Lions and Tigers and Budgies?

Leaving my little prairie dog friends I returned to my quest to get back to the first exhibit. I made a slight detour to see what was in a large barn like building. This is the “Little Critters” exhibit. It includes a Boa Constrictor, green tree frog, a sugar glider and a tortoise.

At first I thought the Amur leopard exhibit was closed because it said it was under construction but apparently they are building a new enclosure because as I passed the new one I came upon a lush, shaded enclosure and there was the leopard. It was a truly beautiful animal even if it was just waking from a nap.

I passed a fake termite mound and the Red Panda enclosure but I didn’t see the panda and then I was back on the main path. Coming right at me was the “little engine that could” or at least a little red train. The train was headed to the other side of the zoo with a load of parents and kids. It looked like fun but I wasn’t ready to start riding around yet.

I was headed to the Serengeti Crossing. In this large exhibit you will find Plains Zebra, Ostrich and Wildebeest.

The wildebeest also had a baby. The enclosure had 2 observation decks. For the size of this enclosure I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could see all of the animals listed. The ostrich was front and center drinking from a mud puddle.

 A small group of wildebeest including the baby were relaxing in the shade of some trees and the zebra was patrolling the fence at the rear of the enclosure.

Now that I was back on track I moved on to the Giraffe Savannah. Sure enough, front and center were two marvelous giraffe.

It’s amazing how such gangly animals can move so smoothly and gracefully. The giraffes share their enclosure with another kind of zebra, the Grevy’s zebra.

 I spotted just one enjoying some shade right across from the carousel.

Just past the carousel and the zebra was another enclosure named Butterfly Landing.

Like  Magic Wings in Deerfield, this enclosure was home to butterflies and moths. There were Painted Ladies and Monarch Butterflies to name just two.

There weren’t as many as at Magic Wings. The attendant said they try to keep the numbers down because some people “freak out”. I mentioned that I remembered seeing loads of Painted Ladies gathering on the mud of puddles after a summer shower when I was growing up.

The attendant said yes, that is how they absorb minerals they need from the dirt. Unlike Magic Wings which is open year round, this display is seasonal only.

Leaving the Butterflies to their dirt, I passed the playground with its bungee jumps and the Things Wild Gift Shop to enter the Aussie Outback. I passed the emus, and red Kangaroo and in a separate enclosure, a tree Kangaroo.

 That was a treat because they were very active actually climbing the tree and then coming back down and hopping around their enclosure.

Back outside I saw 2 black swans outside the Aussie Aviary.

 I paid $2.00 for a feeding stick and headed into see the Budgies. This was fun! First of all I knew these birds as parakeets when I was growing up and just like my pet parakeet, they came flying when they thought there was food!

 I finally passed my seed stick to some of the kids so I could free up my hands to take pictures. It was win-win for us all. I spent quite a bit of time here. I think this was my favorite exhibit.

I moved on to Bird World which was a bit of a let down after the aviary and walked through the Flight Cage of the Andean Condor. If there was one, I didn’t see it. The Flamingos were having a party in their enclosure.

Seriously, no sedate standing around for this bunch. They were splashing water, making hooting noises and calls and flapping their huge wings.  They smell! But according to the signs that’s not dirt, it’s just their odor and since they like to be in groups the scent is multiplied by so many bird bodies…kind of like a locker room after a big game.

I had reached the Giraffe Entrance and now it looked familiar. There was a statue outside the gates. There didn’t seem to be as many people over here. It was time to make the swing back.

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