Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Day At The Zoo, Part I

On Saturday, DH and I visited the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC.  The company Mr. Forest Manor works for sponsored a family day at the zoo; they provided tickets for admission and lunch for employees and family members at the picnic pavilion.  The weather was perfect and we had a great day!  I've been wanting to visit the zoo for years now, and we just somehow never got around to it.  The last time we went to the N.C. Zoo, our son was 4 years old, and he turned 21 this summer.  My how time flies.

The zoo is located at the foot of the Uwharrie Mountains in the Central Piedmont Region of North Carolina.

According to Wikipedia, the zoo encompasses 1,371 acres, is the largest "walk-through" natural-habitat zoo in the world, the first in the U.S., and only one of two state-owned zoos in the United States.  Wow -- who knew!?

We ate a quick lunch, and then spent four hours walking through the zoo, and we still only saw about half the park.  We just managed to make it through the North America complex, and to my disappointment, we didn't get to see the Africa complex before the park closed for the day.  We'll definitely have to go back :)

If you're a bird lover, we saw lots of really interesting birds.  We saw some adorable and entertaining seals and river otters.  There were beautiful cats (not the domestic variety, of course), bears, and possibly my favorite, two red wolves.  We walked and walked until our feet and legs were worn out.

My DH took all of the pictures in this post.  The photographer (and the shutter speed) have to be pretty fast to get a good picture of the animals because they were not standing still and posing for these shots.  It was a great day to be there because the weather has been cooler, and I think the animals were feeling pretty energetic.

Too cute, right?

There were just a few of us standing at this area when the seals started playing and showing off.  There was no one coaching them; it was totally spontaneous.

 Never has swimming looked like so much fun!  They swam upside down, on their sides and rolled over and over underwater.  This guy is on his side looking at us through the glass.

Have you ever seen Puffins?  These are the neatest birds.  DH and I recently saw a special about them on UNC Public TV.

There were bunches of Puffins in the exhibit, but they were behind glass, and it was hard to get a good, clear picture.

This one is tucked into a hole in the rock.

This funny-looking fellow is a Hooded Merganser.  From the side, his head looks almost flat.

This next picture looks funny.  The other ducks were swimming peacefully in the water, and suddenly these two fellows came chasing each other through the water, flapping their wings, stretching their necks, and generally just "showing off".

This sign explains their behaviour ;)

These bobcats don't really look that big.  If you didn't know better, you could almost believe they're house cats.

The cougars were napping in their hidey-hole.

Amazing that all of our dogs are descended from wolves.

The desert animals are enclosed in a dome, which has its own micro-climate where plants and flowers normally found in the desert can thrive.

This is a Prickly Pear Cactus.

I'm ending this post with these desert birds, which I thought were so
interesting.  Have you ever seen a real Roadrunner?

I always thought they looked like this...

"Meep Meep"

This last bird is called a Gambel's Quail.  He's so colorful, and I love the, well...dipsy-doodle on his head.

And I couldn't help but remember...

And here's a cutie with two dipsy-doodles...

**Disclaimer:  Subjects in previous two pictures not found in the zoo ;)

Have you been to the zoo lately?  I discovered it's a wonderful way to forget about all your problems for a day.  Hope you enjoyed the sights, and thanks so much for visiting the House at Forest Manor.  More zoo pictures soon.

I'll be joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays later this week.  Thank you, ladies, for hosting these parties every week! 


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