Monday, September 1, 2014

Rainy Days

It seldom wakens the spirit to take the first glance outside in the morning and see rain. Not that it had rained, mind you, but that it has and is still raining. To be clear, it matters not whether it is a workday, a weekend day, or a Myday, although the grievance with a rainy workday is simply that of a person that detests driving in inclement weather.

All of that having been said, a clever person has backup plans. A less clever person does not, but given a few minutes with a warm cuppa in hand, might come up with a few. And every now and then, a plan just pops up of its own accord.

This time around, both happened. The unforeseen plan was really more of a chore - the morning ablutions were interrupted by the *SNAP* of some piece of mechanical functionality in the inner workings of the commode. With the device rendered difficult to use if not entirely bereft of utility, 'twas plain that a trip to the local hardware store would be on the agenda.

But first, my thoughts hearkened back to those halcyon days when Co-pilot Egg was eager and ready to accompany her daddy on just about any adventure, but Sunday mornings were reserved for going to the zoo. And there she was, wide awake and ready to go at what by her wont is the break of dawn, but for your's truly is mid-morning. Back in the day, we would try to be the first through the gate, what with us both understanding the benefits that accrue to the early risers. Standing three deep trying to see what's going on with some exotically behaving animal was as frustrating as missing a parade for the forest of heads in front of us blocking the view, so an early arrival gave us unobstructed quiet time with the zoo residents.

The next best thing to an early start, however, was extant: rain. No one likes to go out in the rain.

Except us.

It has been some number of years since I have been to the Columbus Zoo, and those intervening years have been well spent. The zoo has made so many changes and improvements that it took a discerning eye to recognize the underlying familiar places and things. These improvements must not have come cheap; parking and admission cost a stunning $38 for the two of us, halfway to a year long season ticket. Had I been thinking as clearly as a second cuppa would have enabled, I would have done the math and just gone ahead with such a purchase. As it is, well... ouch!

Still, the days of having my little buddy ready and willing to do stuff with Dad are waning. Grab 'em while you can, sez I.

And so it was that we found ourselves strolling in the rain in a nearly deserted zoo.

Note the shirt she's wearing. It may be hard to tell, but the picture is that of a giraffe's face. You need to know that Co-pilot Egg is absolutely passionate about giraffes. In fact, other than visiting the cute little Arctic Foxes, there was no other goal at all in our visit but seeing the giraffes.

As such, she found the rest of the visit to be a huge bore. (That was a pun, son, and there'll be more than one before we're done.)

She also takes great joy in rivaling my "walking spell checker" abilities, and wanted to show me the misspelling in this sign. See if you can find it.

Well, we sure don't have to worry about her being too short for things anymore, and I have long since broken myself of the habit of calling her "Shorty."

Growing impatient with my slow pace, she rushed on ahead and vented her irritation on a moose, wrestling it to the ground by its antlers.

The zoo is laid out by geographical region, and in each region the zoo designers have gone to laudable efforts to recreate a veneer of the regional ambiance. I knew we were getting close to the Arctic region:

As they say, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.

Or, I guess more accurately, you could say you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, and you can pick a Polar Bear's nose, although the pithy wordplay kinda falls apart if you do.

Oh look! A sloth bear, a spectacled bear, and a spectacled sloth who seldom cleans her room.

Just kiddin' - that one was too easy to resist.

Dolphins and camels, two mammals who simply cannot look unhappy.

The giraffes are housed in the new Africa area. As I said, they go to great lengths to capture something of the local ambiance. I've never been to Africa, but I've seen movies. This is probably a pretty accurate rendition.

It doesn't even bother me that most of the 'decorations' are actually revenue generators.

I would like to have eaten here. The menu looked interesting and the prices weren't as high as you would expect.

It will come as no surprise that I found this Beech 18 to be a welcome sight. Even more intriguing to see a lion asleep on the wing. I thought that to be just a bit too convenient, but it is actually a real live lion. I wonder if they trained him to sleep there... it still seems just a bit contrived.

They even air-brushed oil stains on the engine cowling.

There doesn't seem to be anything similar to our EPA in Africa - they still have functional gas can nozzles.

This was my attempt to determine if this was a real, live lion. He was breathing, so I'm saying yes, yes it was.

If not, they sure went too far with the anatomical correctness!

How cool is this!  You can actually get inside the plane!

You can even simulate trying to start the engines. The sound was so incredibly realistic!!

The level of detail is just amazing. They actually pressed and colored the concrete to look like dry, broken clay, up to and including paw prints.


Egg saw the giraffes over in the distance, just waiting for visitors. It looked like that area was behind a fence, though, so when she asked to go over there, I replied, "It looks blocked off, Kenya even get over there?" Africa, Kenya, "can ya" -- get it?

Luckily, there was another place we could get to that had one of the friendlier giraffes visiting the few people that had braved the rain. His name is reportedly Shaggy.

I really can't see why, but then I just recently stopped calling a 5' 10" girl "Shorty."

No idea who this young 'un is, but it would appear that she shares Egg's fascination with giraffes. She stood there completely still, completely mesmerized.

Shaggy reciprocated.

I love this picture! Shaggy's photobomb.

The docents made a big deal out of these three gathering together. They say giraffes are very cat-like in that they are spare with their affections and don't often herd.

Shaggy turned out to be something of a camera hog.

The highlight of the day (we waited an hour for this!) was feeding the giraffe. They sometimes don't allow this when the weather is not so great, but the hour Egg spent charming the docents with her over-the-brim excitement and anticipation won the day. They simply had to let her feed Shaggy!

A good time was had by all.

We had no sooner finished that than the rain really started coming down, and we figured we had had enough.

Happy giraffe day!

Oh, the toilet repair? Three frustrating trips to Lowe's to get the right parts. It didn't take long to start missing our walk in the rain.


Hugo said...

Precious memories. My dad is gone, by my memories stay with me. Thank-you for sharing yours.

Steve said...

If she's ever in Valencia... let me just say that they have the best giraffe exhibit I've ever seen. Beautiful city all around but they really do have one hell of a zoo.

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