San Diego Zoo 7-28-14

We had a rare weekday visit the San Diego Zoo last week. Because of work we usually reserve trips for the weekends, but there was a scheduled power outage for maintenance. Since we are self employed, a holiday was declared, and we spent the day together at the zoo. The summer crowds were light and we had no trouble doing and seeing everything we wanted!

We spent a lot of time in the reptile house this visit. We don’t often walk through this exhibit, but we have been doing a turtle unit study and it was a perfect accompaniment.

San Diego Zoo Reptiles

The Komodo Dragons were out and quite active, much to our delight!

San Diego Zoo Komodo Dragons

We also made a point of seeking out some turtles to observe. We watched the Alligator Snapping Turtle for a bit. I didn’t get a really clear picture of him, but I love the effect of my daughters hat reflecting on his head in the glass!

San Diego Zoo Alligator Snapping Turtle

We also really enjoyed the Galapagos Turtles exhibit. They are fascinating to watch, slowly making their way around. We found out this guy is 110 years old and came to the zoo in 1928!

San Diego Zoo Galapagos Turtle

We saw some very cute and fuzzy baby flamingos that had just hatched in June.

San Diego Zoo Baby  Flamingos

And, speaking of cute babies…

San Diego Zoo Baby Giraffe

This very tall baby was also born in June at the zoo.

Of course, our trip wasn’t complete without a stop to see some magnificent big cats. We just happened upon the new mountain lion exhibit. It is open and has plenty of viewing area for many guests. Luckily, the two mountain lions we saw were out and ready to be admired.

San Diego Zoo Mountain Lion

The jaguar was also very active and stayed close in proximity, which was exciting for the kids. Of course, with him being in a darkened cave, behind glass, it didn’t net me the greatest photograph. But I still enjoy what I got and the experience of watching this magnificent animal with my daughter.

San Diego Zoo Jaguars

That brings us to our stately and beautiful M’Bari. I know I’ve posted about him many times, and most visits we see him sleeping in the shade. It is the fortunate day, indeed, when we catch him actively earning his title of King. Then, it’s a matter of squeezing through a throng of eager guests to even get a glimpse of him. This trip we got the best of both…M’bari was out and the crowds were light. We observed him gnawing away on a bony snack and he even got up and strutted a little before turning his back on everyone and laying down. 🙂

San Diego Zoo M'Bari

San Diego Zoo M'Bari

He certainly is one gorgeous kitty!

If you have an opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo this summer, they are once again having Nightime Zoo. It looks to be very fun and a great chance to see some of the animals that aren’t always out during the day.  There are also a host of shows, activities and contests! We are definitely looking forward to our next visit!

 

 

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Lizard Wizard Birthday Party!

My nephew just turned five and for his birthday party my sister booked the Lizard Wizard. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, this company comes out to your house or party location with a collection of reptiles for the guests to experience and learn about. As I mentioned, this was a party for a five year old boy…of course  he loves spiders, snakes and bugs! I was a bit hesitant, though, but was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I actually had seeing and learning about these creatures. My little girl, on the other hand, was little miss adventurous! She couldn’t wait to hold a bug, touch a snake or grab a frog! I was quite proud of her! 🙂

To start things off, the kids got to hold some frogs. Some were small and sticky and some, like this guy, were large and slimy!

Michael Jordan the Bullfrog

Michael Jordan the Bullfrog

My daughter couldn’t wait to let the giant cockroach climb on her…(insert mother shudder here). Actually, this was a pretty popular, many of the kids wanted their chance to wear a cockroach brooch!

Cockroach Brooch

Cockroach Brooch

There were also several volunteers, including my sister and mother, who wanted to have a tarantula placed on their head.  My 2 year old was eager to get close to this one because it was an “itsy bitsy spider.” Hmm, there’s not much itsy, or bitsy about him, methinks.

Tarantula Hair Accessory

Tarantula Hair Accessory

The kids got to see a few kinds of lizards and even a skink that would stick out his tongue and give a kiss. He was a lot of fun and I captured the best expressions on their faces in pictures!

Lizard Wizard 7

Then came an array of snakes for everyone to hold. The boys loved this! I have lots of pictures with snakes wrapped around arms and fists and triumphant smiles. The girls are quite the opposite.  All of  those photos show frightened and repulsed expressions…yet they jumped right in there! This is one of the things I marveled at with this party. Everyone was involved and excited to learn and experience these creatures!

Lizard Wizard 2

Lizard Wizard 4

The Lizard Wizard team also set up a little petting zoo for the kids to interact with some frogs and turtles and even a baby alligator.  They showcased a huge 45 lb turtle, Tonka,  who quietly sat in his bucket while all the kids helped wash his shell. This was a brilliant idea! I can’t tell you how exciting it was for all of them to help clean the turtle.

Turtle Wash

Turtle Wash

Lizard Wizard 5

Lizard Wizard 3

Then came the pièce de résistance, Popcorn the python. Everyone was fascinated by this beautiful creature. Even I let them drape Popcorn around my shoulders, because, really, when do you ever get the chance to do that?

Lizard Wizard 1

This was easily one of the best parties we’ve had. Every kid there was interested and having fun with the animals…even if they were a little scared! We had quite a range of ages, as well, and all enjoyed it. We got lots of positive feedback from the guests. The Lizard Wizards themselves were very professional and knowledgeable about every creature they exhibited. They were two young adults, but they did a fantastic job interacting with all of the children. You definitely get the sense that they love and respect all of their creatures. I can’t say enough good things about this party and I’m sure my sister will be hiring them again. If you have a chance to have a Lizard Wizard party or a similar company near you, please give it a try. You’ll probably be just as surprised as me and all the other squeamish mothers at our party, at how much fun you have!