Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Too Many Pictures of a 1 day Trip

On July 2, Steve and I decided to drive to Tacoma. Why? Partially because we thought we were going to make a bunch of summer trips this summer, but due to work schedules for both of us and less money for some strange reason (you could ask our doctor where that money has gone) we haven't made a single trip yet. Also, because we were going to have a last hoorah weekend in Seattle for just the two of us at the end of June when we were going to see U2 in concert, but Bono had emergency back surgery and that got canceled. Mainly, because we both like zoos, there are two in the area to choose from, and I only had a couple weeks left of travel time before I can't really leave the Tri-Cities area and then we will be traveling wherever we feel like toting a baby. So, we drove over Friday night, and Saturday morning got up to go to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

What follows is: a ridiculous amount of pictures from a zoo, because I'm the one posting this... And just think, because many of the animals were in aquariums, we didn't even get good pictures of a lot of what was there! We took a lot of little short videos, but videos are a pain to load... So take my word for it that the fish tanks, shark tank, seahorses, sea dragon, etc. were really neat! Now, for the parade of pictures.

The first animals we saw at the zoo! But these ones got out!Gotta love meercats. They had some little guys too, but they were too quick to get any clear pictures of.Ever seen an all black lemur? We surely hadn't. But there were two in this enclosure with the standard colored lemurs. As you'll see, the other lemurs were a bit cold as when we first got to the zoo it was morning and cloudy and cool. (My pregnant self thought they were crazy and that the weather was perfect!)Wallaby! So cute - and pudgy.Horseshoe crab. Don't ask me why, but ever since the first time I saw one of these guys, they fascinate me.We stayed at the shark tank for quite some time, and even got to see the sharks get fed, but it was really busy and the glass made pictures nearly impossible. We took lots of video instead... Here's one picture of one of the toothier sharks. There were a variety of sharks in the tank.Random LARGE fish with really neat, elaborate coloring.I love the teeth on this guy! Parrot fish eat coral, so they need them, but it still looks crazy to me and his colors were amazing!Random fish, crab, and anemone at the aquarium.Easily Steve's favorite part of the whole trip. This is a Gyrfalcon. It never ceases to amaze me how much intelligence is in the eyes of raptors. This one is no exception, and at one point gave me quite the look for walking all around its cage snapping tons of pictures. What a beautiful bird!Primates! These guys were so animated and just funny. Some of the positions they were in were almost too human, and Steve and I both loved the sideburns look of the black one.I was so excited to see the clouded leopards! But, they were being cats. The other one is sleeping next to this one - about 25 feet up in the air.Gotta love primates. We had one that was really active, and the other.... not so much. The last photo Steve had me take for him to use in his classes when he talks about primates and humans. But I really like the way the picture came out, so you all get to see it too.River otters! I love these little guys! So active and fun and curious and mischievous! We watched them run across the grass, eat some plants out of the water, chase after and bite at the porcupines sharing their enclosure (the porcupines were really concerned....) and then lay on their backs and play with little pebbles. So fun!Porcupine! Now you see why this guy was obviously undisturbed by the actions of a trouble-making otter...Tapir. I always love hearing people come up with what animal this is. There are signs, but the lady next to me was very seriously telling her daughter about the hippo in this photo.Mama. Kitty.... So pretty! This tiger actually has two brand new cubs! Unfortunately, (and good for the zoo) you can only see them on a tv screen by her enclosure as they're too young to be out and are closely supervised instead. We were impressed, as we always are at zoos, when we saw how many species breeding/conservation plans the zoo was a part of.African elephant. Here he's stepping on the wire. Next he multi-tasked by stepping on the wire and chewing on the beam right next to his trunk in this photo. Obviously an exciting day for him.The penguins were really ambitious...Harbor Seals. They were really fun to watch under the water. We only got video of that, but I love the way they move one half of their back fin and then the other back and forth like window wipers. Puffins are so neat looking. And thanks to a random porcelain dragon Julie wanted for years, they always make me think of her. Just thought I'd share...Otters! Soooo cute! They were being lazy and just floating on their backs half awake, but still cute!
Kind of a lame picture, but out of FOUR polar bears, this was the only time we saw any of them out in the open, and then even this one went into hiding.Arctic fox! They were so cute! This first one was not very happy with the second (who kept running past him just to mess with him). In fact, the last picture is of the one yelling at the other...Reindeer! I think this one is on injured-reserved for the North Pole due to how incredibly tangled his huge antlers are. This picture actually makes them look really, really good...Musk oxen. Loved hearing the different names people came up with for what he was - and having a lady tell me I had a good eye for spotting this beast.And, by law - every zoo must have a few free-roaming peacocks. Here is one of the two we saw.

We still had some time before we had to head home, so we braved Seattle and went to the Pacific Science Center. We meant to take pictures of the Space Needle while we were there, but never did. Just like we meant to take pictures on the way home through Rainier National Forest as it was so beautiful on the way over to Tacoma. But we didn't end up going home that way... Oh well... As soon as we walked in we enjoyed (especially Steve) the information and displays on evolution and on "Lucy". Steve had me take lots of pictures of the different bone comparisons and graphs of human evolution to have for helping him teach evolution in the future.

Next, he had to wait his turn in a line of kids to play with this big weight on a fulcrum.
One of the things I remembered from my only other time to the science center with my Dad many years ago - naked mole rats! They're so ugly, but so neat...
There were tons of little displays for you to sit down at and try. This one is Steve working on a task that simulates impaired drivers trying to multitask.Another animal. We already knew about this one, and have seen it a number of times, but never any so big! They're called axolotls. The cool thing about them is that the frilly shag things around their heads are actually external gills. Maybe this isn't very cool to you, but being either a biology teacher or the wife of said teacher means that we think they're pretty dang neat.

Steve enjoying another booth - this one on hearing. You got to listen to a woman read a children's mystery story in a really over-the-top voice!They also had the giant robot-dinosaurs. We've seen them a number of times, so I only took one picture and am not posting any, but here is how I compare to the footprint of a duckbill dinosaur. And yes, Steve had to help me get up after taking this picture...
Probably the neatest part of the science center is their butterfly house. They have TONS of different species of beautiful butterflies just flying and landing around you!
Probably my favorite of the ones we saw.

Unfortunately, apparently not every kid learned as we did in kindergarten to look with our eyes and not our hands... The butterfly house loses several hundred butterflies each week. Fortunately, they also have several hundred others come out of their chrysalises each week.Hard to believe, but this is what the inside of the wings of the first spotted butterfly looks like!
All in all, Steve and and I had a great day. We were both exhausted when we got home, but it was a great last hoorah for us until we can travel again - as a party of three!

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