Monday, December 19, 2011

Zoo Trip Part Two

So, after our coffee and squirrel encounter, we walked past a big area with five giraffes, a couple of gazelles, and a really huge camel, then past a petting zoo with the usual sheep and goats. I wanted to go in the petting zoo but Keith didn't, so we'll save that for next time. We went to the orangutan encounter where they have a two story viewing platform to watch the two adult orangutans and one big gibbon, but nobody was outside. Apparently there are also two baby orangutans but they don't let them out when it's too cold.

Then, some more animals and birds and as we're walking along we hear the most beautiful chirping and singing and we're looking around for whatever bird is so happily singing away, thinking it must be a big bird to have such a big loud song and it's a tiny little thrush. We listened to that for a while because it really was something to hear.

They have two Andes condors and one of them obligingly spread his huge wings which are like 12 feet across.

Then we heard monkeys screeching and went back to the orangutan enclosure and here is a black gibbon swinging and playing and having a really good time. He reminded me of little kids playing, just swinging for the sheer joy of it and then hanging upside down for a while, then swinging some more. Guess that's where they got the name monkey bars from for the playground equipment that I don't think they even make any more because they're too dangerous or something.

At first I thought this was a chimpanzee, it looks a lot like one and is about that size, but I finally read the signs in the exhibit and found out that it is a gibbon.

One of the orangutans was out, sitting on top of a huge tree trunk, just sitting there ignoring us. He was only a few feet away from us and we were kind of amazed at how hairy this guy was, and we were thinking that orangutans must have been the inspiration for dreadlocks. He finally got bored sitting there and then slowly made his way around the enclosure to his little house. Not quite as energetic as the gibbon.

We were starting to get tired, it's not a big zoo but we still did quite a bit of walking and decided to make our way to the exit, but then as we get to the exit realize that we didn't go to the left where the wolves and the reptiles are. They have a really nice wolf exhibit where they made like a fake mountaintop with a very deep gully around it so the wolves can't get out- yikes! They have lots of trees so it's as you would see them in the wild, very beautiful wolves and if you have to live in a zoo, a pretty nice enclosure. I really didn't want to go in the reptile house thinking that if you've seen one you've seen them all and my feet and legs were really tired, but we went in and I was glad I did because it was the nicest reptile house I'd ever seen. Very quiet inside with low lighting but bright lighting in the windows so you could really see the colors of the assorted snakes and frogs and lizards. I was very impressed with how nice it was. It was also nice and warm inside.

The zoo is in the process of building a sea lion exhibit, Keith was watching some of the work going on and it looks like a huge project and will have an underwater viewing window that will be like 36 feet long. Hopefully that will all be finished the next time we go visit. Which will be when the weather is a little warmer.

Back on the road going home we wanted to stop for an early dinner since we didn't have lunch and I suggested another stop in Tulare where we saw lots of restaurants but Keith wanted to stop at a little diner that he had been to before that had really good food, so we're looking out for this diner and finally see it as we are driving past the exit so we go a few miles further down the road to the next exit to turn around and go back. Tulare hosts the World Agriculture Expo each year and has a huge agricultural complex with buildings and a museum and apparently in the agricultural world is the place to be during Expo week. And apparently people do come from around the world to visit. I'm reminded of this because we drove past the Expo grounds as we were turning around to find the diner.

We sit down in a mostly empty diner and realize that our table is shaking. Is there a big truck driving by? No, it's because the fans in the building make certain tables shake, so we changed tables. And then ate our dinner. Completely by ourselves because the other few people in the diner had finished their food and left. It's always a little creepy being the only people in a restaurant.

One other central valley fact. Selma, which is right outside of Fresno, is the Raisin Capitol of the World. How about that? All of the vineyards that you see driving through Selma are not wine grapes, but raisin grapes. There is even a Sunmaid raisin store that you can visit.

So, it was a fun and tiring day, by the time we got home we were ready to just crash on the couch and ended up going to bed early.

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