Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Zoo Tails

Zion, the lion cub.
Saturday I had a Girls' Day Out at the zoo with my daughter and twin granddaughters. What an awesome day! We were there bright and early when the zoo first opened and just in time for Zoo Tots, a once a month program which teaches little kids about zoo animals. There was story time, a frog game and then off to see the animals.

Here's the link for our wonderful zoo:

Gulf Breeze Zoo

The highlight of Zoo Tots was getting an up-close introduction to the newest addition, Zion, a three and a half month old lion cub from a zoo in Arkansas. We all sat very quietly on the zoo train track while Zion's zoo-keeper-mama told us all about the cub. He made plenty of lion cub sounds, not all that pleased with an audience of mostly children and he wasn't allowed to "play."

The unconcerned rooster.

When a zoo rooster walked over to the cub he went on alert and was ready to help himself to a fresh meal. Zion is only twenty-something pounds at the moment, but he still figured he could take on a rooster. Of course, the rooster wasn't at all concerned and went on his way.

Dora, the coatimundi.

The next part of Zoo Tots was meeting the two Coatimundis, Dora and Diego.  Their zoo-keeper-mama brought them out of their pen for a "close" encounter. The two year old coatis wore dog harnesses and were on a leash, which enabled them to have a semblance of freedom. My twin granddaughters approved of the names and thought the coatis were quite cool.

One of over 300 Australian budgies.

After that we had the run of the zoo. The twins had to show me their favorite part of the zoo, the Australian Free-Flight Budgery.

Birds of a feather of every color.

We went inside the budgery armed with budgie treat sticks and were immediately greeted by the colorful birds. I had as many as four budgies at a time on one hand and with another riding on my shoulder.

The twins were enthralled with the colorful and friendly budgies. This is the first time I've ever had an encounter like that and I must say, I could have spent hours sitting on a bench and talking to all the birds.

Two of the three young giraffes.

We fed goats (slobbery eaters), sheep, guinea pigs, rabbits, roosters, chickens, peacocks, giraffes and camels. They all loved the special zoo feed we bought upon entering the zoo.

The twins' favorite was the three giraffes who were surprisingly gentle. The girls weren't at all intimidated by large giraffes that towered over them.

A 10 ft. American Alligator with a powerful tail.

We made the rounds of the rest of the zoo, visiting the two Bengal Tigers, two American Black Bears, a gigantic old American Alligator, llamas, gibbons, turtles, cockatoos, a huge vulture and an assortment of other critters.

One of the zoo's inquisitive chimps.

We rode the Zoo Safari Train to see the zebras, ostriches, chimpanzees, White Rhinos, two hippos  and Rwanda, the Western Lowland  Gorilla, with Kigali, her ten month old baby. Kigali was sleeping beneath a grass hammock so we only saw a glimpse of him.

Rwanda, the 27 year old mama gorilla examining a stick.

Three and a half hours later the twins were still full of energy and I was beat. All in all, it was a really fun day.

Now I'm sitting in my recliner with my feet up and going through my assortment of photos for this post. I hope you enjoy the photos, of which these are only a few of the hundred or more that I took.

Llama tails.

For those who follow my blog, I usually add a list of related books. In this case, some are Zoo Tales (fact and fiction) and others are related reads. I've also included a list of Children's & YA Zoo Books. I've only read a few of these books, but they all look like great reads. Many of the books are available in eBook format.

Zoo Tales and Related Reads (in no particular order):

We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee
Steve & Me by Terri Irwin
Jungle Jack: My Wild Life by Jack Hanna
Lioness by Nell Brien (aka Shirley Palmer) *
Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Babylon Zoo by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence
Congo Kitabu by Jean-Pierre Hallet **
Animal Kitabu by Jean-Pierre Hallet **
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller *
Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller *
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller
Malaika by Van Heerling ***
Our House in Arusha by Sara Tucker
Growing Up in Africa by Lee & Genny Nichols
Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide by Peter Allison
Backseat Safari by Robyn Keene-Young
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen **
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley
Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingston by Martin Dugard
How I Found Livingston by Sir Henry H. Stanley **
Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo by Nigel Rothfels
The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes (Zoo Vets and their Patients) by Lucy H. Spelman
Life at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal Doctors by Phillip T. Robinson
In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall **
My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall
Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey **
A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell
Night Kill (A Zoo Mystery) by Ann Littlewood
The Koala of Death (A Gunn Zoo Mystery) by Betty Webb
Anteater of Death (A Gunn Zoo Mystery) by Betty Webb
Death Roll (A Snake Jones Zoo Mystery) by Marilyn Victor
The Menagerie: A Zoo Story by J. D. Porter ***

A Giant Tortoise.
*Read and on my bookshelves.
**Read but borrowed from the library.
***TBR on my Kindle

Children's and YA Zoo Tales (in no particular order):

If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Bruno Munari's Zoo by Bruno Munari
Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
Dear Zoo (A Lift-the-Flap Book) by Rod Campbell #
Zoo Animals by Brian Wildsmith
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann #
Curious George Visits the Zoo by Margaret Rey
Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire #
Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson
Animal Strike at the Zoo, It's True! by Karma Wilson
If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick
The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick
Danger at the Zoo: A Kit Mystery (American Girl Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst
The Zoo Crew (Nancy Drew & the Clue Crew) by Carolyn Keene
Edison and the Dinosaur Zoo by N. R. Mackie
Saving the Bagdad Zoo by Kelly Milner Halls
Trouble at the Zoo (Bindi Wildlife Adventures) by Bindi Irwin & Chris Kunz
Croc Capers (Bindi Wildlife Adventures) by Bindi Irwin & Chris Kunz

# Children's Zoo Books recommended by my grandkids.

One of the two young camels.

I'm sure I've left off a bunch of zoo or related reads, so please feel free to add your favorites in the comments below. I'd also love to hear what you enjoy the most about the zoo.

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