Our visit to the Safari Park this week was pretty exciting! We weren’t even sure we were going until the evening before, which is kind of unusual for us…you know spontaneity and all! I usually like to prep for a couple of days, because I pack the three of us a lunch that is pretty much all from scratch and I had that darned daylight savings time change to deal with. I woke up at 9 am, thinking I had already overslept…until Hubby reminded me it was really 10! Not the greatest start, but I used my supermom powers and somehow got us all fed, dressed, packed and out the door at a reasonable time. I even managed a homemade lunch and it was one of the best chicken salads I’ve ever made. I will try to remember the recipe to share here sometime. I believe that was my lesson that spontaneity vs over planning can be a good thing!
Back to the Safari Park…
What We Saw
Our first exciting encounter was the Elephant Keeper talk at the Tembo Stadium. We just happened to walk up as it was starting, and I’m glad we we did. This was a chance to see several of the elephants up close, including the newest baby elephant, Qinisa. I couldn’t believe how cute this baby was and my little girl, J was ecstatic watching her run around the enclosure. Heck, so was I! We also got to see the mother elephant, Swazi and another younger elephant.
We learned that the adult elephants are all from Swaziland. The trainers use a whistle to alert them to do particular tasks. Swazi showed off her skills by ignoring a glove tossed by her and then retrieving it on command. Keepers also believe Swazi may have weak eyesight, as she doesn’t always notice scuffles among the other elephants. We also learned that there is a definite hierarchy among the Herd, with Swazi being the dominate female. This gives little Qinisa a bit of an advantage, as her daughter, and apparently she knows it!
We were also were excited to make it down to the African Outpost area for an Animal Encounter with Kusikia, the Bat Eared Fox. She is only around 9 months old and is in training for the encounters. She’s a little skittish during the presentation, but once she relaxes a bit she puts on quite a show, chasing her toys and cuddling with her keepers. Kusikia is adorable and we loved watching her up close.
We learned that Kusikia, as mentioned already, is still just a baby. She loves stuffed pandas and always has one in her enclosure to play with. The keepers mentioned that they are hopeful that Kusikia will become comfortable enough with people to one day be touched and pet during her Animal Encounters outings.
We are excited about our next visit to the park, since it is the opening weekend of Butterfly Jungle! It is a thrilling opportunity to walk among hundreds of live butterflies as they float and possibly land for a moment on you! The photo ops are overwhelming, so I hope to get a few interesting ones to share! The Safari Park is also holding several contests to celebrate Butterfly Jungle, so head over to their website for a chance to win a great prize and read more about this exciting event!