And you would think that to me spring would mean more riding yes? No. I've been busy, work has been pretty flat out and tiring, so I haven't been bothered getting all geared up at ridiculous hours of the morning just to ride 5 minutes up the road to work during the week, and last weekend I had a surprise visit from my best friend from Newcastle who I haven't seen in way too long!
She had in tow her 12 year old son and his mate, so the best idea was to take them to the zoo or else they would have parked themselves in front of the Xbox all weekend and we wouldn't have gotten any sense out of them at all. So we hired bikes for the boys and my girlfriend and I drove the car around the first day, and it was fantastic!
One of the things I have always liked about this zoo is it's commitment to breeding programs, and that was in evidence last weekend with all the babies everywhere.
There's this baby Black Rhino, OK he's getting older, he turned two this year. But he's still cute!
This Greater One-Horned Rhino isn't a baby, but he was as shy as one so I was pretty happy to get such a good pic of him .. I literally had to stand in one place and snap constantly as he kept hiding behind anything he could find in his enclosure to hide behind.
Next babies we spotted where the Meercats, who's breeding program is
going so well that they may need a new home if they keep this up!!
They have two new babies but I couldn't get both of them in the same shot. I did manage to get this great shot of mum.
And one of the family on guard.
And a lovely baby portrait.
We moved on to the giraffes only to find that there was a new addition to ever expanding family there too. There seems to be a few adolescents here.
Who, like adolescents everywhere, were arguing over who gets the prize, hay in this case. So the next idea was to see if they could steal some of the grown ups hay.
Nope cant reach ....
Mum watches on ...
Yeah I liked the Giraffes, had you guessed that yet? Anyway I would like to share the cheekiness of them with you, which I managed to catch in the next two pics I think.
They aren't just graceful and pretty to look at, they were entertaining as well...
Then we spotted the sign that said the baby in this exhibit was born only four or five days ago ... oooh where is it???
Found him right at the back of the enclosure with mum and dad.
Already trying to work out how to get into mischief.
What's next ... oh lions. Day two included a feed the lions adventure for me and my best mates son, it was exciting for him and just awe inspiring for me. No babies there but incredible to be so close to such amazing powerful animals, I'm just glad we were feeding them through the fence, I think the lioness would have had all of us for desert if she could have, the male on the other hand was very polite.
He was huge, those paws were almost the size of the child's head that was feeding him!
The lioness was more aggressive, and was ready for more food the minute she had finished inhaling the bit you had just given her. And she wasn't afraid to let you know.
She growled at me when I turned my head for an instant, scared me a bit but wow amazing to see this creature like this ... I was almost expecting them to be half tamed and they really aren't.
I'm still trying to figure out if there's a real connection between the lioness and her keeper, or if she was eyeing off the food.
She was a beautiful girl though, who watched the crowd as much as they watched her at times.
At other times they both treated the crowds as if they weren't even there.
What were they looking at? The keeper was still over there tidying up and they were keeping an eye on her to make sure there was no more food on offer :)
Well I promised you baby animals, and there were more to be seen yet. There was a baby ...
Oh I knew I should have taken a photo of the sign saying what this was, but it will grow up to be one of these ..
There were a bunch of Takhi (Prezewalski's Horse) roaming around and one of my favourite pics of the day was of this one.
The next critter that presented itself to us was the Zebra. I'd spotted a baby one of these on our walk a couple of weeks ago so we were disappointed that we couldn't pick it out of the herd on the first day as they were too far away. On the second day they were resting closer to us and yay we got to watch them sit around for quite a while.
The baby was cute :)
There were three critters I really wanted to see, and I didn't get to see any of them til the second day. The first was the otters, they musta been off playing in the back yard when we were there on day one, so day two we deliberately went at feeding time.
It was hard to see them this time though because of the crowds of other people who had the same brilliant idea. I did get to watch them frolic in their pool for a while before it got too crowed though, and they are so much fun to watch!
I really wanted to see the American Bison. Such huge critters, incredible to watch ...
And the other critters ... Galapagos Tortoise. Yes I like huge critters. These guys are massive and when we got there we had another lovely surprise, born about two years ago was this little guy.
Can you see him? Let me help ...
Here he is in all his close up glory ...
Barely the size of the pebbles surrounding him, yet one day he will grow up to be as big as this ...
This was my favourite creature, so it stands to reason that my favourite photo was of him too.
He even smiled for me.
Well that was the it, the best was last. I love animals and being able to see them so close but not in cages was wonderful and something that I really should do a lot more.