Monday, June 7, 2010

Quivering Wet Thighs

This is part two of my Wild Animal Park adventure, see part 1 here. The first part, seeing the birds, was early in the morning. We arrived at the park at 9:15 just after it opened and the bird area is sheltered under large tree canopies and dappled light. It was a fabulously sunny warm day and we were enjoying ourselves so much. Then we got to part two of our adventure or what I like to call ROASTED ALIVE.

You see the second part of the park is all open desert and with the sun and the temperatures soaring to 91 degrees it was a bit HOT. It was weird because I went from being super uncomfortable to awe inspired the next minute at what we saw.


Anticipating the heat I wore 80 sun block but I really wish that I had brought my hat I was thinking of bringing. Regardless we started to really work up a sweat and then forgot about the heat when for the first time I saw a cheetah actually awake. I was ESTATIC.


This park has minimal fencing and really tries to keep the areas for the animals quite large. There were three cheetahs in this enclosure and this one was near enough for me to get awesome shots. Like this one of him yawning.


And then just when I thought that the jackpot couldn’t get any better the cheetah got up and WALKED. I couldn’t be happier at that moment.


We also managed to get a great view of the female lions. What was strange however was the Range Rover in the lion display, a very obvious marketing ploy I was surprised that the park allowed it. One of the displays said that the cats enjoy using it as a sunning place and well he does look comfy.


And then it was a VERY LONG HOT WALK to the elephant enclosure where among the herd we spotted a tiny little baby only a few weeks old with a very protective mother.


There was a brief shaded area after the elephants that gave us a break from the sun and I spotted this gazelle I think standing up tall to get his lunch. Looking at him my mind broke out in song, the one from the Jungle Book where they sing ‘I wanna walk like you, talk like you, sing like you…’ He stayed that way for the fifteen minutes we were standing there. I am guessing it was difficult for him to get into that position and once there he was going to stay as LONG as possible. Kind of how I feel when I finally trick myself into going into Crispy Cream. Just the smell alone would keep me there for hours.


Next we decided to take the tram ride through the back of the park, which you cannot walk through. On this trip the driver gave over a bunch of information, she was super knowledgeable and I was surprised when she mentioned things I had never heard. Not that I am an expert or anything but I have been to a million zoos and I have seen a TON of National Discovery, and I am one of those annoying people that likes to read ALL the signs at the park so I do have a large share of random animal knowledge.


Random Facts:
Cheetahs are super hard to breed in captivity. They are considered one of the pickiest animals when choosing a mate therefore making it difficult for the zoo keepers to find an acceptable male.

Lions can only see shades of grey. They are essentially color blind.

Animals with white faces and different color bodies mean that they live in a very harsh climate. The white face signifies aggression and power and these animals are known to even fight within their group for resources.

2 mice in one year can breed a million mice which is why it is so important to have birds of prey.

On the Guided Tour we saw a variety of plains animals one of the best and most unusual looking is the Giraffe. This one had his back to me until we were driving by and he peeked around his shoulder.


The rarest animal of the day was this Northern White Rhino. Sadly there are only seven left in the world, six of which are too old to breed. This park has two of them (I was able to see both) but this animal is doomed to extinction. It was so sad.


After we got off the tour bus we managed another hour of walking before we called it quits. We were too tired, too hot, and too miserable to continue to the few animals that we missed. We managed to make it through 90% of the park by 3:00pm so we were pretty happy. On the way out I made sure to purchase an annual membership, this park is so awesome I will be coming back again!

Getting back in the car we were exhausted, it was a long day with a TON of walking. We cranked up the air conditioning but that still didn’t prevent our sweaty thighs from sticking to the leather seats. EWWWWW one of those times were I curse my leather seats and wish for but coolers.


lilmansworld said...

If there was a view button for this particular post, you would be amazed. J is obsessed with it! Once again, stunning photos!

paul peggy zeus said...

LOVE the cheetah shot - close up with his yellow teeth, Looks like a good place to view the animals without fences and bars in the way of your photos,

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