Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Here Kitty, Kitty…

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Do you wonder what it would be like to have an exotic animal as a pet? I always toyed with the idea of having a pet jaguar, my favorite animal. (I could keep it in the basement with any unruly children, you know.) Well, Cat Tales Zoo is full of large cats that used to be the pets of actual (eccentric) people. The tour guide tells you stories about each feline, how many people they’ve killed, and how they came to be in a zoo.


They start by showing you the smallest wild cats, and you think, “Oh, they couldn’t hurt a fly.” Come to find out they’ve killed people. But as I stood there with my children, listening to the tour guide, I thought to myself, “These don’t look like ferocious felines at all. They’re lazing about like they’re on sedatives. They can hardly bother to yawn at you.”

So the sign saying, “Don’t Run: You Look Like Food” seemed like overkill to me.


A lion with a big fluffy mane was sleeping in his outhouse. Yes, it smelled like an outhouse but was more like a broken-down shed. He couldn’t bother to say hello. Later on, however, when we were on our way to the gift shop, we saw the lion step out and make his debut. He lazily walked about and let the tour guide rub him under the chin. “A little to the left…” he seemed to be saying.


The food for the large cats is kept in food lockers. One of the lockers said, “Other Meat: Unattended Children.” The tour guide tried to convince us that no actual children were in the meat locker. You could almost hear her laughing diabolically behind the scenes as she went to feed the animals.


On the way out, I saw two bird feeders inside one of the enclosed areas with a large cat. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor birdies. Fresh meat, you know. “Here, birdie, birdie… The big kitty won’t eat you…”



Going to the State Fair

Monday, September 20th, 2010

going-to-the-state-fairNormally I don’t like going to the state fair. The rides are rickety and overpriced, the food is greasy and way too expensive, and the games are nearly impossible to win. Booths sell stuff that you don’t need. Everything is loud and flashing. So for the past several years I’ve skipped the free homeschool tickets to the fair. Even going in for free on a weekday, you end up leaving with empty pockets and $100 flown out the window. Is it worth it? Normally, no. But this year I enjoyed it.going-to-the-state-fair-2

First we saw the animals. My daughter found a miniature horse that was the size of a dog. We fed some sheep right out of our hands. We looked at goats, pigs, rabbits, roosters, and cows. The highland cow was my favorite animal of the day, because it reminded me of Scotland. I forgot how much my daughter loves animals. Maybe some day she’ll be a vet.

Other buildingoing-to-the-state-fair-3gs included all kinds of displays: quilts, artwork, crafts, flowers, baked goods, and vegetables. Bees were located behind glass, and you had to find the queen. We bought straws with honey in them for ten cents. We touched the grains in many different baskets to feel and see the difference between the many grains. We also felt different patches of fur to see if we could identify the animals.

We went to a tractor pull, where kids had to pedal a tractor with more and more weight attached to it. We went to pig races, where small pigs ran as fast as they could around a track. (The sound effects were comical, as they sounded like cars racing.)going-to-the-state-fair-4

We ate lunch on a patch of grass under a tree. Yes, the food was overpriced, but I decided to get a pita with meat and hummus and lots of fresh vegetables, and it was actually quite good. After eating, three kids wanted to ride on llamas, so we did that.

We toured an antique train, which had many different compartments, including a sleeping car, a dining car, a bathroom, a kitchen, and other cars that had antique stuff behind glass, like a museum does. The hallways were narrow, and the car that had seats also had an overhead compartment which people used to pull down (as a bed) to go to sleep. The last car had a model train set that was quite elaborate. As soon as we exited the train, we took a train ride on a much smaller train.

As we walked along, megoing-to-the-state-fair-5n would show us antique machines and how they worked. One man branded a piece of wood with a hot iron, and we had a free souvenir.

The lumberjack show was fun. Men threw axes at a bull’s eye, chopped wood as a contest, used chainsaws, used old-fashioned two-person saws (and beat an electric chainsaw), rolled on a log and fell into the water, cut a chair out of a log, and climbed up and down a pole really fast.going-to-the-state-fair-6

But the most incredible thing we did was to get inside a huge ball and bounce around in the water, running like a hamster in a cage. The three kids that wanted to do it were grinning from ear to ear as they splashed around without getting wet.