Monday, July 15, 2019

Denver 2018 day 12 Rocky Mountain Zoo Reply (er…return really)

August 7, 2018

Artsy Fartsy intro picture by Anabelle.

We woke up and learned the new A/C unit worked a little too well, closed all the vents on the duct work where our little campsite was, and shivered our way out of the basement.

Titi Luzma was already working on some early morning live translations. I prepared two sets of eggs for them with minimum sizzle and we shared a breakfast in silence.

Then it was off for another day as members of the Denver Zoo! Woo!

We had to park further away than the other trips, although since it was Denver, not New York, there was no visible effect on crowd size. Plus we saw a North Dakota plate on the way in. Woo!

Tony was working near the entrance and complimented us on our matching Three Caballero shirts, because every vacation should be a little bit Disney.  We sort of went in the opposite direction from the last full day adventure. Not entirely however, since a Sloth priority was still key.

We visited the similar to the Bronx Zoo birds of prey cages next to the bird house on the upper right corner of the map.  Because of Rosa we stopped by the Condor from the Andes of South America. Because of me, the giant bird mooned us.

Anabelle did a much more calm and stable job feeding Lorikeets on this go around.  While taking a small “wilderness trail” just outside their cage, I decided I wanted to return and feed the Lorikeets myself for the first time.

While my ever supportive wife and daughter were placing bets on whether or not I got pooped on, I weaved between branches and grouchy tropical avians to successfully feed a couple of them.  After several attempts, I had one of them sitting on my hand as it ate!

I had come a long way from the terrified two year old at Parrot Jungle.

I fed a few more after my friend took wing. When I tried to get another to step off a rock onto my finger, it kept using its feet to try to pull my hand down instead.  As I attempted to raise it, it asserted its dominance of the situation further with a beak sharp enough to crack jungle nuts, never mind suburban knuckles.

I screamed...

The bird screamed…

Some nearby small children screamed.

Fun at the zoo, kids!

For lunch, I hit the (proved to be awesome) barbecue stand over by the carousel.  I figured by the time my order was made they’d be back at the cafeteria, orders ready. I did not count on them having a Bighorn Sheep encounter on the way, along with the first appearance in our stay of Mojo the Roof Cheetah. 
I entered the cafeteria about three steps behind them. This was fortuitous since not only was the food there excellent, but they revised the menu weekly.  Anabelle’s plan of having the same delicious naan bread sandwich she had the previous trip vanished in a puff of culinary variability.  She found a nearly as excellent burger over at the grill after some high speed parenting and we sat down to eat together.

We returned back the way we came, once more pausing for a rousing “Water Buffaloooooooooooooo” chorus, to bask in the return of the Tapir.

Starting next to the Tapir we were treated to some fine large animal zoo moments.
A Hippo taking less than a half hour to enter its pool and swimming about,
A Greater Kudu mooning us with its massive antelope posterior,
And a Rhino taking a whiz.

The joys of nature!

Up at the top of the map, next to the Elephant exhibit, past the Gibbons we stopped for dessert. 

They both had ice cream, and I had a sample of “Zoo Pretzel West.” 
I also tried a “Zooski,”   beer brewed specifically for the Denver Zoo by the brewery that made the Bigfoot Ale I tried in Atlantic City.  It was a tasty brew, if much lighter than I usually enjoy.  “A Good Homework Beer” as Todd and Damon, (some of my fellow E-Dorm residents) would say.

We thought the Tiger wasn’t out at first, until we noticed the large feline shaped shadow.
It was in the “cat” walk above us providing a close, and extremely rare for those who haven’t been eaten, view of the underside of the great predator.

Tropical Discovery, (or Tropical Paradise, as I – a Firesign Theater fan- can’t help calling it) was far more organized this day. 
The zoo graciously roped off one hallway, forcing us to meander through the exhibit in the right direction this time around. 
The Howler Monkeys were out and about in the trees above the Capybaras.  It’s always nice to see primates that aren’t in our usual gang. 
That’s especially true when paired with their neighbors, the far cuter that one would expect world’s largest rodents. 
Clearly, I went photo happy again in there, and have given up trying to match the text at all.

I spent a bit of extra time in the flutter filled Bat cave area.
And now, yet another moment of silence for the World of Darkness.

Outside of the tropics, the tropically high temperatures had the Polar Bear happily submerged and blowing bubbles.

The “Western Home” nature of the zoo continued to manifest itself as a Giraffe wandered over to see us and say, “Hi!”

It was approaching “training” time, leading us back to Sloth territory.  The Tapir next door prompted a stop by strolling about, taking occasional dips and making a weird squeaky noise.  Somebody needed to oil that thing. 
Nearby the Hippo was answering in its own grunty fashion. 

As three o’clock approached, we reentered the bird house for the Sloth training time we were told about by our pool buddies, yet did not experience on our joining day. All three Sloths were in the same places we saw them that day.  While waiting for quite a while, a couple of Ducks wandered over to welcome us back.  Membership has its perks.

Keepers came in, not to train, but to feed. Close enough.  They had watermelon and a bucket of small fish for the waterfowl. 
And a big ole cup of tasty grubs too…Slimy, yet satisfying!

For the Sloths, once they climbed up the rocks to throw fish at the various Terns, they tucked hunks of lettuce into the fake leaves. 
Dad stayed immobile above our heads, but Mom and Baby clambered down for some cute vegetarian noshing.  Surprising no one, we took far too many pictures of the cuteness.

When Anabelle reached the point right before she’d explode from Slothness, we exited and went to the "Endangered Species Carousel."  The Batman tattoo lady was taking the tickets for the ride, and we compared art again.  Anabelle went back to the Tapir, Rosa picked an Elephant (Abuelita’s favorite) and I went with a Baby Triceratops, ‘cause you can never have enough dinosaurs in your life.
(Although, while technically beyond correct, calling a Triceratops “endangered” was a bit of a stretch.)

We watched a Bear play with a branch for a bit in the oldest natural habitat in a zoo. (He referenced again…because it’s NEAT!)

Once again, having focused on all of Anabelle’s favorites, we hit the Monkey and Ape houses at the end of the day.  Welcome to parenthood. (Kidding, I'm happy just about anywhere in a zoo.)
At least we got to see the little anteater. (Little yay!)

The Orangutans had already turned in for the night, but a huge and impressive silverback Gorilla gave us a huge and impressive parting moon.

A small aviary that wasn't open the other day allowed up to see some Spoonbills…and a Mouse.  Don’t think the little guy was part of the exhibit, but it made the other guests in there jump, adding to our entertainment.

Retracing some steps we found the hidden Mandrill enclosure and bid farewell to Rafiki’s kin.  The nearby Red River Hogs, magically climbing Anabelle’s likes list,  gave us a proper send off with a multiple pig butt moon salute.

On the way out, the male Dall Sheep presented us with an impressive good bye as well. 

We also heard a keeper talking about a thirty-four year old Pelican in the moat around Monkey Island. That’s twice the normal lifespan.  He’d gotten so used to eating the small fish the other birds in the area ate; they had to retrain him to eat the trout he was supposed to.  It was a comical avian gargling display.

At the Gift Shop, Anabelle picked up another stuffed Sloth, because collection addiction runs rampant in our family.  She already had one in the car, leading to an expanded Sloth Dance Party as she navigated us through multiple detours.

The plan to finally visit a Chili’s, picking one nearer the zoo, vanished in a heap of construction and we ended up passing the house on the way there anyway.  My plan to sneak back to El Rancho vanished in a puff of, “We were supposed to go to Chili’s about three other times.”  Anabelle was thrilled to see the Chili Pepper door handles she’d forgotten about.  She was also amazed by the bag of cutlery and straws they dumped on the table for us.

I was more amazed to see Jeff Spicoli leaving the restaurant as we arrived. Then again, with the legality of the local herbs, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised.

In yet another example of the vast variety of extensive skin art out there, the waitress had her entire forearm covered in a tessellated hexagon pattern. Maybe she was a big fan of Star Fleet Battles or Avalon Hill games and wanted to be ready to play anywhere.

Back home there were showers and electric knee stimulation for all.  I logged in to check some work stuff, while Anabelle starting detailing the ever more complex family history of her stuffed Sloth collection...

Because storytelling is just as much of an addiction in our clan as collecting.

There was a bit of prepping for the next day’s big adventure before turning in.

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