Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Trip to the Zoo!

Family trips are always so much fun! On Monday we went to the Southwick's Zoo with Grammy and Albee. We had a great time spending time together, looking at the different animals, walking around and learning lots of new things! For instance, we learned that camels have eyes just like goats and that the rings on a tortoise shell are age lines, just like tree rings!

Munchkin and Bean had different preferences for the animals. For instance, Munchkin loved the petting zoo animals. He had no problem walking up to the goats and sheep and petting them and feeding them. Bean on the other hand did not want them to touch her hands at all, so she literally held her hands above her head the whole time. To be fair, they were pretty pushy and I can understand why she was not very thrilled to have them crowd around her begging for food. On the other hand, she simply adored the deer park! It's an area where you can walk through it and deer will wander up to you and you are able to feed them corn and pet them. Bean had no issues feeding these adorable deer and thought it was so funny when they ate out of her palms. It was so adorable seeing them react so differently. Sadly, we were not able to find a deer stuffed animal at the gift shop! So Munchkin got a super soft goat and leopard and Bean picked out a tiger.

Here are some pictures we took. And just to warn you, there are a lot of pictures! We tried to catch a picture of every type of animal we saw so we could create a zoo album on the tablet (and eventually a physical copy too) for the kids to look through.

Sleeping Kangaroos. Actually, at least half of the animals we saw were sleeping. But it was a rather sunny day so perhaps they were hot and sleeping to keep cool.


Aldabra tortoise. These guys were HUGE! And super old, too. They didn't actually know how old they are, but they estimated about 100 years.

Their nails were massive and I'm kinda curious how they keep them trimmed in the wild. So Bean and I will do some tortoise research later this week!

Laughing kookaburra.

Black capped capuchin.

White naped mangabey.

African crowned crane.

Mandarin duck. Probably the cutest type of duck I have ever seen!

Patagonian cavy.

Leopard tortoise. He was walking around with a zoo keeper and a favourite with a lot of little kids who enjoyed petting him. She was the person who informed us about how the circles on his shell actually represent age lines. That's fascinating! The kids followed him around for about 10 minutes before he had to go eat lunch. 

Blue and gold macaw. I used to have one named Jewels as a kid, and she loved imitating the voice of the Crypt Keeper and would often fly up to my room and wake me up for school with her creepy cackle.. fond memories. Haha..

Green winged macaw.

Hyacinth macaw.

Blue throated macaw

Llama! Munchkin kept walking up to him, saying, "Nyah."

This face! My goodness, he seemed so grumpy the whole day! However, I do believe he had a good time. :)

Pot-bellied pigs.

There was a mama and a lot of babies!

Aoudad (Barbary sheep).

We ate lunch next to a wild turkey. Bean thought he was so cool! She kept wanting to go up to him but he walked away by the time she finished eating.

We see turkeys a lot in New England. They are everywhere. And apparently they enjoy strolling around at Southwick's Zoo.


One of the new exhibits they had were lion cubs! These guys were pretty big and VERY hungry! They really enjoyed all the meat the zoo keepers were feeding them.

They were trained to ask for food at their own spots, where there were colourful shapes on the fence. They knew which one was theirs and did a few basic commands for the trainers.

This guy was just so cute! He was super eager for every morsel of meat!

Squirrel monkey.

Both kids really enjoyed feeding the parakeets, although many of them seemed uninterested in eating off the seed sticks. Munchkin simply adored this part of the zoo and had so much fun feeding them!

"Hey, goat, what's up?" The pygmy goat kept bumping against him asking Munchkin to pet him. There were also a bunch of super fluffy Jacob sheep as well.

Munchkin loves to "roll" his arms.

Grammy was the goat whisperer. They all went straight up to her and a couple even jumped up on her!

Munchkin LOVED the goats! He kept walking up to them and didn't mind when they crowded around him. They were pretty hungry and even tried to eat the map and my phone out of my pocket!

No one touch my hands! Bean would not let the sheep and goats touch her. She refused to feed them too. I've never seen her react like this to animals before, so it was pretty surprising.

White Handed Gibbon. Whenever anyone walked near him, he would pose for pictures. I wish I had been able to catch more because he was so photogenic and kept putting himself in dramatic poses. He would sit with his legs crossed, or stretch out on a limb with one arm thrown above his head or lean dramatically against the fence and just look at you. He was pretty amazing and Bean really liked him!

White faced capuchin monkey. Mama's favourite type of monkey!

Painted turtles.

Sleeping lioness.

Sleeping lion.

Pacing Bengal tigers. Sad that they did not have a pool of water to play in!

This guy stopped and starred at a very oblivious Bean.

African Leopard. Leopards are Mama's favourite of the big cats!

Pumba, AKA Warthog.

He perked up when he heard a chipmunk rustling around in the bushes.

Snoozing red kangaroo in the shade.

Did you know there are white kangaroos? I didn't.

Chipmunks. Were. Everywhere!

Lemurs. Bean finally agreed with me this time! For the past week she has been arguing with me about lemurs actually being meerkats. Obviously they are not and they look completely different. However, she was quite convinced. Finally she said, "they are not meerkats, they are lemurs." Haha.

Sleeping North American Porcupines

Mandrill family. There was a mama and a baby and two others. The baby was so spunky! He kept running around and jumping off of logs and rocks and helped mama push over a log to find what was underneath.

This guy was very photogenic. He sat near us and dug a hole outside the fence. He looked pretty bored but was happy to see company when his friend came over.

Mandrills communicate with facial expressions.

Baby mandrill found a stick to munch on.

Super cute prairie dogs.

American elk. There were a ton of them! 

We took a short train ride through their area of the park. Most of them were napping...

Even the bull elk.

There were also lots of Canadian geese (yeah, yeah, I know, it's a "Canada goose"). They probably don't even belong at the zoo, but regardless, they were there!

A few swans passed by us.

We weren't able to see the chimpanzees any closer.

By far Bean's favourite animals in the zoo were the fallow deer. She had no problem going up to them and giggled whenever they ate corn out of her hands. She was so happy whenever one of them walked up to her.

Reticulated giraffes! There were about 5 of them and they were all so cute! I'll admit that I was super excited to see them, probably more so than the kids.

This was the closest we were able to get to them. He had such a long tongue! And I love their super fuzzy noses.

A field of ostriches, zebras and water buffalo.

Two playful cheetahs. They were so fun to watch while they played tag with each other.

American alligator. He was huge! And sound asleep.

Ankole cattle.

Bactrian camel. I guess we didn't get any pictures of the dromedary camels, but they were also really cute and because we were able to see them up close, I noticed that they had eyes just like goats! I never knew that, but it makes sense. We will have to look up later if there are any other animals with eyes like that.

Oh. My. Gosh! Brazilian three banded armadillo. He was such a little speed demon and was zipping around and around his little enclosure. I've never seen such a small armadillo around, but he was simply adorable!

Another stop we made, after we took the train ride through the elk herd, was to the Elkhorn mine! We were not able to catch any pictures, but that's because this was a hands-on activity. The kids were able to scoop up sand in the mine and fill their bucket. Afterwards we went back to the sluice and the kids were shown how dip their trays into the water and shift the sand off. They got quite a few pretty treasures! Lots of amethyst and different kinds of fossils and stones and even a few shark teeth! I will be doing a post on mining activities at home later on which will go along with our "mineral discoveries" theme.

After a few hours the kids were tuckered out and the zoo was about to close. Last stop was of course the gift shop! Bean picked out a tiger and Munchkin got himself a goat and I couldn't resist the cute leopard, so he came along too. Munchkin also got a bag of giant magnets and Bean picked out some pretty stones. They also got a bag of little turtles, since Bean is so interested in turtles lately, so we will be making a small world for them later on! Bean also really liked some (hopefully artificial) bear claws, arrowheads and small geodes, so we got some of those too.

Munchkin and Bean goofed around a lot on the way home. They sang and played our version of Marco Polo and munched on their Annie's cheddar bunnies and tried to feed their new "pets". I'm just glad they had such a nice day and enjoyed seeing all the animals!

If you are interested, here is the Full Exhibit List of the Southwick's Zoo animals. We weren't able to see all of them (I am so sad that we somehow managed to miss the sloths!), but there is always next time!

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