The month of October is super exciting for me for many reasons. I am going to see Green Day on the 23rd, my cat won a photo contest and gets to have a photo session on the 16th, it is the 10th birthday of my company that I love, it is my 40th birthday (on the 10th) and I got to go to the zoo and get a behind the scenes tour and that is what this blog is about.
At the buttcrack of dawn on Sunday, my dad and I drove to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. My mom and brother and sister in law bought a tour for us that started at 9:30am. We thought the parking lot would be empty, because the zoo doesn’t open till noon, but there was a Breast Cancer event there, so, as my dad put it, there were “tens of millions of cars”. We parked “at least 20 miles away”. I caught a ton of Pokemon because there are a lot of Pokestops at the zoo and lots of Pokemon.
We went to the building and had to fill out forms saying it was ok if we were mauled and killed by animals, and that we would not sue the zoo. Then it asked us essay questions, which my dad refused to answer, and I wrote a lot of answers to. One of the questions was about things humans do to endanger wildlife – I had a field day with that one.
Our tour guide came and got us and we were the only two people so that was pretty awesome. We started out by meeting Crikey, the wallaby. His mom died when he was a baby, so he was raised by the zoo people and he is an ambassador. We fed him and we were allowed to pet him and he hopped and it was really cute.
We also met a raven named Kilimanjaro. We were not allowed to pet him, but he was very smart and could do a lot of tricks.
We went through the building to get to the golf cart thingy, and in the building we saw giant frogs and a turtle and a smaller frog.
THEN WE SAW GRIZZLY BEARS! I am not allowed to post the pictures I took because see, the way it works is this: they have a ginormous, really nice habitat area, but they also have a background area where they get vet care and things like that. And basically it’s a place they can chill if they do not want to go out in the big enclosure. But this area has bars, and they do not want you to take pictures of animals behind bars because it looks cruel, even though they are not actually in a cage. It looks like they are, and you know, internet people can do bad things with pictures. Anyway, the bears can sit, stand, shake – all kinds of things! But only if they want to. If they do not feel like it, that is fine. If they feel like doing it, they get extra treats. They are not forced to do anything. They were over 500 pounds each and like, 8 feet tall. We had to stand behind a railing but we were about three feet away from them!
Then we went to see Tom and Terry the tortoises and they are both 100 freaking years old! Terry was not social, but Tom was. I got to pet his arm and I think he liked it because he closed his eyes when I did. Here is a picture of Terry with his head pulled into his shell, Tom with his head sticking out of his shell, and me and my dad with Tom. Terry used to be Mary but then they found out he is a boy and not a girl, and they got made fun of on Saturday Night Live.
Then….WE WENT TO THE KOALA ENCLOSURE. Omg. First, do not get excited, they did not let me pet them. BUT…three of them were backstage and one was out in the exhibit and I got some good pictures! And we went out into the exhibit! Like, people were looking at us on display! The koala that was out there was asleep in a tree and I could not see him even though I was so close to him. Here is what it looks like to be on exhibit at the zoo.
THEN – guess what?! My friend Jen asked her friend who isan RVT at the zoo if he could let me meet an owl AND HE DID! I got to see a Great Barred Owl in his house and he blinked a lot and it was very cute. Then they took the Barn Owl (a smaller owl) out and I got to get SUPER close to her AND THEY LET HER FLY! She flew from one person to the other, about ten feet apart. Kevin, the RVT, was very nice and also he likes Harry Potter, so he is extra cool.
The night before I took my nieces and their friend (ages 13, 10 and 10) to a thing about nocturnal animals and we saw these owls.
I also saw (and pet) these dogs:
Then we went on a hike with a naturalist and it consisted of about 5 kids and 5 adults, and the naturalist lady was teaching stuff and asking questions and she said “Have humans adapted to live at night?” and the entire group said “no” at the same time that I SHOUTED enthusiastically “YES”. They laughed because they thought I made a joke, but I had to ask my niece “What is she talking about? I do plenty of stuff at night. We drive at night, some people work at night…I don’t get it” and the 13 year old had to explain that the lady meant are we nocturnal and can we naturally see in the dark. So that was special.
I caught a lot of Pokemon there, too.