Went to the Granby Zoo today. Nothing like visiting a Zoo in January when it’s 20 below zero. The Granby Zoo has a winter program until February and since they have a few animals that can stay outside even in the cold we thought we’d drive out to enjoy the Zoo; we had gone in the summer time but since DD and I both had the day off together she thought it would be fun to go to the zoo!
We first stopped to see the Elephants. They were in their indoor shelter due to the extreme cold. It resembled a surreal prison with large wide white bars caging in the two Elephants; one is named Doudoune and the younger one is Sarah. When we got there it was feeding time and the keeper stretched what looked like a slinky between the elephants. This is an electric fence to keep the elephants from grabbing the other ones bale of hay.
They both looked kind of bored which makes sense since they were inside and they looked much happier when we saw them in the summer outside. The Granby Zoo has an awesome outdoor area for the elephants and giraffes so the winter must be hard on them.
The keeper told us how they try and give the elephants things to do to keep them stimulated; they tie apparatus to the ceiling, bring in new toys for the elephants and give them special snacks of carrots and at Halloween they get pumpkins! Those lucky buddies!!
We went upstairs to see the giraffes. There was a new baby giraffe born at the Granby Zoo and he was just a tiny thing compared to the three adult giraffes in the pen. We were on a second floor viewing platform so we had a nice face level view of the giraffes as they chewed their cuds and checked us out! Again, they looked kind of lethargic but they only have a few more monthes before tthey can be out on the savannah!
They zoo is having a name the baby giraffe contest so DD and I both submitted a name; I chose Jasper after our brown Burmese cat and DD chose Kirikoo after that animated movie we saw about the little African boy. We found out later that the choice of names will be a random draw and when we checked on the Granby Zoo website they had a list of names submitted so far and so the poor giraffe could end up with a name like Ti’Claude or Stretch!
Outside we walked through Africa and saw the Zebras in the snow which was quite odd to see! The last place I’d expect to see a herd of zebras would be galloping through snowbanks! It was fun to stroll the the zoo with no crowds, it was like walking in a deserted theme park like an episode of The Twilight Zone. We saw the Flamingoes in their mirrored hot house all shiny so the flamingoes think they are in a big crowd to encourage reproduction and the formation of couples! Quack!
The little meerkats were in their heated winter shelter and so we could really get up close to the glass to see them; they are so cute! We went to Asia after that and saw the bears and then the Tigers; we got there just in time to see snack-time and so there were twenty of us right beside the tiger, on the other side of the dence naturally, and the tiger keeper had a bowl of meat and was tossing little tiger meatballs into the cage.
The tiger was growling and meowing like only a big pussy-cat can and it was impressive to be so close to the tiger. When we were there in the summer it was so hot and the tigers were just sprawled out in the shade sleeping but in this wintery wonderland they were walking around striking with their orange and brown coats against the snowy background!
The best moment was in the Hippopotamus tank. There is a dark cavernous room with a giant hippopotamus aquarium and glass walls so we can see the huge grey beasts, looking much like Manatees, swimming. If you stand on one of the bleachers you can just peek over the surface of the tank and see the huge heads, eyes and nostrils poking out of the water. They were blowing bubbles under water and opening their gaping mouths at each other and it was quite thrilling.
In the summer the viewing area was too crowded and the hippos didn’t move about too much or maybe they were outside but today we had the whole viewing cave to ourselves and the huge animals were quite active. At one point I walked to the corner of the tank and there was a huge hippos staring at me sitting there behind the glass and I had a primitive shiver of fear run through me being so close to such a dangerous animal!
Even though we had the glass between us it was crazy to see the fangs and face of that whiskered brute so close. The hippo just sat there on the massive rock shelf in the corner and DD came for a peek and we were both wide-eyed in amazement!
Then the big hippo swam away and DD walked down to the middle of the tank and the hippo came to her and started circling in the tank against the glass with DD walking in synchronicity with the hippo.
He looked at her and swam close to the glass and gently rolled over and went to the corner and then swam back to the middle pane of glass where DD was waiting and they did their little hippo dance again and again! The hippos was really having fun and DD was quite excited to be playing a game of hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo with a hippopotamus!
That was the highlight of the day but the whole walk was is so nice and the winter trip was so different! The zoo had little fire pits all over the place with gently fires burning so we could stop and warm up; that was so nice, I can see why the Granby Zoo is one of the best zoos in North America! Next year we will buy seasons passes so we can just go to the Zoo anytime because there is always things new going on and it’s so nice to be in a place where animals are given such respect…I just hope the giraffe is not named Spunky Winterbean!!