Monday, January 9, 2012

WE BOUGHT A ZOO!! (i.e., a zoo ticket!)

Some of you may have recently seen the heart-warming movie, called We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon, which is based on a true story. If that movie aroused feelings of nostalgia about the last time you visited a zoo, or planted a seed in your mind, to take a "zoo expedition", I would encourage you to do so! There are zoos , big and small, located across the country (and around the world), and to find one in your area, all you have to do is go to your computer's search engine!

This blog post is to tell you about a winter-time expedition I took to the zoo at Tulsa, Oklahoma.

There are many good reasons to visit a zoo during the cooler months of the year, and one of them is that the animals are usually more active. The "blur" of this tiger's hind legs in this photograph is intentional. I wanted to illustrate that the tiger was actually up and about!

Another good reason for a winter visit is that the crowds are smaller, and a visitor can take their time observing or photographing the zoo residents. There is not someone bumping into you, or clamoring for the spot you have picked out, to get the perfect view or photo of an animal.

When I first arrived at the Tulsa Zoo for this visit, the smaller crowds made the whole place quieter, and I heard animal sounds bellowing out across the acreage, that I had never heard before! Following those sounds, I discovered the sounds were coming from the habitat where the "big cats" like this one lived.

There are also lots of "fowl sounds" you will hear at this zoo, as they have a wide variety of avian species. In fact, the zoo boasts that it has "2,800 animals, 84 acres, and is open 363 days per year!"

I don't want to forget another reason for a winter visit to the Tulsa Zoo---in January and February, they have a promotion called "MONDAYS ARE DOLLAR DAYS", where it only costs a buck to get in! Add to that, the fact that there is no automobile parking fee January through March, and you have yourself a real entertainment bargain!

There are very few children who will not enjoy a zoo visit, and one reason is that so many of the attractions are specifically designed with youngsters in mind!

I enjoy attractions that have "photo ops" like this one, where you can get a picture of yourself and/or others, in a scene created to give you a souvenir image of your visit!

The young (or young at heart) can even add to their "intellectual tank" by learning big words like "brachiation" from the zoo's educational placards. Adding some "kinetic memory" techniques to the word, by actually attempting some brachiation on the nearby monkey bars, will make this part of the zoo truly MEMORABLE! (even if it happens to include sore muscles the next day!)

Regardless of the weather outside, you will always be comfortable inside the zoo's climate-controlled Conservation Center.

Comfortable, that is, if reptiles of every description do not frighten you----even if they ARE behind glass!

Notice that there is no "blur" in this photograph. It seems the purpose of these guys is to be the illustration of the cliche about being "slow as a turtle"!

This photo illustrates other good reasons to make a winter zoo visit---it is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your family---in an environment beyond playing video games indoors, while sitting on the couch! Likewise, the background shows that, with the leaves off the trees, you can get a more open "safari-like" experience.

Speaking of safaris, you need to know that one of the perks of Tulsa Zoo Membership, is that you are eligible for a "Starry Safari" where you can bring your camping gear, and actually camp inside the zoo! I had a similar experience (mine was called "Roar and Snore") at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in California, and can heartily recommend it!

The zoo not only has examples of species that live on land, but also examples of species that make their home in the water! This beautiful aquarium is an illustration of that.

Most zoos I have visited have one section devoted to teaching about the animals/habitat of the area where the zoo is located. This photo shows how Tulsa does this with their well-labeled "Oklahoma Trail".

Lest us modern-day folks think we are the ones who popularized the concept of a zoo, remember these words in the seventh chapter of Genesis, when God was speaking to Noah: "You are also to take two of each living creature, a male and a female, on board the ship, to preserve their lives with you: two of every species of bird, mammal, and reptile---two of everything so as to preserve their lives along with yours." (The Message) So just like the Tulsa Zoo has its "Conservation Center", one might think of Noah's Ark as an early "Conservation Center"! If you would like to start planning your trip to this lovely zoo on the edge of the Ozarks, just log on to . I know that your expedition to this, or a zoo near you, will bring you "miles of smiles"!! Tricia

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