Saturday, January 27, 2007

A new zoo season

On Thursday morning -- at about 10:30 -- the boys reminded me that I'd promised we'd go to the zoo on the first 'warm' day. It was sunny, with the high forecast to reach 48 or so. Maybe not truly warm in most places, but here with the New Mexico sun, 48 feels downright summer-like. Especially after the snowy weekends we've endured since before Christmas.

Our first stop was the zoo office, to buy a combo membership for the biopark, which includes the zoo, aquarium, and botanic gardens. Now we can come back to any or all free the rest of the year.

This, tho, was the real reason we came to the park - so the boys could climb all over the huge playset. Here they are having spent a long time on the slide already, sliding down and climbing back up. Note the barefeet and Dan's t-shirt without a jacket -- it really was warm!

We saw the train come thru -- turns out it was the route that just loops the zoo grounds. Upon reaching the train depot at the Africa gift shop, we discovered that to catch the train to the aquarium, we needed to arrive before 12, buy bracelets (total cost $4, -- not bad) and catch the train at the new depot behind the elephant exhibit. We didn't even know there was anything behind the elephants, much less a train depot! Next time, we'll arrive early and get our tickets so we can do both without driving. Here, Andy is waving at passengers, while Dan covers his ears against the whistleblow.

The zoo docents had a llama out -- two actually, this is the one the boys liked.

I guess either the prairie dogs can't read (the sign says 'We are hibernating for the winter. Please look for us next spring.') or the zoo folks haven't noticed that the prairie dogs have decided winter is over. We saw several of them -- stretching in the sun, posturing for fights, eating snow, running around, and calling to each other. A very busy winter hibernation.

Dan, pointing out the sea lion swimming towards the window. Both boys love to watch the sea lions swimming around the tank. They wanted to stay for feeding time, but there wasn't another one until 3:30 and we still wanted to hit the aquarium.

A sleeping koala -- when are they ever not sleeping, tho? Dan wanted to see the koala house, while Andy chose to stay outside and look at tropical birds. As we walked into the koala exhibit, Dan asked me "why does it smell like eucalyptus here?" Well, cause koalas like eucalyptus. The bigger question -- for me -- was how did Dan recognize eucalyptus scent and remember the word for it? Almost daily, I'm thrown by how much they learn and know just being in the world. I mean, we don't use eucalyptus at home, where did that come from?

The boys each had a turn in the intricate marble throne in the African plaza area. Don't they look very regal?

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