Usually these things are a bit boring, but this year? They let us go to the zoo :-)

There was (kind of meh) lunch at the new Africa event center, which has the best chandeliers.


And then we pretty much just spent the afternoon wandering the zoo. image image

I didn't get a good picture, but there was an ostrich who was totally trying to pick a fight with a giraffe in the new open Africa exhibit they have. Poor giraffe just wanted to nap, and ostrich kept poking at its face.

We also fed giraffes! (That's coworker, not me.)


And other coworker got a great shot of one of the tigers.


Tigers make the weirdest noises... kind of like elephants with the flu. This one was mad at something, probably missing her friend, but she kept letting everyone know about it. Kind of creepy, in a rather cool way.
I love my zoo membership. I love being able to just decide to drive north, not pay exorbitant amounts of money for parking, and wander the zoo for an hour or two before I decide that's enough outside time for the day and run away. It's awesome.

This time, I finally had a chance to check out the new Heart of Africa exhibit - I hadn't been to it last year before it closed for winter, but it's pretty great, now that it's open again.


It's an open savannah area with a bunch of different animals all in the same space, which leads to fun interactions on occasion. Plus, some of the areas are connected to various enclosures, so animals that couldn't be in the same area at the same time still get to wander around and smell each other's presence. Pretty sure the cheetahs love being in there right after the warthog or ostrich :-)

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Cheetahs

I was also mostly in time for the cheetah run demo, which was really interesting. Apparently all the cheetahs are trained as animal ambassadors, so the keepers can be in the enclosure with them without it turning gruesome immediately :-P

The lions weren't having it with the showing off though. It was hot. They're cats. They slept.

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Lion

The giraffes were very interested though. Including during the cheetah demo. Apparently they get a kick out of all the commotion as well. Or maybe they're just looking for food.


And then I got to end the day with a baby moose. One month old. So adorable.

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Baby Moose
We had some interesting guests in the office last week, to help us raise interest at a student activities thing. Obviously, nothing else got done that day...


Penny is an Eastern Fox Snake, and tends to come to most outreach events, because she's actually quite chill and relaxed. Despite the fact that she spent some time trying to find a way to escape her terrarium at first.


She and Andy, our resident milk snake and lover of hoodie pockets and sleeve openings, eventually settled down though.

image image

It may have had something to do with how cold it was in the office that day. They ended up cuddling for warmth (not particularly effective when you're a reptile).


At least until we got them a heater. That, they approved of.

The awesome thing about a zoo membership is that you can go to the zoo for like an hour, and then run away as soon as people become overwhelming without having "wasted money" on the admission ticket. I like it :-)

It's WildLights season, which is great for holiday spirit, not that great for animal watching. I did get to see some macaws though, and the wolves were rather active (I think it was close to feeding time.)

Columbus Zoo

Though I could have lived without the bison getting feisty. That was a little freaky. Even if it was funny to watch them scare the crap out of the pronghorns in the enclosure.

But really, it was all about the lights. Which were pretty as usual. I like how they sort of color-coded each area with appropriate light colors - North America in blue and white, Asia in reds and oranges. Plus, lakeside light show to Disney tunes (and a hip hop version of "My Favorite Things" - no really).

Wildlights 2014 (2) Wildlights 2014 (4) Wildlights 2014 (3) Wildlights 2014 Wildlights 2014 (10) Wildlights 2014 (7) Wildlights 2014 (12) Wildlights 2014 (15)
Yes, I know I owe you France posts. Give it some time. There's a lot of photos to deal with.

Yesterday was my annual pilgrimage to Young's Dairy in Yellow Springs for the Wool Gathering fiber festival. As always, it was lovely. I try to get there when it opens, so the crowds aren't too bad, and the weather was absolutely perfect to spend the day mostly outside.

There were grumbly ducks being herded, as usual.

Wool Gathering 2014

Wool Gathering 2014

There were sheep, one of which I actually got to pet this year. Usually they're a bit more skittish.

Wool Gathering 2014

And llamas being uninterested in everything.

Wool Gathering 2014

And I got ice cream for lunch. Way too much ice cream, in fact. Do not get two scoops of ice cream at Young's. It's impossible to finish.

Wool Gathering 2014

Yes, I did also buy yarn. Less than I expected though, without feeling like I missed out on anything. I like it. The whole "shopping from stash" thing seems to be really good training.
Before it goes away again for what seems like forever. Did I mention it's cold again?

This weekend though, it was glorious. A bit chilly, but sunny, and generally lovely. So I went to the zoo (I love my zoo membership). It's great when it's not summer yet, because so few people are there, and the ones that are tend to be photographers, not screaming children :-)

The reptiles seemed to like the weather - lots of activity going on in those displays.

Columbus Zoo

Of course, this guy was not impressed. He was hanging out, and not moving at all.

Columbus Zoo

The flamingos, on the other hand, were really excited. Must have been feeding time or something.

Columbus Zoo

"Tell me I'm not impressive. Come on, I dare you."

Baby flamingo!

Columbus Zoo

And baby manatee!

Columbus Zoo

And grumpy turtle. I love grumpy turtle. He's so funny.

Columbus Zoo
I love being able to decide to go to the zoo, wander a bit, then decide it's too crowded and run away without spending more than a bit of gas money :-)

Hank decided he wanted the hay in that barrel. Right. This. Second.

Elephant 3

Flamingos build weird nests.

Flamingos 2

Lazy Sun Bear is lazy.

Sun Bear 1

And grumpy Pallas Cat is grumpy. Always.

Pallas Cat

I also saw baby servals. With giant ears! But the glass was way too reflect-y for photos.
Like, horrible. Wow.

But hey, I come bearing cute animal pictures! From the National Zoo in Washington, even :-)

Tiger 1

Why yes, tigers are indeed just big cats :-)

Elephant 5

I love elephants. Such cool animals.

Lions 1

These guys were kind of creepy. We walked up, and they turned around and started staring at us, following us until we'd gone out of sight. I swear, they were sizing us up for lunch.

Gorilla 2

This guy, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with us.

Gorilla 3

Nothing whatsofreakingever.

Cheetahs 2

Neither did these guys.

American Otter

This guy was busy swimming laps. (American Otter, in case you can't tell.)

Sea Lion 7

These dudes, however, really wanted to talk.

Sea Lion 2

Specifically about those crumbs on the floor. See them, right there? Come on, just pass them over?

Sea Lion 4

No? Ok then, we'll just get real food instead.
It's basically the perfect yarn festival. Good food and ice cream, animals, and yarn. Oh, so much yarn. So much yarn I wanted to buy. But I was good and stuck to yarn I had planned on buying, for a very specific project. Yeah, I know. I barely believe it myself.

Hey look, pictures! With hovertext!

Wool Gathering 2012

Wool Gathering 2012

Wool Gathering 2012

Wool Gathering 2012
Apparently yesterday was "animals being goofy" day at the zoo. Jess and I saw A LOT of stuff going on :-)

The tortoises were getting their exercise...

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

The gorilla mom was pulling leaves off the trees outside the enclosure, while the baby was doing acrobatics and the dad was, obviously, annoyed...

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

The turtle was doing really fast laps while the baby manatee was stalking a diver...

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

One of the Pallas cats was actually moving (I've never seen either of them move).

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Hank was flapping his ears, while Beco was scratching his belly and the two females were actually running through the enclosure, trumpeting like they'd just smelled a lion.

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Of course the baby tigers were being adorable.

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

While mom just wanted to get out of the heat.

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

I think the bears were my favorite though. After getting his leg stuck on a tree trunk in the middle of the enclosure, this happened in the bear's pool...

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

He nonchalantly pretended like he meant to do that, while his brother apparently giggled to himself (yes, that bear is blowing bubbles).

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Poor Buckeye apparently felt bullied, and proceeded to beat up Brutus - nicely though. They were very considerate of each other.

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012

Columbus Zoo Sept 2012
Isn't it awesome to have a job where overnights on a Lake Erie island are part of the job description? :-)


_DSC0067 (2)



There was fancy new lab equipment...

_DSC0060 (2)

... and some hardcore studying done by other people :-P

_DSC0023 (2)

And birds...



... and a puppy...


... and apparently even fish now pose for me.


I got to do science! :-) Fake science, but you can't tell from the photo (I think).


And I got to hold a milk snake :-D


Though Kristin does it better.

I know, long time no see. In my defense, I had the cold from hell earlier this week, and my head still isn't entirely unstuffed again.

In a brief flash of genius, I realized that I could easily combine my planned "go for a walk today" with "check out the State Fair" today if I took the bus and walked from campus over to the fairgrounds :-) It even almost worked out - apparently 15th and the fairgrounds are separated by train tracks, but I could get to 17th from where I was (even though I probably should never take that particular route after, say, 4pm), and 17th goes straight into the fairgrounds. Where there were loads of animals (hovertext included with images, because I can).

IMG_0120 IMG_0131 IMG_0132 IMG_0134 IMG_0135 IMG_0136 IMG_0138 IMG_0139 IMG_0140 IMG_0148 IMG_0150 IMG_0152 IMG_0153 IMG_0154 IMG_0155

I also checked out the crafting entries, but took no pictures of the knitting because it was behind glass. There were some really nice pieces, however, if I was allowed to enter, I do think I'd have a fair chance at a place ribbon at least. (Did I mention I'm not allowed to prepare a State Fair entry because I might win money? I love my visa.)

I did take pictures of an awesome quilt though. See how it's all basic and tie-dye, but not looking that complicated at first?


This is one of those squares up close.


Yeah. Amazing.

If you're wondering why there are no horse pictures... I couldn't find a single horse. Anywhere. I found the barn, and there were shavings and horse manure, but no horses. I'm kind of assuming they come in next week or something.
I still owe you one more set of cute animal pictures from Baltimore, don't I? Well, have some extras to make up for my slacker habits.








The cheetah meowed at me. I don't know.

It was really hot.

What animals could, spent the day in water, obviously.


Or they were eating frozen fruit juice.
I love aquaria. Just... love them. The Baltimore National Aquarium is beautiful despite being kind of small and weirdly built. One element I adored was this central atrium area, where you could look down from any level right into the stingray tank. Which always looks like it would be really nice to just float in and hang out with the rays... until one of the sharks swims by :-P

One of the special exhibits was jellyfish - again, not a big exhibit, but fun.

No, this picture is not upside down. Weirdest jellyfish ever.

The octopus was feeling antisocial, but deemed it ok to at least kind of look at the camera.

The nautilus wasn't having any of it - didn't even twitch at me.

This guy, however, couldn't get enough of posing for the camera. Every time I raised my hand to take another picture, he turned around and started posing. Not sure if he was just that entertained, or if there was a light he was going for, but it was too funny.

Isn't he cute? :-)


May. 19th, 2012 09:55 am
Black Swan


Now if you'll excuse me, I have yarn to buy and people to hang out with :-)

Bonus turtle :-)

I had planned it so well. Made sure there were backup batteries in the camera case, since the battery warning had been flashing since the last zoo trip. Made sure they were actual new batteries instead of empty ones that just ended up in the same bin again. Perfect planning, right?

And then I left the camera case at home.

So instead of a bunch of cool pictures, you get tulips.

And red pandas that were actually moving around instead of sleeping in their house. I guess that was my reward for walking through the gates before the greeters were even there :-P

And that's when the batteries died. So I don't have pictures of the elephant chasing Canada geese (hilarious - he was actually swiping at them with his trunk) or of the tiger looking at me like I was entirely insane. I'll just have to go back another weekend and try again - because I can :-) I love my zoo membership.

Making Use

Mar. 24th, 2012 10:20 pm
Last weekend I finally made some good use of my zoo membership and spent an hour and a half there in the morning, before the rains and the actual irritating crowds. Which means for once I didn't have to powertrek through all of the exhibits, but as able to spend more time in just a few of the areas. I'm thinking I'll do that more often - since I basically already spent the money on parking and admission, it's just an occasional coffee or snack (since they do let you bring in water and stuff), and going relatively early means I get to actually see some fun zookeeper stuff.

Like a rhino having its teeth brushed :-)

And obviously spitting all over the window in the process.

And Hank, the new elephant. He's actually kind of pretty with the freckles :-) And apparently also wanted his teeth brushed.

Sleepy Mexican Wolf, slightly blurry due to distance.

Hungry baby moose! Turns out there were two, but the other wasn't showing me much more than its butt. Which wasn't all that photogenic.

Random attempt at artistry. Mostly I still think it's wrong to have such foll-bloom daffodils in the middle of March. Some of the ones by the movie theater are already wilting again.

As usual, I walked up to the enclosure, where some kid had been asking his parents to make the grizzly move for like five minutes. I nicely say "hey teddy bear," grizzly gets up (takes a pee in the empty pond - thanks dude) and wanders over to the full pond for some more chilled naps. But this was too cute of an angle not to go with.

GO BOBCATS! Isn't he pretty? :-)

Evolution apparently ran out of yellow when this duck was created, and went "Blue bill? Oh, why not."

Then Evolution probably got hammered and created the platypus.

These are the photos that make me incredibly impressed with my crappy camera.

And last, but not least: elephants playing fetch.

You're very welcome for that visual :-)
On Wednesday, mum and I went to the Duisburg Zoo, kind of like we did quite a lot when I was little :-) I also did an internship at the zoo after 9th grade, working with birds, dolphins and seals (which also included pigs and polar bears, among other things). Occasionally I still think I should have been a zookeeper, but in Germany that's never really going to be an option unless I'd like to go back and learn the actual trade. Might be possible in the US given the biology degree, but nobody gives anyone a visa to be a zookeeper :-) Anyways.

I love zoos in the middle of the week - there's usually nobody there, you don't have to fight with people to get a look at the animals, and there are no screaming children banging on aquarium glass to get the fishies to move. (It's a nurse shark, kid. It ain't gonna go anywhere unless I toss you in the tank, ok?) Being pretty much by yourself also means you can get really close to the animals without having them freak out at the noise and run away. So there were awesome pictures aplenty.

Baby African Wild Dogs. There were more than two, but I couldn't resist the guy on the right looking for more food. They have this ski-lift-type wire thing above the enclosure where they hang chunks of meat from a fake zebra and then have that zip across for the dogs to chase. It was pretty cool :-)

Dad was very pretty, despite the fact that he seemed to have only one eye. For some reason he apparently didn't have anything to say within the family - even the little ones occasionally chased him away from lunch. Not like he ended up going hungry though.

The armadillos were awesome - I wanted to pick one up and snuggle it, and I'm not sure they would have minded. So cute.

The emu didn't like me. Or maybe it didn't like being photographed. Either way, it totally gave me the evil eye.

Elephants are awesome. Note how she's nicely avoiding the electric fencing wire while still eating whatever grows on the other side of the wall.

German flamingoes are pinker than American flamingoes. Must be all the socialism.

Must have been a rough night for the koalas. Party on, mates.

I've never been this close to a lion before - for some reason I thought they would be smaller. They are, in fact, huge. And gorgeous.

I don't know what this guy's problem was - I believe we may have been too close to the nest or something. Because yes, a hip-high fence was all that separated visitors from big birds with sort-of-teeth. Good thing I know better than to stick my hand in there.

Sea Lion Family Drama

"Mom, he bit me!" "Shut up, I'm sleeping. Go play somewhere else."

"See, told you she'd get mad. Besides, that wasn't biting. This is biting!"

"Sigh... kids."



January 2017



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