Summer Zoo

Our Colorful Posse

Our Colorful Posse

When I was a kid, I preferred school over summer. School was actually ‘more interesting’ in those days, we didn’t need to study much but we did a lot of field trips and activities. During the summer though, my friends and I were left to entertain ourselves with almost no help, no TV or video games or toys. I was bored after I scoured the library on the compound and ran out of books to read. The only summer I got to travel overshadowed the rest and stood out distinctively in my memory.

Now, I love summer time. As all parents know, kids rule most of our time. During the year, everything wraps around school work with a relatively regular routine. Summer time is a whole different ball game. We don’t have a set schedule to go by but more flexibility and opportunity to do other things and travel.

Summer is also time for my son, although not by his design,;to explore through themed camps (Doctor, Architect, President, Band, Lawyer, Photographer, etc.), lessons (Chess, Guitar, Tennis, etc.), travel and lots of readings. My goal is to create opportunities for him to experience a broad spectrum of life, learn and maybe stumble across his passion, something he could put his heart and soul into, something he would stay with the rest of his life, something that energizes and makes him happy!

Thereby, instead of slacking around and getting as much TV and video games as possible the entire time, what my son wouldn’t have minded enduring, this summer was some of those and a rich, colorful menagerie of camps, guitar, tennis, volley ball, movies, sleepovers, family vacations and visits and trips.

One highlight of the summer was the coming of my sister and nieces. It was their first time back to North America since they moved back to China in 2006. My elder niece, Tina, who is about my son Ben’s age, was especially exulted to be back. She tried Jet Skis and Kayaks right at our backyard; she even offered to mow the lawn because she had never done it before. The two older kids got along well the majority of the time and even though there was some drama between the two preteens and little Karen, my four year niece, the kids had a blast. During the girls’ sojourn, we took our beautiful, restless herd to NC Zoo.

NC Zoo is located two and half hours away in Greensboro. It is a fantastic zoo with a garden like setting. A perfectly wooded area, there is plenty sunshine to go around and enough shade to keep one cool in the same time. It is a garden, a zoological garden, wherein are kept some of the most fascinating wildlife. For those of us who are not adventurous enough for the real wilderness, it is as good as it gets satisfying our curiosity for the wild.

North American Exhibit
The zoo is organized into North America and African exhibit. We started from the North America exhibit on the west side of the zoo. The walk through the three mile pathway led to a huge, fearsome alligator, bumbling and clumsy bears that you wish you could cuddle and the agile and fleet dolphins.

Cougar the Big Cat

Cougar the Big Cat


“The cougar (Puma concolor), also puma, mountain lion, or panther, depending on region, is a mammal of the Felidae family, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere,[3] extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major New World habitat type.”
A Huge Snake Stretching

A Huge Snake Stretching


I cringed the moment I laid eyes on that humongous alligator but it was even more chilling when I zoomed in my camera and saw its teeth and eyes close up.
“An alligator is a crocodilian in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. There are two living alligator species: the American Alligator and the Chinese Alligator. The Alligator has been described as ‘a living fossil from the Age of Reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years’.”
The Cooling Dolphin Enclave

The Cooling Dolphin Enclave


These dolphins looked like playful kids dipping in to cool off.
Napping Polar Bear

Napping Polar Bear


I was surprised to see a polar bear, a native to the Artic Ocean and its surrounding sea, kept in this kind of habitat where I found no hint to its snow covered natural home.
“The IUCN now lists global warming as the most significant threat to the polar bear, primarily because the melting of its sea ice habitat reduces its ability to find sufficient food. Sea ice melting will also cause changes in their mating, and traveling patterns. The IUCN states, ‘If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years.’” How sad!
A very cute Arctic Fox

A very cute Arctic Fox

Three Elks

Three Elks

Bison

Bison

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Sonora Desert
Sonora Desert, a dome shaped glass conservatory, where a variety of cactus and humming birds could be seen among others, ends the North America exhibit and commences the African exhibit.
Cactus with Gorgeous Bloom

Cactus with Gorgeous Bloom

A Humming Bird

A Humming Bird

African Exhibit
Following the two mile circling path serpentine through the African section, we encountered the placid, yet formidable gorillas, the frisky, frolicsome monkeys and the august king of the jungle.
Mighty Gorilla

Mighty Gorilla


Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-dwelling herbivores that inhabit the forests of Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under debate as of 2008) either four or five subspecies. The DNA of gorillas is 98%–99% identical to that of a human, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.
Meditating Gorilla

Meditating Gorilla

Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Butterfly Kiss

Butterfly Kiss

Majestic Lion King

Majestic Lion King

Very Crimson Berry

Very Crimson Berry

The Zebra Pair

The Zebra Pair


Aren’t the white and black stripes wondrous?
“Zebras are odd-toed ungulates of the Equidae family native to eastern, southern and southwestern Africa. They are best known for their distinctive white and black stripes, which come in different patterns unique to each individual. They are generally social animals and can be seen in small harems to large herds.”
Elephant the Giant

Elephant the Giant

Monkey with Trailing Tail

Monkey with Trailing Tail


What a distinctive long tail. “Abyssinian Colobus are the most arboreal of African Monkeys. They live high among the crown of the trees and rarely descend to the ground.”
Antelopes

Antelopes

Most Handsome Eagle-Bateleur Eagle

Most Handsome Eagle-Bateleur Eagle

It was a wonderful day. Despite some summer heat, there was a contagious glee and energy permeating from the conjunction of the kids, animals and the natural ambience, and that, I perceived, must have aroused the kid and the animal in the grownups to varied degree. With ice cream stop and lunch break in between, the kids did us proud. Even the four year old Karen stayed up well until the last hour or so, when we procured a stroller to her rescue.
Riding the Giant Grasshopper at KidsZone

Riding the Giant Grasshopper at KidsZone

Dauntless 4 Year Old Taunting A Bison

Dauntless 4 Year Old Taunting A Bison

Little Karen Fell Asleep On the Tram

Little Karen Fell Asleep On the Tram

Our Colorful Posse

Our Colorful Posse


For more info on the zoo, see: http://www.nczoo.org/
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3 Responses

  1. Great pictures! The zoo was fun 🙂

  2. This is a beautiful article and great pictures, it makes me to have a plan to go!

  3. Dear Fan, your kids would love it. Hope you get to go and have fun.

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