Monday, April 25, 2011

Greetings From Ohio

My family and I spent a delightful day at the Columbus Zoo with my friend Lori, whom I have known for nearly two decades -- mostly in online fandoms, though we met a few times back when Star Trek was still a television franchise. We had been to the zoo several years ago but only saw a third of it because of a massive thunderstorm, so today we got to see the rest, including several sections that are new, like a huge arctic bear exhibit, where the sister polar bears were pacing sedately compared to the two wrestling brown bears. We saw too many animals to list, some of the highlights being a pair of gorillas who had adopted young gorillas abandoned by their mothers; an Australia exhibit with ninja mice, fisher cats, tree kangaroos, a kookaburra, and a kiwi; a large collection of snakes and reptiles, including a few that we got to pet; a very hyper echidna in an enclosure with a sleepy koala; langur monkeys swinging from one another's tails; several manatees in the zoo's large aquarium; and numerous great cats, every single one of which was either asleep or lounging around lazily.

But we were also enchanted with the zoo itself, which has an attached amusement park and water slides that we never got close enough to get a good look at. We had lunch at the food court -- we'd brought sandwiches in case there weren't veggie options, but in fact there were several, and we split cheese fries, plus we got Klondike bars at the polar bear enclosure. There are many tulip beds and flowering trees planted around the enclosures, a path to the river, and lots of local songbirds. We spotted a few rabbits living wild in the zoo's open areas and our first Canada goose chick of the season, just one of the dozens of Canada geese who have taken up residence in the zoo along with mallards and some domestic geese. Near the end of the afternoon we went to see the new animal rescue show, which is a lot like the one at Sea World with dogs and cats from local shelters performing along with wild animals. Then we said farewell to Lori and came back to the hotel to finish our leftovers, since we're going home on Monday.

The Columbus Zoo was decorated for Easter, though between the holiday and the rain, there weren't a lot of people around. In fact, there may have been more geese.

We visited the lorikeet landing, where birds landed on us and ate out of our hands.

Lori and I posed for a photo outside the home of the manatees, all of whom were injured or abandoned in the wild and can't survive there.

Adam takes a photo in the zoo's beautiful pheasant enclosure.

The Humboldt penguins were grumpy and refused to come outside on a rainy morning at the end of moulting season.

The brown bears are named for Ohio State's mascot -- Brutus and Buckeye.

These are two of a large herd of kangaroos who were being trained while we were in their enclosure. They can leap across the paths for zoo visitors.

This is Colo, the first gorilla ever born in a zoo in 1956. She has children and grandchildren at the zoo now.

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