Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tigers! And Lions and Bears! Oh My!

Today Declan and I invited Aunt Paula to go to the zoo with us for Tiger Day! We were invited as members to an opening of the tiger exhibit.We decided to spend the morning at the zoo before the big event. We arrived at the zoo to beautiful sun! When Paula opened the car door to get Declan out he smiled and said "go zoo!" First we saw the zebras. They were really close to the viewing are. We hadn't seen them that close before.

 Next we walked over to visit the most glorious of all animals: the hippos!

After seeing the hippos we saw the beautiful giraffes and the lions. The cubs have grown so much since the beginning of the month. They don't look like babies anymore! 

 Next we watched the wart hogs sun bathe and the meerkats snooze.

The orangutans were up next. They too were enjoying the sunshine. One was in a hammock lounging and two more were underneath gunny sacks resting. 

and a siamang... 

Next we headed to the Northern Trail to see Declan's favorite otters and the bears. While we were there we had an amazing experience with one of the bears. One of the brothers was resting by the water. The other came down for a swim. He swam right up to the glass directly in front of us. He splashed and put on a tremendous show. We could see his huge claws and paws. He stood up on his hind legs right in front of us and we could see how massive he was! It was amazing. He must have showed off for 10 minutes. We enjoyed every minute. While we watched the otters jumped into the water on the other side and put on another show. Declan walked back and forth watching them and saying "otter, otter." 

Here's Declan checking out the wolf pups and the wolves. 

After the excitement of the bear being so close to us, we weren't sure the day could get better! We walked over to see the three tiger brothers in the new habitat. The brothers are 1 1/2 years old, just like Declan! They are named Eko, Olan and Liam. All three are incredibly handsome. We really enjoyed their habitat. It's beautifully constructed with an emphasis on making it look like a Malaysian wild land. The sloth bears and the Asian small clawed otters live there with the tigers also. Paula held us a spot in front so we would be able to see the keepers introduce the tigers. Declan and I had snack and then wandered around the exhibit. Declan stopped on the other side of the enclosure to check out the rope and light keeping him away from the tigers. We had yet to see any tigers. As he stood there playing, one of the Malaysian tigers wandered down and stopped right in front of Declan. He stared and stared and Declan looked right back at him! He even laid down to watch Declan. Eventually other people realized what was going on and ran over to see him too! 
See how close we are? I'm not using a zoom at all! 

Declan and I walked back over to join Paula. The two keepers brought down squirt bottles of evaporated milk that they use to train the tigers. They told us about the tigers personalities and then showed us a few tricks the tigers can do like laying down, standing up and sitting. It was a really interesting talk and the tigers were incredible. Standing on their hind legs, they made the zoo keepers look small! 

 We followed the tiger prints to find the tigers.

They even had a tiger for Declan to high five! 

Last we went to the penguin exhibit. The penguins were really active today and were swimming all over the place. 

After the penguins we made our way to the exit. We saw the cool signs when we were leaving and had to snap a couple more photos. 

We headed for home after a wonderful day together. Paula treated us to Papa Murphy's. While that baked I got to show her all the yard work we've been having Declan do! We all enjoyed a nice dinner together. Brad made it home just in time for pizza. How thankful we are for beautiful days with family.