Monday, December 23, 2019

Denver 2019 Day 2 Nil sine Chorus Piggeo

June 21, 2019

As members of the Denver Zoo, we were allowed to enter a half hour before opening. Sadly the trip, lake walk and time shift wiped out Anabelle and me.  We slept a bit more while Rosa had breakfast with her relatives.  Our arrival was before New York opening time, but at twenty to ten, we missed the Extra Time and the Rope Drop.

This was a Disney World summer; references will be more frequent than usual.  As evidence of this, Anabelle updated her online Disney Shirt Grid remotely using her phone based on text messages from her cousins after my sister’s family upgraded their Disney wardrobes.

The beginning of the day was at the large African carnivore area, currently hosting hyenas.  As always in Denver, friendly zoo volunteers were near most of the exhibits.  He told us about the keeper chat times, and also a trick they use to keep the animals exploring.  Besides the fact that the shared exhibit has multiple animal scents naturally occurring, they spray perfume around before letting each group out because the unfamiliar scents encourages exploration and interaction of the animals.


We began with our usual path.  Anabelle is a fan of the tree bound versions of the large beaked birds, and stopped a while to take in the ground hornbills walking around their enclosure.  I pointed out that since they were ground hornbills they must make excellent burgers.  I’m still very educational to have around.

Our musical greeting of the Water Bufalooo-oooooooo! returned at the next exhibit, because we’re also hysterical to have around.

Done frightening the locals with our singing, Anabelle stated “I want to live here” by the kangaroos and emus.  We kept going, however, and I was embarrassed as we passed the pachyderm house that I’d never introduced her to the Abbot and Costello classic:
“Your face reminds me of a rose.”
“Ooh! An American beauty rose?”
“No…a rhinoce-rose!”

See? Hysterical.

There was construction where the bighorn sheep used to be, so they were moved where the dall sheep were.  I know they’re the state animal, but it was kind of a bummer since the large male bighorn died, and I hadn’t heard anything about the other sheep being transferred.  Still…nice sheep.

Possibly because I was leaving ahead of them, and it was already mostly closed on our final trip last time, we hit the Primate Panorama early, because Daddy loves monkeys!

We spent some time with the “Monkeys from Home.”  (Translation- New World monkeys that match the species that used to be in the Bronx Zoo Monkey House.  Yes, for those of you new to these adventures, the Bronx Zoo will always be home, and seven years later I'm still sad about the monkey house closing.)

The nocturnal exhibit in there was a little rough, until a passing small child provided some profound advice.
“See the blackness moving?  That’s the aye aye.”

Over at the ape section, the baby orangutan was playing with his family, and the baby gorilla was also goofing around on display.  The bachelor group of gorillas was pretty active as well.


Daddy loves apes too!

Possibly due to rain timing, or the fact that it was early, there were no red river hogs out.  Anabelle, having been slowly promoting them up her favorite animals list, was let down.

Spending time viewing the mandrill mother proved that helicopter parenting is in no way exclusive to human kind and proved a brief diversion before exiting back out into the main part of the zoo.

We took a walk down the quiet and peaceful, tree filled nurture trail.  It had a couple of storks, but mostly a flock of nesting vultures.  I guess even large, scary carrion feeders can be caring parents.

Coming out we heard the loud “toot” of the zoo train. 

Except the train was closed for refurbishment.

Coming out we heard the loud “toot” of some odd and random bird.

To add to the fun and loud sounds, I yelled out “Cuidado llamas!!!” as we neared their area.
Hey, their names are Fernando and Jorge. I was not only quoting masterful British comedy, I was being culturally sensitive.

Hysterical and Educational.

We waved to the Indian rhino, but made a bee line to the tapir area since it wandered over to say, “Hi” to Anabelle, as it maintained its place way up on her favorites list.

A little boy saw the model tapir skull on the information plaque and exclaimed in an impressed voice,
“Tapirs eat dinosaurs!!!”
Winning the most awesome child in Denver award.

We were in range of the hippo, who stuck his HUGE face out of the water to greet members of his zoo.  The reason we were in that area by was Anabelle suddenly added vultures to her “gotta see em” list and there were more nearby.

They were doing yoga and pooping simultaneously.

The wonders of nature never cease.

We circled around the front again to grab an always excellent Western Home Zoo lunch at 11:30 in the empty cafeteria.  Emerging, we saw some of the big lions had moved into part of African Carnivore Central.  Across the way a mongoose butt cameod, while the tiny dik dik hid in the shade.

Yeah, it was a dull section, but with a funny name like that I had to mention it.

There were more hyenas in another section, or maybe the same hyenas. Either way, woo! Hyenas!

Approaching the zebra’s we had a family discussion on the reasoning of their stripes.  Blending in with the fence, and “because they’re criminals” both came up. We’re all very educational to have around.

We saw Dobby, the baby giraffe! 

Even when you know the animals names, sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s who when the baby is eight feet tall.

The polar bears moved on to new zoos, making room for a more modern enclosure for the grizzlies.  The area around it was set up like a campground to highlight safety measures to take in the local area.  I should probably point out I was in full realization of this when I noticed someone forgot their backpack…in the camping scene.  Maybe the jet lag was still in effect.

The keeper explaining the zoos the polar bears moved too made a “leaving a bear behind” joke about the remaining animals. Is it any wonder why I fit in there?

The sea lions were mostly hiding, and we went straight into the Tropical Paradise aquarium building.  I made sure to sing “The Batty Bat” in the cave area.  Rosa pointed out the capybaras were giant cuy and figured she could feed her whole family with one for quite a while.  I was thrilled to be able to see a giant anaconda without having to avoid finding the big ugly toad. (Bronx zoo, it’s been decades, can you please split that exhibit?)

Anabelle, never comfortable in tank zones, keyed in on unicorn fish (woo!) and upside down and regular jellyfish.  Somehow in her transition to hating aquariums in general, the thing that terrified her when she was little, the jellies, are now her favorite. 

Because parenthood is never predictable.

It was fun seeing the Up the Lake salamanders (“eastern newt”) proudly on display in a zoo, since they aren’t local residents there.

In the “cool thing I didn’t know department” while watching the baby komodo dragons perform death defying leaps, we learned they were all male.  We also learned that the zoo only has adult females.  We also also learned what no one knew until zoos began keeping female komodo dragons:
When they are alone, they can fertilize their own eggs, and all the babies are male.  This allows them to swim to a new island, and populate it all by themselves.

Good luck sleeping from now on.

Outside again, we went over to the tiger exhibit and met Nikita. She’s the potential mate of Yuri, the tiger who moved out there from the Bronx Zoo.  It probably says something about my socializing skills that I’m much better at connecting with animals that moved to Denver than actual people.

The Mongolian wild horses started our path down hoofed mammal row…
Ooh a Bunny! 

Sorry we’re easily distracted as well as being educational and hysterical.  The okapi was in a good viewing area for a change, but there was a drizzle preventing any kind of quality camera focus.  Instead we ducked under the Asia exhibit cafeteria for an ice cream and pretzel rest stop.  We refilled the souvenir soda cup, our second since we forgot the one from last year, proving again this place was exactly like our home zoo in the Bronx.  Rosa rested her foot a bit while I made a run through the -much chillier than it should have been even without the rain- air to get the coats from the car. Once again I was thankful for the density of the zoo making it much smaller than it seemed.

They took multiple selfies while I wandered and checked off a couple more license plates in the parking lot.  While waiting, and being visited by the creatures that hang around all zoo cafeterias, Anabelle decided the blue and teal added to her hair to celebrate the end of the school year made her “Alpha Male of all the Peacocks.”

We could hear the lions bellowing with unhappiness at being out in the rain, but the okapi were enjoying it and had a stripey butted party.

The rain didn’t affect us much, as Anabelle was still distracted by artsy flower photo moments.  I tried to point out the Somali wild asses, but given the rare occasion of their facing and location in the enclosure my daughter corrected me. “No Daddy, wild heads.”

Hysterical and Educational.

The rain kept a potbellied resident in his little house, and we believed we would be having a pigless day as we turned into the elephant area.

In that we saw an elephant (ooh, shocker!) as well as (anyone?) another elephant.  Plus inside the house was Chuck… (Wait for it) the big male elephant!  Woo!

Within one of the buildings, Anabelle was trying to get a photo of a hornbill, and sent me away when my innate ability to make animals moon me manifested.  I did manage to get a good picture of the fisher cat while she stayed with the bird.

Before leaving the house we spent some time with the ooters playing in the wooter.  You’ll have to ask my child and her cousins about that pronunciation, I'm not getting blamed for this one.

Outside were more elephants!!!! They posed!  We were trying to figure out if we brought the umbrella when it dropped out the pack like a turd out of an elephant, to make an unfortunately apropos simile.

We sprinted through the rain to Bird World, waving to the excessively happy and frolicking hippo and penguins.  In another show of being an awesome zoo that cares about its charges, Bird World was deemed not up to current standards and closed after we went on October first. I hope the sloths got a nice new home in Tropical Discovery.

Showing our utter consistency and fascination with shiny objects, we all stopped and took a picture of the bright blue spangled cotinga…like we did every single time we entered this building.

Then, to continue our traditions, Anabelle yelled “BOOBY FEET” when we encountered a picture of that bird. 
The sloths were less active than usual, which for sloths is one heck of a statement, and we left pretty quickly.  Anabelle made my flaming-wents joke as we left the flamingos to maintain our hysterical educationalness. I'm so proud.

Our progress slowed a bit as wet flowers produced even more opportunities for artsy photos than dry ones do, or so I’ve been told.

The lorikeets had been allowed to go in and hide from the storm. Only two were out in the feeding area, but one stood on me again. Woo!  And it didn't try to consume a chunk of my flesh. Double Woo!

Since we were on that end of the zoo, we wandered over to the back of primate ridge where the red river hogs lived.  SUCCESS!  First one was out, but then it was a veritable hog fiesta!  Anabelle grunted at them and had a wonderful time.  Then she and Rosa celebrated by taking goofy filtered selfies.

I celebrated by leading us back through the ape house again.  We learned Jim the silverback was very protective of the new baby. He came over to see us and send a hello to the gorillas in the Bronx Zoo.

I have moments with gorillas. Don't judge me. 

We greeted the orangutan family again and then worked our way back through the monkey house.

Daddy loves monkeys!

The titi monkey was sitting out in the open to greet Rosa.  Then it turned around to moon us to greet me.

We saw more flamingos and Rosa asked why they stand on one leg, which she does all the time to humor me.  We took a slight wrong turn and detoured through the pachyderm house. It was a good decision as the African rhino was inside.  Or as my daughter said, “CLOSE UP VIEWING OF THE CHUBBY UNICORN!”

We’re very educational to have around.

A sun shower allowed us to see a last bit of hippo frolic as we targeted the exit. The elusive roof cheetah finally made an appearance for the day.  Animal reactions to rain are usually interesting, the gazelles were mostly under a tree but still outside.

The inadequately named water buffalo all hid in the little barn.

We took one last shot and did see the wild dogs, but there were  hyenas in most of the sections.

Still, hyenas! Woo!

The bathroom near the exit has animal butts on the stall doors, and “waste trivia” on the walls.  Educational that we are, we always try to stop at that one.

In a major turn of events from most of our Denver outings, Anabelle did not buy a stuffed sloth, but a red river hog. She claimed the Bronx Zoo let her down in this area.  We also picked up a stuffed orangutan for Abuelita, so she wouldn’t forget me.  She named it Pinocchio, for reasons that are likely lost in translation.

Speaking of random Disney references- The store played a bunch of Disney music, for us I assume.  I picked up the required zoo gummies, and a highly appropriate for the local herbs Rasta lion shirt.  The zoo guy at the counter rang everything up by calling it out in a sing song way, complete with rhymes. 


You might think a stuffed sloth, with its extended limbs would put on a much better dance demonstration than a stumpy legged red river hog.  If you did, you clearly have not met my daughter, who began a series of performances with the newly christened “Pigeon” extending far beyond our Denver trip to whatever was on the playlist.  His performance during “Help!” by the Beatles nearly caused us to end up in a ditch, but I quickly got used to his hysterical antics.

We had to make a couple supply stops on the way home in “HI Ho Silver Hooray.”  The first was King Soopers, where we finally found Denver’s only hidden supply of fat free cold cuts, under some other selections.

We also stopped at Walmart for some necessities: 
A Jump Rope
The 1954 Godzilla Figure.

Educational to have around.

We got home for some salmon burgers, (Yum!) showers, chatting and the resting of Rosa’s foot.

After trying multiple other ones at home, we figured out the giant monkey movie Abuelita remembered liking was the most recent Kong of Skull Island. Titi liked that one too, and no one related to me had a problem watching it again.

It does illustrate an issue that most families probably don't have to deal with.
Figuring out which one of the many giant monkey movies someone remembers watching with you.


Dina Roberts said...

I love your zoo posts.

Dina Roberts said...

I also should add that I was reading with Tim in the room. And then I gave him a long monologue about how awesome you guys are.

Jeff McGinley said...

Many thanx! Denver's the closest I've come to the "at home" feeling I get at the Bronx Zoo. That'one is a little stronger than Disney, likely because I'm less exhausted. The only greater feeling was Up the Lake while it lasted.

Thanx again for reading. My family has done from confused looks when I started with, "Hey, Dina said..." to understanding now as well.