Monday, October 24, 2022

Denver 2022 day 9: May 12- The Ugly Monkey Returns Again

To take advantage of Extra Magic Zoo time, since it worked very well the previous day, all three of us arose to be, “Up at the butt crack of dawn,” as Anabelle charmingly referred to it.

Yes, we went to the same Zoo two days in a row that we had already been to a week before, and saw just about everything in it all three days. It's a Zoo, one could go every day and see something different, because animals are awesome.
There was more traffic than we’d hit other mornings, and to recover from two Butt Cracks of Dawn in a row, Pigeon rested for this journey of the Ugly Monkey. The Denver Zoo itself, however, was empty again. Woo!
We started on the same path that worked for us the last time, and met Tundra the Grizzly Bear. She was fiddling with and enrichment tube, keeping our attention long enough for her to swap it out and snuggle with a ball for a while on her ramp.
Next door, the Lukeandleiatastic Raccoons were also playing with a ball, and looking adorable while doing it. We spent a good deal of time with those local mammals before moving on to Tropical Paradise.
This early in the day the Bats were not agitated by visitors yet and hung in a somewhat creepy looking line across the top of their enclosure that I clearly was unable to capture a respectable photo of. On the third visit Anabelle appeared to be “Slothed Out,” spending minimal time looking at the arboreal family.
Her explanation- “They are still my favorite animal, but they are not the most visually exciting of creatures.”
In the back of the room with the Komodo Dragons, a little girl was having a personal moment with one of the Monitor Lizards…and Rosa. Meanwhile the Tree Lizard in the next enclosure was doing the same hip stretch that Anabelle uses after dancing.
The Geese that haunted us occasionally on our visits were near the exit. Anabelle “talked” to them and their tiny Goslings for a bit.
The Mongolian Wild Horse quarantine (which I may or may not have mentioned on the first Zoo trip day) must have ended. A much larger herd was galloping across the exhibit. It was a good day down Ungulate Way. There were baby Bongos out and about.

More importantly, at the end of that trail, the Pot Bellied Pig was walking around its area for the first time since we’d discovered this Zoo.
Snort snort.
A peek through the trees to Elephant Encounter showed us one of the giant Indian mammals eating and raking some hay with its trunk. I wonder if I’d have to pay travel expenses if I hired him to do our leaves.
The Emu was out again, in one of the Antelope sections. It only took three tries for us to notice that the Emu is, in fact, a bird, and wonder why it was out when all the other birds were hiding from the Avian Flu.
Speaking of taking three visits in a week to notice bird things in this zoo:
A small building off to the side of the path was the Winter Quarters of the Flamingos. We walked by it at least twice a day, but never walked along side it until this morning. A window revealed some very densely packed, krill eating, long legged aquatic birds.
At the corner of Elephant Encounter and Ungulate Way, both Tapirs were on display. A Ta-pair if you will.
I am hilarious.
("No you are not." – Anabelle)
Next up was Primate, um, thing. (Primate Place? Primate Pad? I’m too lazy to look it up right now, which is embarrassing as I got the name right twice before.)  Anabelle aquired more experience with the burden of being a Zoo Guest with a clue. Some loud obnoxious guys were at the entrance looking at the Colobus Monkeys. One definitively proclaimed: “It’s a Sloth.”
Anabelle bit her tongue, turned on her heel and stated, “I’m going inside.”
The only brief sighting of the Aye Aye on this vacation occurred in his darkened area. While this was happening, our intellectual, Sloth sighting friends looked into a nearby area and yelled, “Oh s***! Birds!”
We spent a longer time in the dark to let them get ahead of us...
waaaaaay ahead of us.
The Ringtail Lemurs were out for the first time in either a very long while or possibly ever in our visits to Colorado, prompting Anabelle’s observation, “At last! I’m done now.” 

Alas, she does not share the same levels of "I love monkeys," that I do.
There were three Orangutans outside, between the monkey and ape house. As a greeting, the huge Male Bornean (with the cheek flaps) took an epic dump, directed squarely at us.
Anabelle- “Love to see it. Time to go inside.”
Inside, in the further exhibit from the door, a Gorilla was asleep and rubbing his nipples… 
until someone pointed out he was doing that. Then he stopped, and stared angrily. 
Ruined a good dream I would imagine.
We didn’t see the Orangutans in their area, because the Sumatran male (no cheek flaps, big beard) was inside a cardboard box. The female came out of the side door, and swung directly at us. Then she jumped around a bit, before diving into the box. 
When the box started rocking, it was time to go.
We had a few moments with the Silverback Gorillas outside, before seeing the Giant Porcupine, which was giant. (And also, in case it wasn’t equally obvious, a Porcupine.)
Over by the Mandrills again, the Red River Hogs were up and hogging about. It was an overall good pig day. How exciting!
The Mandrill family was active as well. The Dad was sulking a bit watching the baby swat at fruit until he fell out of the tree. Yes, the picture is terrible. On this third photo heavy zoo day, with the recently updated and slower way to include images, I have clearly stopped caring. Apologies. 
Finishing the Primate…whatever, we went over to the Pachyderm area to see the Hippo and Tapirs again. Near my favorite hoofed mammal on that row, a mother was talking to a group of her and her friends’ kids about the “Donkey- you know? like in Shrek.”
 An adorable, little girl with hair in pigtails (and a devious streak I highly respected) ran over to the sign yelling,
Hee Hee!
Over at the stadium for the Elephant demonstration two other kids that think like I do were playing with Godzilla and King Kong figures.  All the Elephants there were male. I totally failed at identifying Bodhi, who Anabelle got on the first guess. We learned Bodhi was in “Musth.” Male Elephants attract mates by secreting from glands behind their eyes along with “constant urination.”
I told Anabelle, “That’s how I attracted Mami.”
We’re always fun to have around at shows. 
Turned out Bodhi was Anabelle’s age, and the oldest member of their bachelor group, Groucho, was my age.
We saw Jake and Chuck (those are other Elephants. We don’t make friends with people, only animals) as we walked through the Encounter after the show. 

In the next area, we had some time with the Gibbons where we would LOUDLY refer to them as Apes to each other whenever someone else called them Monkeys.
(I don’t know why we don’t make friends with people.)
I took a note that said, “Giraffe Grandparents.” That is probably connected to a very sweet and funny story about fellow Zoo fans…
And if I ever remember what it was, I will write it down.
In the little house in that section, Anabelle was thrilled to see the Hornbill back on display. Unfortunately, the Otters were nowhere to be found. Out the window, Bodhi made another pee filled appearance.
Backtracking was required due to getting turned around. This was not an issue in the realm of places that are “one square foot.” We needed to see the Gibbons, Tapir and Hippo again. Anabelle sarcastically called this “tragic” while happily spending time with each. The "Chubby Unicorn" mother and calf were also on this path. Another "tragedy."
We explained to Rosa that “Pachyderm” isn’t really a classification anymore. It was a term from before DNA knowledge, when zoologists combined all the big ridiculous looking animals that dare you to laugh at them in a single group.
Once again, we’re very educational to have around.
The education continued as we brought Rosa over to see Ginger, the horny and still screaming in Bailey’s face, Capuchin Monkey. Anabelle asked if this was how Rosa attracted me.
She is hilarious.
("Yes, yes I am." - Anabelle)
The Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep were nearby. They were moving too slowly to be interesting at the level of tired we had reached, but their “Butt Dance” was entertaining.
Passing along our usual song filled way (“Water Buffaloooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO") brought us to the Carnivore Exhibit.
We looked at the mostly resting Lions and Hyenas. In the house with us a woman dropped her water bottle, yelled, “DAMN IT!” and quickly apologized and said, “Dang.” I told her it was completely warranted. We users of Profantiese need to stick together.
It was lunch time. The two of them had hot dogs, but Rosa had to deal wit the topological issues presented by only the hamburger buns being gluten free. I grabbed the Roast Beef sandwich with horseradish sauce sandwich. (Not the best cardiac choice, but outside of the Brazilian Meat Fest, I didn’t have any beef on this trip. It was really good, we were walking constantly and the turkey sandwich came with non-negotiable bacon. 
So lay off.)
A woman asked me about the pagers the cafeteria hands out with orders. Since it constantly lit up she wasn’t sure if her food was ready. Considering when ours went off it almost vibrated off the table and we all jumped out of our chairs, I told her, “Trust me, you’ll know.”
During lunchtime Disney Trivia we invented the Disney Version of “Never Have I Ever.”
Playing against Anabelle is kind of easy.
“Never have I ever been set on fire in Disney World.”
“Never have I ever been set on fire TWICE in Disney World.”
We moved back out into the now growing crowds. I spent some quality Water Buffalo (OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOO!) time during their rest stop. I also observed the crowds were consistent with every other visit, where people have an inordinate number of both children and tattoos.
For our final time there, we went back for an end of the day visit to the Bear (because Anabelle was a Bear Enthusiast) and Raccoons. (because they were ADORABLE!) We also passed the most common Class Trip moment in any state, an adult rushing children towards the entrance yelling about being late for the bus.
One of the Raccoons stuck their head out to see us upside down. (The Raccoon’s head was upside down, not us. Pay attention.) The main attraction in that area, though, was the volunteer who told us the Raccoons’ entire history. We asked her why the Emu was out and she explained some of the birds get sections of outside time, with keepers watching vigilantly for any local birds that might poop in their area, to protect them from the Avian Flu. Every time I think I can’t be more amazed how well the Zoo animals in my favorite two Zoos are taken care of, the bar raises.

We spent a long time bidding farewell to the Stingray Petting pool, to the point we all worried about frostbite on our hands. Anabelle formed a bond with Annie, the fifteen year old brown Flappy Ray that was the largest and oldest in the tank. She had originally come from the wild and swam over for Anabelle to pet her many multiple times.
Rosa worked up the nerve to pet one of the Ugly Rays. (Anabelle’s translation for the Stingray, not the Flappy Ray.) 

One of the Bamboo Sharks came by me in an extremely rare moment of movement and I got to pet it. Cool!
Anabelle was having so much fun she had enough courage to pet the “face” of an Ugly Ray near the end.  Annie swam by to get a final farewell pet before we washed up and headed out. 

Yes we did circle the lot again in the Ugly Monkey to look for plates. Rosa and Anabelle fell asleep shortly after leaving the lot.
Route 70 was COMPLETELY blocked by accident clearing trucks.
Then the trucks blocked everything again to readjust. About a mile later there was no stoppage, but there was a bumper in the road. Swerving the Ugly Monkey around that and swearing didn’t wake up my family at all. However, at the 470 exit, the truck in front of us dropped to Forty miles an hour and as I slammed on the brakes around the turn, a soda can went flying through the Ugly Monkey's cabin. That woke them up.
We got home to take Abuelita out, but they were all eating dinner. We spent some time packing up, and once they finished we took Abuelita and had our third visit to Yogurtland. The doors are spoons! I am ashamed how long it took me to notice that.
Normally, three trips there would be perfectly normal for us on a Denver visit. The fact that it was three in a row showed our vacation organizational skills were a tad rusty after the plague break.
In a great moment of comedy, I saw the mobile App ad on the door and said,
“Hey, you can order ahead!”
To which Rosa replied:
“They sell heads? How do they get the portions right?”
 Rosa is hilarious.

At home, after being thoroughly yougurted, we washed up and I had left over Buffalo Burgers…because everyone else had lentils.
We did some work on phones and the IPad, to check in for the flight and such. On television that night was a goofy, predictable and mostly pointless Hallmark Romance film, which was exactly like every other 
goofy, predictable and mostly pointless Hallmark Romance Film. The lead was the guy who played Panto in the Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency show, which we love a great deal. It did lead to some moments of horror rewatching it when we returned home.
An episode of the Golden Girls came on when it finished and the first ten minutes had more quality emotional points than the entire Hallmark Romance Film.
We went downstairs to complete packing, and Anabelle explained the full details of “Never Have I Ever.” Exhausted as we were, Disney Trivia “Four Parks” questions got sillier and sillier, with a decided slant toward the word, “Booty.”
After some methodical Tolkien reading, it was time for the last Colorado sleep of the trip.

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