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.

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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.)

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

Columbus Zoo June 2015  Baby Moose
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)
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.
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
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.

IMG_6219

IMG_6217

IMG_6213

IMG_6204

IMG_6203

IMG_6194

IMG_6208

The cheetah meowed at me. I don't know.
IMG_6206

It was really hot.
IMG_6196

What animals could, spent the day in water, obviously.
IMG_6223

IMG_6221

Or they were eating frozen fruit juice.
IMG_6222
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? :-)

Huh?

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



Kookaburra



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."


I finally beat YouTube into submission, so here are the videos from the zoo :-)

Tiger... making weird noises. Sad noises. Random noises. I have no idea why. He was alone in the enclosure at the time, so maybe he was lonely.



Monkeys being monkeys. Note the epic fail on the branch grabbing, as well as the baby monkey being awesome.



Polar bear cliffdiving. It took her a while to get going, and I still have no editing software, so skip to about 3:30 for the good stuff. Feel free to mute, as there's way too much kid noise in this one, and you won't miss anything if you skip the sound.


I love zoos... and the Columbus Zoo is pretty awesome. They opened the Polar Frontier exhibit a little while ago, and checking it out before I left seemed like a good way to spend the day yesterday. And yes, it was totally worth it. I have awesome video of a cliffdiving polar bear, but I first need to get some editing software to cut the three minutes of "polar bear standing on top of the cliff thinking about doing, well, anything." I'll figure that out later. I also have video of a tiger, but YouTube won't let me upload anything. I'll also figure that out later. How about some animal pictures instead?

I'm pretty sure these guys are carrying eggs, which means they'd be males. Of course, they could also just be potbellied seahorses. Nature has that kind of sense of humor.



Arctic Foxes are cute. So are those bats, actually.

    

Because I have to: Go Bobcats! :-)



More cuteness...

    

    

    

    

Isn't he gorgeous?



And this is Fluffy. Small child included for scale.

I'm finally getting to post about this, because for some reason I haven't felt like putting things together... but it's better now, so here we go :)

As usual, Sunday was a gorgeous day - I'm kind of ocnvinced that someone in charge of this thing has made a deal with the devil. When I left around 10, it was cloudy and sort of cold, and all I could think was "please don't let it rain, please don't let it rain..." Driving to Columbus wasn't bad, it only sprinkled, so that was a good sign, and about an hour before the actual show was supposed to start, the sky started to clear up. By the time the bagpipers played the national anthem, it was sunny with a few fluffy clouds, and by the time the first horse came on course, we had bright blue skies with not a cloud to see. Spooky, eh?

I think I love this event so much because for $15 (plus Ticketmaster charges - bastards), you get to see people who just came back from the Olympics. In Columbus. At an event that benefits a domestic violence prevention organization. Yeah, I need to move closer to that :)

This is Todd Minikus, who ended up winning, with Pavarotti. Gorgeous horse, and a really entertaining ride. He's fast, but controlled... just a real pleasure to watch.



Beezie Madden is one of those Olympics people - I forget what she won, but she won something. This horse is a younger horse called Danny Boy, another beautiful horse, if a bit green - he got very excited at some points. I love watching this woman ride though, she's so calm and supportive, a really good example of the right way to do things :)



Margie Engle, another Olympic team member, with Hidden Creek's Pamina. I saw them last year too, I believe, and they were fun to watch, but something was off. Maybe just tired from other events, but they didn't make the jumpoff. Still great to watch though - the woman is pretty short to begin with, and looks even smalle on a large warmblood.



McClain Ward, another huge name in showjumping, with another mare by the name of Goldika. Have I mentioned that I love the fact that this is one of the few sports where men and women compete together? And usually the results are pretty evenly split. Also, on a random side note: there were three stallions in the field, all ridden by women. There's a bad joke in there somewhere, but I'll let y'all leave it in the comments for me ;) Anyways, back to ponies!



Laura Chapot with Church Road. I love this horse. I want to take him home with me - even though he'd probably kill me. He was just absolutely gorgeous.



And last, but not least, Hot Irish Guy. Otherwise known as Darragh Kerins, winner of last year's show, with Night Train. These two are crazy. Crazy wild, crazy fast, and incredibly entertaining to watch :) They made the jumpoff too, but got too slow all of a sudden... no idea what happened, but it looked like the horse was sick and tired of working and got a little obnoxious towards the end. Still a great ride though.



Why did I take pictures of everyone over the same jump? Because it was the one right in front of me, and it gave me the best pictures. The course is always really pretty though, and from a different seat, I could probably have taken good pictures of another jump. I just love going to this show.

Also saw Terri, who just got kicked off Project Runway last week or so. She got a little bit snotty at the end, but nowhere as bad as she-who-must-not-be-named, so I was glad to see that a couple of people came up to her and had her picture taken. Oh, and I admit this was more fun: Armadillo! So cute. I want one :)



By the way, does it annoy anyone that I don't cut pictures? Cause I could, I just like it better when I can see them without having to click through a cut :)

Catching Up

Jul. 6th, 2008 02:58 pm
It's been a while yet again... guess I should do some more catching up :)

Went to the zoo again, this time with a different part of the crowd - loads of fun yet again, and there are pictures this time (there were last time, but I didn't bother uploading them).

Bobcat, not sleeping for once. Apparently it meowed at Alan too.

Bobcat 04

I love the bat exhibit. People might say they're icky (in fact, one lady walked up and went "ewww" to her kids - way to be a role model, lady), but I like bats, I think they're cute. How can you not want to take this home?

Bat 03

Sleepy Koala :) In fact, the other one was feeling harrassed by the zookeepers that were feeding it, so it was climbing back and forth on the trees, but I didn't get a good picture, so you get dopey!koala.

Koala 05

In case you don't think tigers are just big kittens, I give you this:

Tiger 23

And because all posts about animals need to contain at least one gratuitous shout-out to my ability to make animals pose, have a wolf who decided to come visit right as we walked up to the window. It's a timberwolf, I believe.

Wolf 06

After the zoo, we went to the Book Loft in German Village, which has to be the most convoluted but awesome bookstore ever. 20-some rooms full of books... so much fun. I got the completed works of Hans Christian Andersen for $20, in blue leather with gold edging no less, and a cocktail book for $5. Now I need to get some of these supplies... a trip to Columbus may be in order at some point next week :) Had dinner at what I think is the original Max&Erma's (a Columbus company), and drove home in a thunderstorm, but that's ok. German Village would be fun to live in too - it's got a very European look to it, and no cheesy fake German things as far as I could tell. Well, Schmidt's, but we'll forgive them that one. They do have the Book Loft, after all.

What else? How about some movies? Sara and I saw a bunch of them before she moved.

Incredible Hulk: So much better than the Eric Bana version, and really quite enjoyable. I like Edward Norton, so the casting helped, and Liv Tyler was better than whoever played Betty last time too. She's a bit too Elven in everything she does for me, so if you hate the breathy voice, you may hate her, but it worked in context, and I got a kick out of Norton, and out of the writing... lost of funny one-liners in between the gloom and doom of the emotionally conflicted Hulk guy. Oh, and the brought in the guy who played Hulk in the original TV show! So awesome :)

Wall-E: Totally adorable. The entire movie revolves around two characters who can say about three words each, but it totally works. Also, total diss on Microsoft and shout-out to Apple. It was funny. And really, totally cute. Good Pixar movie. Definitely.

Doctor Who is done. Wow. What an ending. I was ok with it, although sometimes the writing on New Who gets sloppy and inconsistent. I'm kind of hoping Moffat will get rid of that... let's just decide if the Doctor likes or hates guns, and get rid of the whole "kill the evil race that will destroy the universe? Nah, I'll just look conflicted and deal with these guys yet again in the next season." I mean, genocide bad, yes, but Daleks don't learn, obviously. Even Dalek Caan was ok with killing off everyone. Good on you, Blue!Doctor :) And you got Rose :P Guess the cybermen are coming back for the specials... it would be nice if they decided to bring back more interesting villains eventually. Like the Master again, or the Rani.

Oh yeah, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. It's... interesting. Good, very entertaining, and really not as much about sex as you would think :) After the first two episodes, that part really becomes the background for some really interesting drama. Looking forward to the next season, and I do love Billie Piper. Glad she's getting work after Who.

Anything else... did I mention Friday Night Lights already? I think I did. Good show :)

Is that long enough for you all? Next time might have knitting content, and possibly involve a bike :)

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