Monday, May 20, 2019

Denver 2018 day 4 Rocky Mountain Zoo Guy

July 30, 2018

After adjusting over the weekend, our first weekday adventure would be the Denver Zoo, because it’s us!

Filled with some more of Uncle Roy’s Waffles, Siri guided Silvermist the Fabulous Monkey toward Denver's City Park.

Considering the similarity between Meerkats and the first species that mooned me, it was appropriate for me to intone in a Nathan Laneish way, “It staaahhts,” upon the reveal of a Mongoose butt.

I know it is incorrect to capitalize specific animal names…but I like animals and am going to anyway, so there.

And it's a helpful editing tool to let me find my place when proofreading a giant trip like this one. I'm sure my style has offended grammar nerds enough by this point that one more niggling issue shouldn’t matter.

The main large big cat area held a bunch of Hyenas instead, which was still extremely cool and would receive an explanation as we picked a counter clockwise zoo exploration.

Near this enclosure, by the lions,  was the first of many conversations I struck up with Denver Zoo folks, much to the embarrassment of my daughter.  They always asked, “Where are you from?” since no one is actually from Denver, and we started chatting about the Bronx Zoo.  He explained that while much smaller, the Denver Zoo had an order of magnitude more volunteers AND species.  I think the volunteers were because they comprised a large portion of the staff, plus the “zoo folks to chat with” were everywhere.  The species question would also be answered shortly.

We passed the Zebras and Giraffes, including the baby one named “Dobby” because of his big goofy ears.  A couple decades ago that would probably have been “Dumbo.” J. K. may indeed be on the way to becoming the new Walt Disney.  Sadly, Dikembe, Dobby’s twenty-four year old dad and the oldest Giraffe there passed away shortly after we got home.   Then his Aunt Masika several months later.  I don’t think I like the information age anymore.

The big cat house was being renovated, explaining the Hyena witness protection program.  It explained quite a bit more than that since the entire interesting history of the Denver Zoo was posted on the covering boards. 

We braved the eye searingly powerful in any state scent of the Giraffe house to hit a rest room.  This was because we didn't realize how close we were to less incapacitating ones.  Due to the density and quality of the Denver Zoo, the maps were misleading as it felt larger than it really was.

We skipped the Sea Lion show partially since Anabelle was busy capturing artsy fartsy flower pictures, and mostly because we didn’t care. 

We heard roaring coming from the new Tiger exhibit. It was where the old Wolf exhibit used to be, and its closeness to the Tropical Discovery building reminded me of having the same zoo size realization when comparing the Wolf location to it on a previous visit.

Yup, I was experiencing Deja-Zoo.

Tropical Discovery is how the Denver Zoo cheats to up their total number of species. It is basically a mini aquarium, jam packed with various types of fish and other small aquatic creatures in a confusing maze like building.  
It is possible most of the confusingness and maze likeness was due to us going the wrong way at one point.

The Capybaras and Komodo Dragons (much older and larger than in our home zoo) were the featured performers.
However, the coolest thing we got out of the adventure was learning that the Poison Dart Frogs weren’t poisonous anymore. Much like the coloring on a Flamingo, their deadliness comes from what they eat.  Much unlike a Flamingo, the zoo doesn't go out of its way to feed it the right things to recreate nature.

Leaving the building brought us over the top of the zoo along hoofed mammal way, leading to the edge of the fancy, relatively new Asia/ Elephant section. 
The Elephant there was pooping while the keeper talked about mating season and “must” meaning the only “must” we insisted on was “must be going.”

Over by the ungulates (look it up, you’ll probably find a Far Side cartoon too) was a Secretary Bird.  I was reading about its powerful snake killing legs. However, my wife and daughter decided to call them “nice legs” and start singing, “Let’s Get Physical.”  We’re all very educational to have around.
Also along that route was the answer to my daughter’s question of, “What’s that horse with zebra legs on the map near the Okapi?” It was the Somali Wild Ass. Anabelle (being my child) worked tirelessly to get a photo of the Somali’s Wild Ass. 
I'm not sure if Somali Wild Ass is a better name for a band, a fruity rum drink, or the next Professional Wrestling Super Star.  I am sure that it’s way too much fun to say Somali Wild Ass.

 A safe distance from Elephant must and droppings, we found the main entrance of their section.
To make sure we didn’t miss anything, the Otters in the house within the section were having a poop party, dancing in the dung.

In the last of the multiple use for large animal sections was a Rhino in the distance.  To appease the crowd, the keeper blew her Rhinoceros Whistle, and it came up to the fence.

You read that right, there’s such a thing as a Rhinoceros Whistle.
That’s a Looney Tunes script just waiting to be written.

Exiting that area brought us to Bird World, normally one of the less thrilling areas, even in the Bronx Zoo.
This time, it was not, since Bird World is where they keep their Sloth. Anabelle went more Sloth happy than usual (which is frightening) seeing the sign that there was a recent baby.  There was a Sloth ball above our heads which we presumed contained both.

After two “squeeeee” filled periods, here and with the Tapir outside, we moved along. 

We utilized our understanding of the small geographic scale of the place to walk back to the entrance to have lunch in the main cafeteria.  On the way we passed a Rhino feeding (sans whistle) in the old pachyderm house, and hippo!  Yay!

We also chatted (well, I chatted and Anabelle fought nausea) with lady keeper holding a giant Cicada on her hand about past experiences with cicada cycles…

That sounds comic booky, doesn't it?  PUPA LAD!  TO THE CICADA CYCLE!


Oh right.  

We then passed hidden Cheetahs, resting Kangaroos, and some Water Buffalo that everybody’s got.

We split up for the Cosmic Ray’s type service counters (because everything should be Disney like) and ordered some phenomenal sandwiches.

The small overall scale of the zoo made frequently going “back the way we came” much less burdensome than it would be in the Bronx, and allowed multiple further family performances of “Everybody’s Got a Water Buffalo” when we passed their enclosure.

We also walked by Monkey Island.  It was well populated but kind of unkempt looking. Basically, it needed a trim.

Over at the well detailed and impressive Endangered Species carousel I had some tattoo bonding moments. Ink is WAY bigger in Denver than out here.  There was a hint when a woman on the plane with us in a halter top and shorts had full body coverage, including facial designs that looked to be the outlines for more detailed work.

The woman selling the wooden coin carousel tokens asked if I had a Bioshock tattoo on my arm next to Green Lantern and Superman, when I turned and said, “No, it’s Batman” the woman at the other window leaned over and yelled, “I HAVE A BATMAN ONE TOO!!!”
Anabelle rode on a Tapir (her third favorite animal, but there were no Sloths or Manatees) I rode on whatever was near enough to let me see her ride a Tapir, and Rosa rode a bench outside the ride within photograph distance from her daughter riding a Tapir.

Then it was off to the Lorikeet Adventure!  For a couple of bucks they gave us a small Italian Ice cup full of nectar in a walk though cage with a bunch of mini Parrots in it.  Anabelle did pretty well, in spite of two feathered felons stealing her nectar cup, and several appearing to lure animal lovers into the direct line of poop fire.

Successfully engorging a few birds, and dodging others, we walked over to the monkey and ape exhibits.  Woo!

A family telling their children that the black and white Colobus Monkeys were “Skunks” caused Rosa to lead Anabelle and me away before we could do grievous bodily harm to anyone.

The rest of the Monkey Houses were much less stressful and we got to see the Gorilla baby in the ape house.  There were also Orangutans!  WOOO!  

I always get excited about apes we don't have “at home.”  The smaller one was goofing around by the window. 
The large cheek flapped Sumatran male was facing the back wall refusing to be seen. When he did decide to walk around, he covered his head with a sheet.  
When the big guy finally pulled the sheet off, the smaller one jumped in front of him, running interference, with a “no pictures please” look on his face.

Out in the quiet back area there were Mandrills!  WOOO! Again. 

We do have Rafiki’s species, “at home” but in the Bronx, the only times they are out is when the summer crowds make getting close to the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit windows, or even breathing in that room, near impossible.

Returning from Apeland, we passed the Brown Bears in the first natural zoo exhibit in the world. Yes, I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s too cool not to bring up repeatedly.

A Spider Monkey waved farewell from the underbrush of Monkey Island, and the male Bighorn Sheep stood up impressively across the way as well.   While we did not have a repeat of littler Anabelle worrying that it had died when it wasn’t visible in the exhibit, we sadly learned that, like Dikembe the Giraffe, old Cliff the Bighorn also passed after we came home.  Then we went to the Bronx Zoo and learned Tundra the “baby” Polar Bear I saw when I first joined the zoo after college was also no more.  [Edit, Junie the big Orangutan passed right after this posted.  Poop.]  It was a rough zoo year.

To complete the day, some Kangaroos mooned us as we were exiting, serenading the Water Buffalo once more.

There was another tattoo bonding moment with the gift shop guy, where Anabelle added to her alarmingly growing Sloth collection with a mother and child set.  In honor of our presence, the shop was playing Disney music in the background.

I bought some “zoo buddy” gummies to snack on in the car. Rosa and Anabelle looked at the multi colored smooshy animals and wanted no part of them.  Yet somehow, half the pack was gone when I returned from the restroom.

Anabelle kept up the navigator position for most of the trip. Although her skills and focus were somewhat offset by the constant dancing Sloth choreography accompanying our rides.

To continue the theme of the day, our stop at Michael’s was accompanied by Zootopia music.

Returning home, the pool required extra cleaning to meet Anabelle’s standards, and eventually we gave up and she joined Rosa in the hot tub, demanding me to come up with more Disney World Trivia.  The burden of the Where Will We Go Next Guy is a heavy one.

Denver Zoo lunch outshone the local variety leading us to have sandwiches for dinner.  The night’s movie to introduce Titi Luzma to our off the beaten path tastes was Small Soldiers because it’s awesome, ending what turned out to be our first amazing day at the Denver Zoo.

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Saucy Pizza said...

Deja-zoo. NICE.

Jeff McGinley said...

Many thanx.

I kinda felt that one was a rare diamond in the turd pile of my made up references.