Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Zoo!

In order to squeeze a little bit more value out of the super zoom lens that I rented last week, on the day it was due, I grabbed Nate, and we headed up to the City to go to the Zoo. A membership is pretty reasonable, and it's a great place to test out lenses, and see stuff that's out of the ordinary.

We stopped at Starbucks (a treat for Nate, and a little bit of a 'neener, neener, see what you missed' to Skip, who chose to stay home and sleep) on the way, and got to the zoo shortly after it opened. We still managed to score a free parking space, just outside the zoo grounds.

As I was hunting around for ID, to renew my membership, Nate was holding onto the camera.

"Can I take your picture, mom?"

That's my boy! I'll make a photographer out of him yet.

And here you can see the big zoom lens, already mounted on the monopod, and ready to be put on the camera body.

Nate was ready to see what he could see.

First up: Leaping Lemurs!

Then, a trip by the Mandrill enclosure.

Nate was amused by the Mandrill's brightly coloured butt. But he wanted to see the penguins more.

He could have stayed (upwind) at the penguin pool all day. But it did get stinky, that's sure. The penguins seemed amused by Nate, as well.

The big cats were next.

You know, I never really had the idea of scale when watching lions on the TV. I kind of thought "ah, just a big cat. I probably could take him in a fair fight. Yeah..." And then we came across this guy.

You know what? They're really QUITE big. And I was thinking "Whew, good thing that there's a deep moat between him and us. And he can't get to us, that's for sure.

And then he looked over at me, and headed to the stairs.

Oh Aslan, you are not a tame lion, are you? And as you're heading down those stairs, I'm thinking, uneasily, "Wow, now that I think about it, that moat really isn't that deep at all. I bet if he really wanted to, he could jump up the side of that moat, and just come right over here, and eat me for breakfast."

And I got a little bit nervous, and started planning out my escape route, until the lion found a deeper piece of shade, and flopped down, out of the line of sight of all the pesky zoo visitors.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Someone get this rhino a tissue!

Dude. Wipe your nose!

But before I could jump the fence with my box of Kleenex, I was distracted by a bit of local fauna.

Nate was distracted by the penny flattening machines that were scattered around the zoo.

Hey, I like the idea of a 51 cent souvenir. In fact, this summer is going to be the Summer of Flattened Pennies. Just imagine the savings:

"Hey mom, can I have this expensive ice cream snack that's being advertised all over this touristy zone?"

"No, but here's a penny and two quarters. Go make yourself a souvenir from this tourist trap."

We walked around a little bit more, and found ourselves in Australia.

This red kangaroo should've been a little bit more diligent.

Right after I took this photo, this zoo vet...

...shot him in the butt with that red-tufted dart full of medicine. No mention was made of what the medicine was, but that was some sweet little dart gun he had.

I think the most fun, though, was the prairie dog and meerkat zone.

Nate liked pretending to be a prairie dog. He also spent time trying to count all the members in the colony.

The little prairie dogs didn't seem bothered by him at all.

But for me, it was all about the meerkats.

I see you!

And I love your eyelashes, little lady.

And how's this for some serious bokeh?

Bye bye, meerkats!

But we weren't done! It was time to visit the big birds! Hello turkey vulture. Love your pervious nostril.

Tell me this bird didn't want to peck my eyes out:

Nate is reading the Guardians of Ga'Hoole right now, and the main character (or one of them) is a barn owl. He was pretty interested in the barn owl that was hanging out in the shade.

And then one of the zoo staff pointed up above my head. He said "With that lens, it would be a shame for you to miss this..."

Once again, the local fauna captivates.

We were hoping to see some cool things in the Insect House, but there were no docents in the room, just a bunch of un-chaperoned children running around screaming, while their mothers talked about manicures and spa days. So Nate and I took a look at a few things and escaped.

But not before I took a shot of this black widow spider guarding her egg case.

I foresee a number of trips to the zoo this summer. It's really a quick trip, when all is said and done, and from now until next June, it's FREE!

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