Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time Off

The time came for me to keep a running To Do list.  I kept forgetting to do things, then rushing to get them done when I realized they needed attention.  My list never seems to be finished.  Each day I add something new, in spite of marking off at least one or two items that were already there.

Sometimes we simply need to take a break.

In addition to writing, I design author websites and provide childcare for my grandkids.  All but one of the five (a step-grand makes it six) is in school.  (Hear my hallelujah?)  So last week, still in the throes of not having my taxes filed yet, website work to do, and a proposal that needs some changes and polishing, my youngest daughter decides we need to take the youngest grand (her niece) to the zoo.  One more thing to add to the list.  But I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Okay, if you really want to."  After all, there's a special admission price this month on Wednesdays, making it less painful on the pocketbook.

With a backpack stuffed with sandwiches, and my camera in hand, we went to the zoo.  It's been a while since we've gone.  In fact, Payton (above with the bears) has never been to our zoo.  She wasn't exactly wild about the idea at first, but once there, when told, "Come on, we have to go," after looking over an animal, she cried.  Yeah, I think she liked it. :)

We have a wonderful zoo here, much better than the tiny (free) one in a park that I visited as a child.  Not that I've never seen better than that old one.  I've been to some of the best, including the Chicago Zoo and the San Diego Zoo.  But I have to say that ours now ranks among the best.  While there are some of the more common animals (lions and tigers and bears and, of course, elephants, and Michael Jackson once bought a baby giraffe from our zoo), we include the more uncommon from all over the world.  The best part is that the animals are shown in their natural habitat, not sleeping or pacing in cages.


The zoo is divided into sections, including areas of the world.  There's the Children's Farms that include an Asian Farm, American Farm, and African Farm.  Our new Penguin Cove opened a few years ago, and there's an indoor Amphibian & Reptile building, that begins with three large, and very old, tortoises and ends with the snakes (shiver).  Since seeing Harry Potter, I have images still in my mind of how the glass disappeared when I stand in front of the Anaconda exhibit.

Inside the Jungle
The Jungle building is one of the most popular and includes not only a real waterfall, but fruit bats flying freely and vampire bats in a dark, glassed in area.  Plants are everywhere, and the birds are free to fly and roam...and make a lot of noise.  There's the North American area, with bears and buffaloes and more, the Gorilla Forest that's so much fun to watch.  Africa and Asia, which includes the Tiger Trek, moves on to Australia and South America.  Most of the animals from those last two regions were unavailable, thanks to our colder weather here, but we'll catch them the next time.

Gorilla playing with a sheet
The exhibits are all well-marked as is the way to each area, and the information shared on each animal is fascinating.  School children from the city and surrounding school districts take trips to the zoo every year and learn new things.  And, yes, I do read those information signs.  Flamingos get their pink/orange color from eating greens that contain iodine.  I remember the flamingos at Cyprus Gardens in Florida when I was child, but I never knew until yesterday that the underside of a flamingos wings are black, thanks to them taking low flight from the shore to the pond yesterday.

While it wasn't the beautiful day forecasted, and the sun refused to come out from behind thick clouds, with a stiff breeze and 10 degrees cooler than expected, we still had a wonderful time!  Proof, once again, that time off is needed by everyone, and it doesn't take much to make some of those times memorable.
“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” ~ Douglas Pagels

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