We took a mini break away from bookpacking and went to the Audubon Zoo! The zoo experience overall was a time full of relaxation, playful exploration, and "joie de vivre." The gang definitely had moments where our "inner child" came out and roamed free. The fam and I first came across the entrance of the Audubon zoo and took pictures of the beautiful statue of the great French naturalist, bird watcher, and painter, John James Audubon. Surrounded by fecund wild sunflowers, we protected ourselves under the sun's stinging rays as we took a moment to take pictures and smell the fresh flowers.
After the tickets were covered, Andrew gave his logistical presentation of the day. After he asked if we had any question, I immediately exclaimed, "flamingos!" and headed straight for the gorgeous exotic animals (I've always wanted to possess one when I was little). I goaded the precious animals along and beckoned them to come into the water.
Subsequently, the gang broke off in all different directions and I partnered with my good friend Alfredo to check out the rest of the zoo. Let me just start off by saying that the Audubon Zoo is incredible. This zoo is larger and hosts a wider variety of animals than any other zoo I've been to in California. The zoo is subdivided into four sections, possesses larger animal pens, lakes and forests, and even hosts a swamp tour section with alligators, snakes, and turtles!
We dashed away from the group and watched orangutans, finches, gazelles, and elephants lie lazily, eat grass, groom themselves and their mates, and fall sleep. Apparently, human beings are too boring and petty for these complex creatures. Some were amongst their family, some were amongst their friends, but all the little wild creatures were nested in their big pens. The elephants didn't care to see if we were watching them or not. The elephants were facing away from us and grubbing on grass while the orangutans swung carefree on the logs in their jungle pen. The finch birds had a haughty alert look, which made Olivia respond with a self-deprecating remark, "Please forgive me for my ill-mannered human friends." Although the gazelle family was turned away from the visitors, the family looked so powerful and majestic.
After we finished the Asian wildlife region of the zoo, we found ourselves in the heart of the zoo once again. I took some brief pictures of the elephant water fountain near the palm trees just to get a feel for adventure. Then, we chatted and took some photos with some ancient turtles.
Next we meandered over to the primate section and discovered the most fearsome yet lovely animals in the zoo- the gorilla and baboon. There were three gorillas (one adult, two children) and two baboons (both adults). The animals were relatively shy around the large crowds especially the alpha gorilla that stayed huddled in an upright fetal position. The animals looked a bit creeped out by all the human eyes peering at them, yet they handled the situation with grace.
I reached for my phone and saw the group message on the WhatsApp group chat. Supposedly, we were to meet everyone at the Zoofari Cafe at 3:15pm, which didn't happen and Alfredo and I moved on to the bird aviary, safari, and then eventually the swamp.
Here's the brief overview of the awesome aviary in the zoo:
- The aviary hosts more than 30 species of beautiful birds abound at Audubon Aviary.
- Some popular favorites include the Scarlet ibis, the Nicobar pigeon, the Taveta Golden Weaver, the Blue-crowned Laughingthrush
- The Aviary supports endangered species and is a safe haven for exotic birds
I thought the lakeside was a neat feature that housed turtles, birds, and various fish. the safari and contained an adult anteater that slugged around its pen. Then, I stumbled on our sleepy tiger friend and called Alfredo to come look at the tiger. For some strange reason, the tiger would not get up for the little children and the nervous adults who crept beside the window pane. So I sat down and cajoled the tiger into getting up, "Oh you're so cute and precious, you strong, big tiger you! Aha." The tiger eventually rose up and peered up at the glass, which attracted smaller children. Yet, as quickly as it rose up, it went back to sleep again.
We went deeper into the safari and headed towards the swamp. There was something about the staged tameness of the zoo that made me feel uneasy and sympathetic towards the animals. I sang in my head, "Roam little animals of God, roam all you wild ones, roam all you little critters, all you creatures of the day and all you creatures of the night, find a habitat in nature, run free from your human masters, don't entertain this human zoo, defy human reason and return to your homes." The parrot however caught my attention too soon.
Alligators are so cute! The one below is an albino alligator that just wants to be my friend. I showed Olivia this picture and she said, "It looks like it wants to tell you something, but it's smiling and closing its mouth in a forced and secretive way like I have something to tell you but I'm going to keep my mouth secretly closed." I deduced this was confirmation that the alligator wanted to be my friend, but didn't know how to use its words to tell me its true desire. However, I was awfully unsure about the compatibility between me and the other rotund alligators in the swamp. They look very intimidating and hungry.
Here's the short little youtube clip of the big alligator!
On our way back to the crew, we saw these little rascal raccoons and we were off to our hotel in the city!