Friday, June 16, 2006

Easter Monday at the Detroit Zoo

Two months ago I made a trek to the Detroit Zoo. I didn't own a camera then (and don't really own one now as I just ordered it yesterday – YIKES), so had to wait for my co-worker who went with me to send me the pics. I got them probably a month ago, but have had so much more interesting ways to bore you that I hadn't gotten around to telling you all about it. Of course, it's now been two months, so God/Valen/Thor/Horus only knows if I remember the day or what I remember of the day. But I will include lots of cute animal pictures!

The Zoo trip started when there was the possibility of it closing thanks to the shortsightedness of the Detroit City Council. My one co-worker told me she hadn't been (she only just moved here within the past year or so) and we decided to rectify that situation.

As many of you might not know, the Detroit Zoo no longer has elephants. Last year Wanda & Winky were sent off to PAWS Animal Refuge in California where they'd have plenty of land to roam and where it's a tad bit warmer than Michigan. They had developed really bad arthritis due to Michigan's winters as well as not enough room to roam. I forget the exact number, but elephants in the wild roam a number of miles a day and even though their exhibit at the Detroit Zoo was significantly larger than the AZA (American Zoological Association) mandates, it was not enough for the elephants. Anyway, check out these pictures of the two grand girls in their new home.

When the day finally came (Easter Monday which we had off), we had quite the group consisting of Co-Worker #1, Co-Worker #1, Nephew (not of Terror Children fame), Nephew's Friend, Niece (again, not of Terror Children fame), and Niece's Boyfriend. The week up to Easter (if I remember correctly) had been beautiful, but Easter Monday dawned sunny, but windy and chilly. I dressed for it, though, because I'm an adult. The teenagers showed up in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops. I could see my niece standing in line in her little shirt shivering. I made my nephew go back to the car to get her hoodie since she wasn't dressed for running. Yeah, I know, she should have gone back for it herself, but as I was already inside the Zoo, I would have been punishing myself and having to stand there longer waiting for them. Besides that, the most important thing was that the penguin feeding started at 10:30 and I didn't want to miss it. It's great fun watching the woman dealing with the more aggressive penguins who try crawling on her. It's hilarious!!!


In the old days, pre Arctic Ring of Life, the schedule for feeding was like this: 10:30 Macaroni Penguins, 11:00 Sea Lion/Seal feeding, 11:30 King Penguins, 1:00 polar bears. Oh, those were great days at the Zoo. We rarely made it back for the 11:30 feeding, but the other feedings were de riguer (I know no French, is that spelled correctly?), particularly the polar bear feeding. I never missed a polar bear feeding. Of course, without the Arctic Ring of Life, we couldn't enjoy pics like these:

Polar Bear Swimming1

Polar Bear Swimming3

Polar Bear Swimming2

As it was a tad windy/chilly that day, and had teenaged boys with us, we went into the Reptile House, a place I normally miss. The first pic is (I think) being a crocodile (alligator?) building her nest, not sure if she's pregnant or just in heat. The second one is a caiman (maybe).

The pics were taken through glass, so please excuse the glare.

Female Crocodile


This is either an iguana or a Gila monster. I'm so not into reptiles that I didn't pay that much attention.

Lizard 2

I always want to give the camels (domestic Bactrian camel, if you want to be particular) a good brushing. I think he's posing.


I have absolutely no clue what kind of animal this is. The Detroit Zoo has so many different types of deer-esque animals that I can't keep them straight.

Picture 007

In the center of the main walkway at the Zoo is a fountain with a statue of polar bears in the middle. It's tradition to get your picture taken in front of the fountain, regardless of the presence of water or not.



Next up were the tigers. We had male cubs last year and these might be them, but then I think I remember hearing that we got rid of the cubs to Zoos which didn't have tigers, because the father was having issues, but I have to say that I just don't know. At any rate, they are magnificent animals.




Ah, the white-handed Gibbons. This was kind of disgusting and definitely showed that we are city kids to the core. What you can't see is that in his right hand he's holding a dead bird. Yeah, we thought it was so cute because he was holding this bird and caressing it and whatever. Then he put it to his face and bit the beak off. Yeah, we left right around then.

White Handed Gibbon

After the tigers came my favorite animals, the rhinos, which we didn't have for a number of years after they put Rudy to sleep. We got two white rhinos last year after we shipped Wanda & Winky off to their new home. Tamba and Jasiri now live in W&W's old exhibit. I think they are just so darn cute!!!



I was going in order of how we did the Zoo that day, but I went through the pictures and renamed them from pic001 to Female Crocodile, etc., so now I have no idea what the proper order is. I trust everybody will be able to deal with this unfortunate turn of events.

Yeah, I have no clue. I just sat here and thought about it for a little while, but I'm literally clueless.

One of the best places to see the polar bears these days is outside the actual Arctic Ring of Life exhibit. There's a pathway that runs along the exhibit but up higher, so even if there are people standing there, you can see over them. That's where these pics were taken.

Polar Bear 5

Polar Bear in Pool

Polar Bear in Pool 2

Polar Bear 4

Polar Bear Not Quite Swimming

Staying with the bear theme, here are the black bears and the grizzlies. One of them, but I can't figure out which ones, are now in what used to be the polar bear exhibit.

Sleeping Bear

Grizzly Bear 2

Black Bear

Black Bear Butt

Last year the Zoo was lucky enough to have two wolverine pups/cubs born (first in captivity in forever, or something like that). Originally, they were named Bucky & Sparty in honor of U of M's main rivals' mascots, Ohio State and Michigan State, respectively, but apparently people who went to U of M-Ann Arbor have no sense of humor and they got all pissed off and threatened to withhold money, so the wolverines now have names of trees or something like that. Whatever. Bucky & Sparty are much better names. Co-Worker #1 wasn't as fast as the wolverine, so here's his butt as he runs off.

Year Old Wolverine

Up next are the giraffes. Co-Worker #1 didn't get a pic of the giraffe exhibit which contains the original artwork from the 1930s and has an Egyptian theme as you can see from the link. I love it and hope they never get rid of it. I think giraffes are exceptionally cool. One time years ago, I became enthralled with them when one of the giraffes was intent on getting some particularly tasty branch from the other side of the wall (which is gone now). I was fascinated with how prehensile his black tongue was. His neck may be long, but it was his tongue's ability to pick up the branch that caught my attention. Get your minds out of the gutter. I know how it sounds, but that's not how I meant it.


Giraffes 2


Right across from the Giraffe exhibit is the South American tapir. He's so ugly, that I feel sorry for him and think he's cute.


From there it was time to enter the Arctic Ring of Life where our polar animals live: Arctic fox (I don't think we saw one, they're very good at knowing where to hide), Snow Goose (supposedly, but I don't remember seeing them either. They live in the exhibit where our Snow Owls lived before succumbing to West Nile Virus two years or so ago. They were so incredibly beautiful.), seals (our sea lions were sent off to Chicago when the Ring of Life opened because they're not polar. I miss them) and of course, the polar bears. The exhibit is set up in such a way that it looks like the polar bears and seals are swimming in the same pool – always freaks people out the first time. There's a people tunnel that goes under the polar bear pool, and it was crammed full of yelling, noisy children, but for once a polar bear (Adak, I think) was actually in the pool. He even used the ceiling of the tunnel to push off with his feet. That was pretty cool.

Polar Bear Swimming4

Polar Bear Not Quite Swimming

Polar Bear Done Swimming

The whole idea of posting this yesterday became incredibly overwhelming considering my brain was dead from the allergy pills which were not doing their job at all. Talk about slackers. I told my boss at one point that I was going home and he asked, "Why?" He didn't look like he liked my explanation, so I stayed the full day, even though I didn't get a whole lot done. Hard to work when your face is pretending it’s a fountain. I knew there was no way in hell that I'd accomplish anything at the gym, so I went home, put on shorts and my Percy the Pug tank top, and went outside. I was hoping the sun would bake the allergies out of me. I did feel better lying down than I did standing or sitting up, so that was an accomplishment in my book. I faced the sun because I didn't want half of my face tan and the other side white. Unfortunately, that didn't really work because the sun seemed only to touch the parts of my face that stick out – chin, cheeks and nose. Forehead and side of face still white. ARGH!!! Ah well. Thank heavens for bronzer.

I'm better today, but not completely. I'd honestly rather have a cold, because then you know that it's going to go away at some point. I have year-round allergies which are just damn annoying. I took Alka-Seltzer Cold & Cough Nighttime last night when I went to bed (at 7:00 p.m.). It was all I could to last that long. I wish Alka-Seltzer would come out with an allergy version, as the C&C version didn't really do the trick, but still I was able to sleep through the night (mostly).

We ended the zoo, as we always do with the prairie dogs (I'm scared they're feeding them to the lions again, because we didn't have as many as we usually do), the otters (no pics, but they were so cute), and a trip through the butterfly house.

Prairie Dog2

Prairie Dog1

Picture 073

Picture 072


At Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Dave said...

You've given me the desire to drag The Squeeze to the zoo. Haven't been in a thousand years. Just need to find the time. Between work, Father's Day, another open house the following weekend...I'm not sure when we can squeeze it in.

Can't wait to see your pix! I loves da aminals! And way to go on getting the camera. Next step: iPod! :o)

At Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger MW said...

This is just a guess, but something tells me your pictures didn't upload. That's OK. I feel sorry for caged animals anyway. Or... did I misunderstand, and you actually haven't posted the pics yet?

Now that you have that new digital camera (or so I thought you wrote on Trinamick's blog), you should spend some of your wealth on a Flickr account.

I'm serious about this next comment: You could travel around the greater metropolitan Detroit area taking pictures of buildings (from bottom up and top down) and city streets, residential neighborhoods, etc., and posting them. Not only would it be fun (and even a little addictive), it would also be something that tons of Detroiters would probably appreciate. You could email your Flickr address to all your friends and have them pass it on to their friends, and so on. Once you have a fair number of pics uploaded, you could even send the link to your "sort-of" acquaintance at the Detroit Free Press.

Just as fun, you could take tons of pics at all the races you attend around the country. I like the Detroit idea better, though.

P.S. You might even take a picture of your work space at FMC, so we can all see where you sit on a daily basis. ;-)

At Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Miranda said...

*Clap* I can't wait for the pictures. I used to love the zoo.
My cousin's husband recently took
their baby to the zoo, and apparently, the baby ended up pulling a monkey's tail. How THAT happened, I still don't know, but
as a kid, I'd have thought she was the luckiest little girl ever.

At Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Blogger Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Dear Kathleen,
I love your blog! Thank you for your contributions to mine!
All the best,
Tom Degan

At Monday, 19 June, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

I too want to see the pictures. You really took a lot of effort to get them onto your blog. Is it giving you a problem with the format. If so, then you might be waiting some time. I wasn't able to change my avatar because of a blogger bug, but now I don't want to anyway.

As you know, I just took my son and his kindergarten class to our local zoo. It doesn't sound nearly as nice as the Detroit Zoo.

At Monday, 19 June, 2006, Blogger MW said...

You can get a Flickr account, which works very well with Blogger. Flickr even has a "Blog This" link above each of your photos.

Your account can remain free if you don't upload more than 200 photos, and it's only $25 a year for an unlimited account. Now that you have a digital camera, you might just find that to be a really fun way to go.

Just a suggestion.

At Monday, 19 June, 2006, Blogger Jason said...

I haven't been able to post any pics on Blogger for a while now. Hmmmm...

At Monday, 19 June, 2006, Blogger MW said...

I posted a sample photo today on my Blogger account from my Flickr account. I did it three different times, using three different methods, and they all worked. I wonder if uploading from ones computer is the problem.

At Tuesday, 20 June, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

I'm one of the few people who hate the zoo. I feel terrible for the animals in the cages and such. My kids don't like it either so I've lucked out.

At Tuesday, 20 June, 2006, Blogger trinamick said...

Man, you got some great pics! Tigers, of course, are my favorites, but that tapir's pretty cute too.

At Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

My goodness, what a wonderful zoo. I especially love the crisp blue water the polar bear is swimming in. How nice.


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