring Break activity.  I took Kay up to our children's museum.  I took lots of pictures but I'll just share a few since I did a blog post on the museum last summer.

They had a couple new play areas when we went.  One is a theater.  There are lots of costumes and the background is a felt board with different felt scenery pieces so that you can have different backgrounds for your "show".  There is also a puppet stage with puppets and a marker board sign out front where you can write what show you're performing.
I know you're wondering what Kaelyn was  dressed as here and the answer is:  I have know idea.  I think one of the pieces of clothing was part of a pirate costume and I'm not sure about the rest.  Frankly, I'm not sure that she knew or cared.  She just had fun dressing up in clothes and having me take her picture.  :-)

This was a pirate hat and maybe a pirate (?) cloak but all I can think of when I see this picture is an old-fashioned parson from days gone by.  :-)

Delivering mail to the different places around the "town".

This is the cooking galley on the first level of the huge two-story ship the kids can play on.

I think she was pretending that she was making pancakes here.

She saw another little girl flipping pretend food in a frying pan so she decided she needed to flip her "pancake" by tossing it up in the air.  :-D

And now, on to pictures of us in our Easter clothes in 50 words or less:

It was quite an ordeal to pull off having her be able to wear this dress and tolerate the feeling of it but she really, really wanted to wear this one.  She looked SO pretty!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

More Spring Break Fun - Zoo Part 1

We definitely filled Spring Break this year with lots of fun.  We got back from camping on Tuesday evening of the week of Spring Break.  Wednesday I worked hard all day unpacking, catching up on laundry, and cleaning the house.  Thursday, I took Kaelyn up to our little children's museum in Jensen Beach.  On Friday, Kevin decided to close the office so we went down to the Palm Beach Zoo.  It had been a couple years since we had been there.  As far as zoos go, it is quite small but it turned out being the perfect size and amount of walking for the day for us.  Kevin and I both agreed that we had never had such a good day at that zoo.  Probably the biggest factor was that the weather was absolutely perfect!  The high for that day was somewhere in the low 70s.  Not only did that make it more pleasant to be outside all day but that also meant we saw the animals far more active than we ever have before.  The day really couldn't have been much more perfect.  It was quite busy since it was still spring break but we kind of went backwards around the zoo and the crowds didn't seem that bad.  

We decided to go counterclockwise around the zoo so that we would get to the otters toward the beginning of the day.  I may have mentioned in my last post about SeaWorld that Kay has decided that otters are one of her favorite animals now.  She bought a small otter pal at SeaWorld with her own money.  Unfortunately, the only place to see an otter at SeaWorld is in the sea lion show but... the Palm Beach Zoo just happens to have otters and they are SO much fun to watch.  Going the opposite way seemed to work out in our favor.  Not only did we seem to avoid some of the crowdedness, but we got over to the other side of the park toward the end of the day and got to see several of our favorite animals being fed or worked with, which just made it extra interesting.
Kaelyn had to have a picture with her otter pal in front of the real otters.  I discovered years ago on one of our zoo outings that these otters are attracted to bright colors.  I held a red paper up to the glass and they would swim right up to it.  If I moved the paper around in a circle, they would do flips and follow the movements of the paper.
(Kaelyn asked me just tonight where we could borrow some otters from to put them in our bathtub and let them play in the water.  It seems she has been watching some Youtube videos people have posted of pet otters.  I'm going to get Kevin right on that project - finding info on where to get and how to care for pet otters without getting caught for keeping an illegal pet.  :-D )

One of the two Florida panthers.  The other one was wide awake and looking out at us.

So this is something we do pretty much every time we go to the zoo.  If you weren't us, it might get old but since we're us and we think we're terribly funny, it hasn't gotten old yet.  :-)

We were trying to have Kaelyn look like she was being eaten by the mean-looking rock creature (maybe a crocodile?  never paid much attention to what it's actually supposed to be).  She wasn't quite putting her all into it - figuratively and literally.  So I proceeded to show her how to put her WHOLE body into the mouth.  :-)

I know, we're hysterical.

The jaguar is just plain beautiful.  She was pacing a lot even though she has a LOT of space compared to a lot of zoo animals.  She kept going back near what appeared to be an employee parking area and entrance to her cage.  I'm guessing it was about time for what they call "daily enrichment" where they work with the animals.

Since one can never see too many pictures of monkeys, I've included this picture of this capuchin monkey.

This guy was funny.  These people were throwing food trying to get it across the water.  This monkey was determined to get the ones that missed the grass and landed in the water.  For monkeys being afraid of water, he was getting awfully close to it.  He would hang on to a branch with his tail and reach WAY down over the water as far as he could to grab the food out with his hands.  I know it's a bad idea to feed zoo animals like that and the people got yelled at of course, but I have to admit that it was interesting to watch (as long as I'm not the one getting yelled at).
You can see how he is sitting at the edge of the grass and right below him was the narrow strip of water.

Meanwhile, up in the tree behind our hungry little friend was this little monkey family.  See baby sitting there on Mama's lap?  She kept him hidden fairly well much of the time but every so often he would peek out.

And it doesn't get much cuter than that - as far as monkeys go and all.  :-)

When we were last at the zoo two years ago this summer, they had three new tiger cubs and they were the cutest things ever.  We stayed back there forever watching them play.  Well, they are still considered "cubs" for a little bit longer though all three of them (males) are now bigger than their mom.  They weigh about 100 pounds more than her because male tigers tend to be quite a bit bigger than the females.  At least two of the brothers will go to other zoos eventually.

Another place we always get a picture when we're at the zoo.  :-)

As you can see, even the zoo thinks we went backwards since we saw the tigers first and then walked by the sign that announces we're headed to Tiger Falls.  :-)

Kangaroo, who unfortunately did not want to hop around for us - BUMMER.

So this little opportunist squirrel decided that if the two kangaroos were just going to lie there and be all lazy,  he was going to help himself to their food.  We watched him grab some kind of fruit looking thingy out of their dish and then run up a tree with it.  I guess if you snooze you loose.  :-)

Yes, I know it's tigers again.  Must I explain EVERYTHING to you all?  :-)
Seriously though, when we went by the tigers the first time we saw that there was going to be a tiger talk in another 20-30 minutes.  We walked on to see a few more animals nearby and then we went back to the tigers.  It was really cool to watch.  The trainer never gets in with them.  They said the tigers are very good with her and have never gotten rough but they ARE still wild animals and they try to have a healthy respect of that (sounds intelligent to me).  The "enrichment" time with the more wild animals is not so much to train them  to do tricks but to "cooperate" and work with the people that check them out for health issues, etc.

She was having him lay down in front of her here.  The trainer obviously doesn't make each tiger come over but they all usually do come up to the fence The raw hamburger "treat" she has with her is a pretty strong motivator.

When she raised her right hand to the fence, the tiger would raise its left paw to her hand; of course when she switched hands, the tiger would raise the opposite paw.

You can see her pointing up in the air.  That was the cue for the tiger to stand up against the fence.  After she had worked with one, she would move on to the next one that would be pacing around another part of the fence waiting for its turn.  The hamburger she fed them is actually specially formulated for wild cats in zoo settings.  It has other minerals and things that the tigers need that they don't get naturally when they are in captivity.
I split these pictures up into two posts although I'm not sure it makes much difference.  Anyway, part 2 heads into "Australia" to wallabies, koalas, New Guinea singing dogs, and oh yeah, a python.

Zoo - Part 2

Taking a little rest.

Do you see him?  :-)
I'll give you a clue: look right beside her right cheek to the right of the green food dish.  This was one of the muntjac.  They look like miniature deer and they are quite cute.  They are originally from several of the Asian countries. Because of Kaelyn's obsession/fascination with reindeer, she was quite excited to see these.  It was kind of odd because their caged in area was actually a long area but it ran back behind several other animal cages so unless you were paying attention and looking behind the cages, it would have been easy to miss them.  We were apparently only seeing female ones before and all the sudden Kaelyn came running over to where we were looking at another animal nearby.  She was so excited and she said, "You HAVE to come see this right away!"  She had spotted one with little horns.  There was one area along the cage where you could step off the main path and see them back under the brush.  The muntjac in this picture seemed friendly and curious.  It came up as close as it could to the inner fence and stood there watching Kaelyn.

I found this picture online and added it here so that you could see what the muntjac looks like that Kaelyn thought was so cute!  :-)

The Wallabies are so fascinating to watch in my opinion.  They have a really good set-up/viewing area so you can really see them quite well.  They look so ridiculous when they hop which is probably the main reason I find them so interesting to watch.  :-)

The youngest wallaby with what we assumed was its mother.  The little one was about 5 months old according to the girl who was in there feeding them.

This is the Burmese Python to the right of Kaelyn.  I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at it through the glass.  Kevin wanted to get this picture of Kaelyn but he about never got her to go in there.  :-)  After much convincing that the glass was very thick and the snake couldn't get near her, he finally talked her into going in for a quick picture.   UGH!  *Becky shutters*

This is the New Guinea singing dog.  There was a male and female.  They look like domesticated dogs and actually act pretty domesticated in the zoo setting but in the wild, they would act more like a wolf or coyote.

They're called the singing dogs and boy, do they "sing".  They'll get to howling and carrying on and it's funny to hear them and watch them.

This is Oz the Koala.
The koalas are one of the neatest additions that the zoo has made in the past few years.  They have a male and a female, Oz and Abby.  They are normally in air conditioned glass enclosures.  We spotted Abby fast asleep up in her tree in her little "room".  There were two rooms that Oz could go back and forth between.  We looked and looked and didn't see him.  Since the wallabies, koalas, New Guinea dogs, and fenec fox are all close to each other in the same area, we just went back and forth to the different animals watching them.  I kept going back over to the koalas in hopes that Abby would wake up or we would see Oz.  We finally realized that Oz was actually outside in a cage.  Apparently since it was such beautiful weather, he had been put outdoors.  We've never been able to see them that well or that active.  We watched him climb down a tree, meander around, and then climb another tree. I've always thought koalas were cute. Now that I've actually seen one much closer, I can't decide whether they are cute or ugly -  maybe they're just so ugly they're cute.  :-)  The way Abby had her head all tucked under while she slept looked awfully cute though.

Look how his mouth is open in this picture.

Back to the wallabies.  
My pictures are "jumping around" because, as I already mentioned, we were meandering back and forth.  When we saw one of the workers go into the wallaby area with food for them, we walked back over there.  She threw a bunch of kale around in the grass besides putting a food mixture in the dishes.  She told us that kale was one of their favorites - silly wallabies!  ;-)

Munching on some kale.

The little guy again.

Talking to the "ducks". (Yes, I'm aware that this is some special breed of  fowl that would probably be insulted to know they were called common ducks but I don't have a clue what they actually were.  They were in with the wallabies and they got fed when she was feeding the wallabies.)

The koala again.  I think when he climbed down the tree, he was hoping that it was about time for him to go in for his dinner but the "exits" were all closed off to him.

Surprisingly, he came right up close to the fence where we were.

Koalas have special toes designed for gripping and climbing up and down trees.

Kaelyn said that she loved the way he was smiling.  It did look like he had a smile on his face.  :-)

The fenec fox.  He was cute, even with his HUGE ears.

These were the red bellied lemurs.  They are SOOO ugly.  Both they and the ring tailed lemurs were on their own islands as were the Goeld's monkeys.  It was about 45 minutes till the zoo closed so a couple of the workers got in a canoe and rowed over to the three different islands to feed the lemurs and monkeys.  The lemurs obviously knew that the canoe meant food.  They climbed all over the canoe waiting for their food.

This monkey was so funny.  He had an orange from the food that they had been given.  First he sat in a tree peeling it and eating it.  Then when he would decide to climb to a different tree or branch he would carry the orange with one of his feet and then use his hands to climb.  :-)

We sat on a bench for awhile before closing time watching the lemurs, monkeys, and this swan.  It was quite beautiful. 

It was the perfect end to a great day!