Monday, June 8, 2009

Gators Take On The Zoo

This weekend Eric and I spent a lot of time in the Bronx! On Saturday, we made the trek up there for a Gotham Gators (the NYC chapter of UF alumni) function at the Bronx Zoo. Really, it was just an excuse for us to get out to the zoo, and then we were able to have a buffet lunch with other fellow Gators. We had a great time! (WARNING: This post is going to contain a lot of pictures. You know me and the pictures - I love 'em.)

We really enjoyed the Zoo. It flowed well, and we were able to see everything in our day there. Our tickets we bought through the Gotham Gators also included admission to nearly all of the attractions that generally cost extra, like the Bug Carousel, Butterfly Garden, and Congo Gorilla Forest. We started our day off with the Bug Carousel (which was possibly Eric's first time on a carousel) and the Butterfly Garden (which freaked me out quite a bit - there were butterflies ALL OVER the place, and they scared me).

Me on the Bug Carousel (quite possibly the only time I haven't run screaming from a large insect)

Eric was not super thrilled with his first carousel experience.

Butterflies in the butterfly garden


Now THIS butterfly I can handle.

Eric is a hungry, hungry caterpillar.

After braving the butterflies, we hit the Mouse House, where we saw activity between two gerbils. One of the poor gerbils kept running away, but that other one just would not take "no" for an answer. "No" means NO, gerbil.

Then it was on to the giraffes. There was a baby giraffe, awww!

Baby giraffe!

We then headed to the Baboon Reserve, which is where our zoo visit took a very non-G-rated turn. The head baboon was...uh...happy to be on his little reserve, I guess. And there he was, posting up in front of the females, all "what's up, ladies?" in all his baboon glory. I have posted a censored photo below (this blog is family friendly, after all!), but if baboon genitalia does it for ya, you can see the uncensored image here. Needless to say, he drew quite a crowd.

Baboon and his harem

We had a similar experience with a zebra the last time we went to the zoo in D.C. Not sure what it is about us that brings out the joy in these animals. Maybe we're just lucky.

The other awesome part of the Baboon Reserve was THIS guy:

Whoa, guy! Calm it down!

He's making a crazy intense face at us! Doesn't he remind you of the Dramatic Gopher of YouTube fame?

After our Baboon fun, we stopped to visit the bears (both polar and grizzly) and then hit the reptile house before heading to lunch.

That's a funny way to sleep! Actually, my sister used to sleep like this when she was a baby. Ha.

Grizzly bear


My notes tell me this is a Lace Monitor. He's totally mellow, man.

After lunch, we made our way to the other side of the zoo to check out everything over there. We saw an awesome camel first. He and Eric really bonded, I think.

Just posing for the camera

Next up was my favorite part of the day - the sea lions! They're so cool. The male was swimming around and barking his crazy head off.

Hi there, sea lion!

From there we went to the Birds of Prey Exhibit, which was Eric's favorite part. All the birds of prey were basically posing for us! They were really cool.

Golden Eagle. Does anyone else notice that his head is on backwards?

Bald Eagle

Eric and me by the Bald Eagle

King Vultures

After Birds of Prey we made our way through the Aquatic Bird House, which was fairly uninteresting because many of the birds in there were birds we can see at the beach in Florida. So, we weren't super impressed. I did enjoy the penguins, though, of course. Those we do NOT have in Florida.

This little guy was just floating along, enjoying the nice day

We then made our way over to Tiger Mountain, where we were just in time to see the tiger walk past before he went way in the back to lay down. Then it was on to the lions, where we were able to see another baby! Awww, I love all these animal babies.


Little lion family! The baby is the one walking. He just got done pestering his mom, who is laying down.

After the lions, we hit the Congo Gorilla Forest, which was really pretty cool. There were gorillas everywhere! We got some great views.

Big ol' gorilla wandering around

These little baby gorillas ran right in front of us and then stopped to hug and kiss each other. The crowd erupted in a giant, "awwwww!"

Look at this guy! Doesn't he look fake?

By a waterfall in the gorilla forest

After the gorillas, we made our way down past the African Plains (I loved the African Wild Dogs!), then to the Wild Asia Monorail. This was a great way to end the day - a nice seated tour of the Asia exhibit. We were able to see lots of animals, while resting our feet! Perfect end to a long day.

On the monorail

Tiger, licking his chops

I can't for the life of me remember what these are. I tried to Google, but no luck. But, there were lots of them and they were cool.

And last but not least, a zoo staple: the elephants!

And that was our day at the zoo! Very fun. Glad we made the trip out there. We spent Sunday in the Bronx too, but more about that later!

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