Thursday, March 20, 2008

To The Zoo!

We had the pleasure of hosting Aunt Brett and Tylor during T's spring break and B's vacation days, and we had a great time. We did some shopping and plenty of eating, made sure to wear our green and enjoyed the 60 degree weather at the zoo.

Now, Libby had been asking if we could see the baby alligators at the zoo and I had been hesitant. It seemed to me that real life alligators were not as cute and adorable as the ones she plays with in her imagination, and certainly not as cuddly as Petito, the baby alligator Aunt Lucy sent. Add to that, the alligators are located in what is called "The Kingdom of Darkness", and is quite literally underground. I tried not to instill a fear in her, if she had none that would be fine, but did warn her that the alligators are kept in a dark room, and it's completely dark down there but for a couple of night-lights. (this is totally true, if you haven't been, take my word for it, it's dark and creepy down there. i heard kids complaining about how "creeped out" they were, and i personally found myself in slight panic when i literally could not see libby because of the darkness all around.) She still thought she wanted to go. Well, we got down to the kingdom of darkness and walked quickly by the tanks of snakes and paused to look at the owls and bats (so far owls are the only creatures of darkness i have any interest at all in seeing) and into the swampland we go, walking on a plank bridge around the kingdom, trying to see where we're going and keeping our eye out for gators. Boy did we see gators. I should have tried to count, but all in all we probably saw 50. Libby's first comment was, "are they free?" Yes and no, I reassured her. They are free to move about in the swamp but they are not free to come up here and get us. I kid you not, we were no more than 5 feet above them, if that. Other zoo-goers, you know what I'm talking about. This answer totally satisfied her. Below you can see the pictures that we took. I altered the lighting and contrast in a couple of them so you could see the alligator and the baby alligator behind the smiling (or trying to smile) girl. I asked her halfway through, "honey, do you like it down here or do you not like it down here very much?" (thinking I'd give her an easy out if she was looking for one, she was totally silent most of the time, but totally brave at a time that I was quite nervous. I mean, what's keeping those gators from leaping up and snapping at us as we pass by? Why are they staring at me like I'm delicious, and boy did the Lord do a great job of creating them to camouflage in their environments. Tylor kept saying, "there's one" and I remained shocked at how I had missed it.) Anyway, "I like it down here, I'm just a little bit sweaty" was Libby's response. SO, we continued through the kingdom of darkness, then got out of there to enjoy the monkeys, who gave us quite a show.

(those are watchful gator eyes peeking up out of the water at us.)

The silliness of the apes was a welcome relief in my book. Plus, the light of day was a bonus. Anyway, the pictures below show you the mama, who was busying herself by hanging from the grating and moving pieces of cardboard from one spot to another. It was pretty amazing to see her hard at work at that, and wonder just what she was doing, and why... anyway, as we all looked up, up, up at the mama the baby sneaked up on us! Right before Libby's very face was a little guy, and he took a liking to her.

He immediately came up to her and started kissing the glass. He's looking right at Libby, who is a bit overwhelmed, but she warmed up to him right away.

He's decided to lick the glass...

Libby "connects" with him.

She shows him what she can do with her tongue. She was very careful, under strict instruction from mama, to not let that tongue touch the glass.

Well, the two of them were so cute together that they began to draw a crowd. So, we kindly departed and let others have their fun with this little guy, and we headed to the penguins, who were pretty stoic, but beautiful as they stood and let the snow fall upon their heads. That's all of the zoo for this day! Surely more to come in the coming months...

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