Friday, October 28, 2011

Zoo Trip

Last weekend I went with my sister's family to visit the Indianapolis Zoo. I've been to Indy hundreds of times, but I don't think I've ever been to their zoo before. I took hundreds of photos, two or three of which actually came out OK.

Here's my nephew Alphonse on the trip there fiddling with the Child Pacification Device, otherwise known as the iPad.

That's a sea lion swimming around. It's tough to get them to hold still long enough to take a good photo.

That's the sea lion there being shy, peeking up just over the edge of the pool.

Alphonse and his dad Marceau walking through the dolphin tank observation area bubble thing.

Marceau and my sister Adelle gazing at the wonders of the deep.

Another shot inside the dolphin tank. I think that lady's trying to warn everyone of an approaching shark. These shots came out much better than I expected, especially since I turned off the flash.

A question for any zookeepers out there: the water in the dolphin tank was clear, blue and obviously chlorinated. Isn't that bad for the dolphins? I get why it has to be chlorinated, but surely living in bleach water 24 hours a day can't be good for them. Is there a special milder type of zoo chlorine?

The dolphin show pics didn't turn out so well, but I did what I could with them in Photoshop.

The trainers were using various hand signals to communicate with the dolphins and tell them what tricks to perform. After the show I went up to the tank (where the dolphins were still swimming around) and tried some of the hand signals on them. Unfortunately they just ignored me. Stupid dolphins! It's probably just as well. The last thing I need is to have to buy the zoo a new dolphin because I caused one to break its back doing an unauthorized trick.

Here we are on the Island of Ring-Tailed Lemurs. They look cool, but I have a feeling if you tried having even one for a pet your house would smell like you had fifty cats.

Marceau and Alphonse observe the lemurs.

Alphonse and me. This is a prime example of why our family doesn't take a lot of photos of ourselves.

Alphonse has this deal where even if he's having a good time, he can't bring himself to show it in a photo. I suspect he's part Vulcan.

Hey, I've got some of these in my back yard...

I think this was an iguana of some type. No doubt just waiting for a dose of radiation to come by so it can mutate into Godzilla and wreck the city.

The Meerkat exhibit. These animals owe a debt of gratitude to The Lion King, because nobody in America ever heard of them before that movie came out.

More meerkats chillin.'

A diamondback rattler, looking really annoyed.

The reason he looks so pissed is because the snake exhibit was almost pitch black and I accidentally took this photo with the flash on. No doubt he died from shock a second later.

Some snake with a weird skull-like marking on its scary head.

 A family of giraffes.

These rhinos need some more color in their lives. They almost look like they were shot on black and white film (ask your parents what that was, kids).

Alphonse gazes wistfully into the distance as he watches a rhino take a huge dump.

Personally I think if you need a sign to tell you not to climb into the lion cage, then you get what you deserve.

Not dingos, but wild dogs. Not sure what difference there is, but it probably matters to them.

The baboon exhibit. They were cute, except for their mouths full of six inch long razor sharp canines.

Again, these zebras need some color. Even their enclosure is gray and monochromatic.

Probably as close as I'll ever get to a real, live cheetah.

Hopefully cheetahs aren't good jumpers. I got enough problems in my life without having my head bitten off by a cheetah in downtown Indianapolis.

It's hard to see here, but there's a baby elephant tagging along just behind the mother's front legs. Sorry, best picture I could get without jumping the fence, swimming the moat and running a hundred yards over to them.

By the way, according to one of the zoo volunteers, the only thing elephants are afraid of is bees. African farmers use real beehives or even recordings of bees to keep them away from their crops. So if you're ever being attacked by an elephant, try making a "buzzing" sound with your mouth. You're going to get trampled anyway, so why not try it?

I think God just wasn't into his job the day he made the warthog.

So cuddly. And so deadly.

You know when you think about it, pretty much every animal we saw there could kill a human without breaking a sweat. Maybe that's the appeal of a zoo; not to see animals, but to see murderous, deadly animals and live to tell about it. It's not a zoo, it's a MurderDeathKill Park.

Just a coupla' bats hangin' out. They were pretty big; well over a foot long. You definitely won't be catching this kind in your hat!

Hard to see, but there's a ton of coins at the bottom of this pool. I'm thinking about installing one of these in my front yard and living off the pennies. I may need to do that soon.

You know what poem I've always hated? If you answered "all of them" you'd be technically correct, but specifically I've always hated the "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright" poem. Why? Because it goes like this:

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Really? You're really going to try to rhyme "eye" with "symmetry?" Am I supposed to pronounce it "sim-et-TRY?" Screw you, William Blake, and the prose you rode in on!

Did you know the white spots on the back of a tiger's ears are supposed to look like eyes, so other predators will think it's looking at them and not sneak up on it? Was that really ever enough of a problem for tigers that they felt the need to evolve this trait? What moron of an animal needs fake ear eyes to stop it from sneaking up on a freakin' tiger?

"Aw, who's the cutest little 1,700 pound murder death machine with razor sharp claws? You are, that's who!"

Alphonse posing with the polar bear, who appears to be whispering a secret to him. I think it's saying, "I could bat your head off your neck with one swipe of my paw."

The walrus in this tank either really liked swimming upside down or he had an inner ear infection.

It's tough to get manta rays to pose for a good photo.


Manta rays are one of the happier of underwater species.

I know, it's a horrible photo with the flash in the middle, but it did manage to capture some cool looking fish.

I always thought moray eels came in drab brown or dark green. I had no idea they came in fluorescent dishwashing-glove yellow like this.

Again, so beautiful and so deadly. These shots came out way better than I thought they would.

Another sea lion swimming, just before if bit off Buster's hand (that's for you Arrested Development fans).

Ya can't go to the zoo without seeing the penguins. It's the law.

This is what most of my dreams look like.

Heading back home.

Alphonse and I amused ourselves on the ride home with Mad Libs. I gave him the weirdest and most non sequitur words I could think of, which really cracked him up. I was happy yet surprised to see that a child of the digital age could still be entertained by something as low tech as Mad Libs.

Again, this is why we don't take our photos more often. What the hell is going on with my neck? Does it look like that all the time? Why didn't anyone tell me?

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