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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Visit to Blank Park Zoo--Iowa's WILDEST Adventure

 Friday was a no school and no work day for the husband and the boy.  So, with a free admission ticket in hand earned for our library's summer reading program, they traveled to Des Moines to meet up with Uncle John for a bit of adventure.  What's interesting about this post, is that while I'm writing about the trip, I didn't go.  It is kind of like how I do the grocery shopping and the husband cooks.  He took the pictures and now I'm writing about it.  This means I get full artistic license!

Even planning for this day brought excitement.  The day before at school, he discoverd an exotic animal dictionary and explained to his teacher that he "needed" the book.  So, the book came home with him and was the highlight of the bedtime routine.  The boy said the book would be his guide at the Zoo.  The book went with in the car, but due to safe keeping, didn't go into the Zoo.

The boy wanted to wear a shirt with animals, lots of animals.  We searched his drawer together and came up with the top 3 choices.  The dinosaur shirt from T-Rex Cafe--click here to read more--was the top pick.  Yep, I get where that planning what to wear comes from.



The photo above was taken in the the rain forest of the Discovery Center.

 One of the neat things about the Discovery Center is that birds have free access to many parts.  The purpose of the Discovery Center is to show how water is at the center point of all wildlife and habitats.  I don't think that many guests get that, but that is why the trail begins in the "cold northern cabin," followed by the Alpine exhibit.  The water starts out as snow and ice and then makes its way all the way through the Discovery Center passing through caves and rain forests into the Coral Reef and ending with the flamingos outside.  There's even a Water Lab in the Discovery Center.  The next time you're at the Zoo, follow the stream through the Discovery Center.

 Ah, speaking of Coral Reef. . . the photo above is of a clown fish, but we will call him Nemo!  We had to get the Disney/Pixar connection in this post somehow!  The photo below is of the Moon Jellyfish.  The boy is "takin' on the jellies" to quote a line from a popular Disney/Pixar flick!



The boy and Uncle John make their way to the lower level of the Discovery Center and view the Macaws.
 The flamingos.  Every time we visit the Zoo, we take a picture of the flamingos.  You see, flamingos are Aunt Diane's favorite.  And, since Uncle John, Aunt Diane's husband, was in attendance at the Zoo, it was only fitting that the flamingos get their moment of glory.

 Playful Otters!  There were several photos taken of the playful otters, which means that the "group" hung out here for a while.  Also, I was told that they didn't see the Lemurs, which are next door.  Another clue that the otters held them spellbound. 
The Black Swans are a part of the Australian Trail and are located just outside the Aviary.
The husband was very excited to get a shot of this wallaby with a joey in the pouch.  The wallabies are also located along the Australian Trail.
The Brahma bull is from Brazil and whew is it big.  He and the boy have seem to come to an understanding of you are on that side of the fence and I am on this side of the fence.
Ah, here it is!  My photographic surprise!  You see, when the husband goes off with the camera, inevitably there is a self portrait somewhere in the lot.  This is it folks!  I'm guessing that this photo might be titled "whose mouth is bigger?"  or " Look, bull, I have canine teeth and you don't so just remember I'm higher on the food chain than you."  Any other ideas?

In the Kids' Kingdom portion of the Zoo there are goats and llamas that can be fed.  Guests can purchase feed from machines or the kiosk located near the goats.
Hmmm. . .  which came first, the rooster or the egg?



How could you not feed this goat?  Before the revamp of this area of the Zoo a few years ago, the goats roamed free.  Guests were often greeted by the goats.  I can remember pushing the boy's stroller into this area only to find a goat's nose deep in the bag under the stroller looking for goodies.  The boy didn't mind as the goats were his friend.  The goats are all in fenced in areas now.  I'm sensing sanitary reasons for the remodel.



The Kids' Kingdom has a playground, complete with dinosaur bones and a dig area.

In the photo above, Uncle John is attempting to get a closed mouth smile out of the boy.  Yeah, good luck with that!  Even professional photographers have tried to no avail.
The Koi feeding area, also inhabited by water fowl looking for a hand out, is a hit with all the Williams Family fellas.  When the boy was younger, my goal was to keep him from climbing or falling in.  Even today, he gets a little too close.
The Prairie Dogs were active in their habitat.
Each day, there are Sea Lion demonstrations in the Sea Lion habitat.  The trainer is feeding and checking the sea lion.
The report I got from the boy was that the lion was sleeping but the tigers were active.  The photo corroborates the boy's story.
It seems as if some climbing things have been installed just before the Safari Grill and across from the Gibbons.  Here's the boy and his Uncle John.
That very same day, the Zoo announced the birth of a baby giraffe, Sabra, born Sept. 25, coming in at 5' 9'' and weighing 147 pounds.
A quiet moment in what is usually a tour of the Zoo at breakneck pace.  We call it speed zoo.  The Japanese Macaques have the boy intrigued in this photo.

The Bald Eagle exhibit is near the entrance to the gift shop and the exit.  What regal birds! 

All in all, the husband and boy report a good day.  They ended up at Uncle John's for lunch and hunted for frogs in his backyard.

This morning, I got handed the map brochure at breakfast with a firm, "This is where I want to go today."  Yeah, I get where the planning comes from, too!

The Blank Park Zoo is open year round, with a variety of exhibits and programs.  For more information about Iowa's WILDEST Adventure, check out their website:  http://www.blankparkzoo.com/

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