19 February 2012

What did we see at the zoo? *warning: graphic picture at the end*

*note that warning in the title*

And so vacation time rolls around again...

What? What's that you say?


Yes, ten days of it... from last Friday all through this coming week. Remember...my children seem to be on vacation more than not. It's a French thing. And more vacation must be better than less because you know the French are superior parents... (have you noticed that I haven't touched that one yet? yeah, I'm not going to dignify that delusional book with anything more than this casual mention...for the time being, anyway. Plenty of other people are doing a great job taking her b.s. to task).

So...what do we do when faced with vacation?

That's right! We head to the zoo.

We are very fortunate in that we live easy driving distance to the Oakland Zoo. Once a zoological embarrassment, the Oakland Zoo has become a world-class small zoo with large, very natural habitats. The animals do not seem bored or depressed, and there is space for the kids to run around and fun rides (which we did not go on this time). All of my kids love the zoo; it's exciting and educational. Even Big G always seems to learn something new and profound at each visit.

Back in August, he learned that there are a lot of ignorant people who go to the zoo...especially when it comes to differentiating between monkeys and apes. And he learned that some kids are more of a handful than his younger siblings.

Then on our zoo outing in October, he discovered the joys of photography. He was able to get many images of many of the animals exposing themselves to us...literally and figuratively. But I guess since they are always naked, it isn't really considered 'exposure', right? And there was nothing indecent about it on that visit...just nature in action...bats acting aggressive and apes sunning their balls and getting groomed. Good, clean fun.

This visit was a little different.

After stopping off to see the giraffes...

I think that's the new baby giraffe way up in the background by the fence, 
but we totally didn't see it when we were there and it might just be perspective 
that makes that particular giraffe look small.

...we ventured over to the camels...where G reminded us of this joke...

I guess this is kind of graphic, too...oops.

...while he snapped this picture...

The camel was rolling around on his back in the dirt...
but got shy when the camera came out.

At the seemingly-empty lion enclosure, G managed to get this...

click to make it bigger and see the male lion head in the middle.

We agreed that combining that lions with the zebras would make for a much more exciting exhibit...

...though most likely very short-lived.

And then it was on to the elephants...

The Oakland Zoo has 4 elephants...3 females and one male. The zoo utilizes cutting-edge handling practices designed to protect both the animals and the handlers. They have done a lot of work to create a very elephant-friendly, safe environment.

This female was hanging out calmly at the watering hole...

To see the watering hole in action, click here.

The two other females were hanging out in the upper and more private section of the enclosure. The male was ... well, ummmm... he was peeing. I thought there was a broken fire hydrant out there in the middle of the habitat and that perhaps the male was using it as a bidet. No. He was creating that explosive stream.

And when he was done, he walked away...

That is not a baby elephant following closely behind...
not a second trunk nor a fifth leg...

...taking care to not kick himself.

In true middle-schooler fashion, G took way more pictures of this elephant than anything else on this zoo trip. And in true mentality-of-a-middle-schooler-fashion, I'm posting this.

Unlike after that last zoo outing, I did not get a killer speed workout in...I went to bed with a massive migraine and finally returned to the Land of the Living today. Glad I got that headache out of the way... I've got a full week of vacation ahead :)  Good times!


  1. You do realize that most people like me probably clicked on your link and scrolled down JUST to see the graphic picture at the end before reading anything? :) Why is the saying "hung like a horse?" I think it should be elephant.

  2. Haha, it took me a minute to know what you were talking about. Love trips to the zoo!

  3. Thank you! Thank you very much! Middle school rules!

  4. hmmmm. Love the zoo. Totally thought the elephant would be "bigger" Not the length, but girth?

    Such a photographic genius! :)

    Glad you feel better!

  5. Very educational vacation I assume ;)

  6. I thought the lion picture was pretty fantastic.

    As for the elephant... All I could think was: "that must be awkward when he's on the run" but I presume it is not always so... obvious?

  7. I never thought I'd learn something here that I haven't already watching hours of Discovery Channel, but oh my... LOL

    Are you sure it wasn't a misplaced second trunk or somethin'?


  8. HA! This has happened to me at the zoo before too... ON A FIELD TRIP. And the kids were like, WHAT'S THAT?! Talk about awkward....

  9. Hahaha....you always manage to make me smile! :)

  10. Lol!!! Love Amanda's comment too! My daughter has been asking to go to the zoo...could be interesting!!

  11. It has been so long since we've been to the zoo (KC or St. L) that my daughter doesn't even remember it and my son only vaguely does. I had intended to go this fall and time got away from me so I'm going to HAVE to get in a spring day trip! Probably to St. L as it is free except for parking and snacks.

  12. We love the zoo. Haven't been there in a while though. Sounds like you had a great day. Enjoy your vacation!

  13. Ahhh...how we love the zoo and all the things that "come" with it:)

    Great pics...G is quite the photographer...

  14. haha, some things never get old, I don't care how old you are. Farts, poop, and body parts top the list :-).

    Loved the rest of the zoo pics BTW. In St. Louis, our zoo has a deal where you can spend the night at the zoo, no tents, outside, etc. Crappy night sleep in the heat and humidity, but great memories of night hikes and going behind the scenes.

  15. The zoo used to be a weekly outing here for us, and every week the elephant was REALLY happy to see us! Hee hee hee

  16. Think how popular zoos would be if the zebras were in with the lions. Definitely a more realistic experience! Found you at finding the funny.

  17. I have a zoo picture on the lion in all his manhood trying to conquer the lioness. :0 Oh my!


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