Thursday, 16 July 2015

Day eight - Omaha Zoo

We had detoured to Omaha so that we could visit the local Zoo, properly known as the Henry Doorley Zoo, which claims to be the World’s best Zoo. That morning we checked out of the hotel and went in search of the Zoo. Although allegedly a world famous zoo, we only ever found one signpost and that was when we were practically there. It seems satnav is a must if you want to find it. This day was a Saturday, so when we arrived the Zoo was quite busy and unlike most of the places we had been all week quite crowded. There were several lines of people queueing for about half a dozen ticket windows, but suddenly The Better Half (TBH) spotted one window with no line and raced up to the window before anyone else saw it. This saved us about ten minutes of queueing.

It was raining hard when we arrived, so the Desert Dome seemed like a good idea, but because it is close to the entrance, nearly everyone else there seemed to have the same idea.  So we squeezed our way out again and braved the weather.  We then came to the big cats house which was also under cover and a lot less crowded.

This guy seemed to have the right idea, sleep away the day and have the night to himself.

I am a statue, not a real lion
Whilst it was a good zoo, I am not sure by what criteria it is judged to be the best in the world, since I have been to very similar seeming places elsewhere and would personally rate Kansas City zoo and South Lakes Wildlife Park near Barrow in England at least as good, if not better. It reminded me more of London Zoo since the cages were smaller and more along the lines of a Victorian Zoological Garden of the last two centuries than Kansas or Barrow zoos, which are more concerned with large open enclosures as well as conservation of species.
The weather had started to clear by the time we came outside again and we walked around the apes section and saw a few playing around inside heavy wire mesh, so not very photogenic.  Then we came across this guy.
 Did someone mention food?



Whilst walking through the zoo, I had a rather disturbing experience when a small girl walked up beside me and said; ‘You’ve peed in your pants haven’t you!’ It took me a few seconds to realise she was talking to her much younger brother.  I walked on quickly feeling relief that I have not quite got to that stage in my life.
There did not seem to be anywhere in this enclosure where the animals could avoid the public, since it was surrounded by walkways and I felt sorry for these shy creatures who seemed to want to hide.

 'It's all right dear, they will all be gone soon and you can relax.'

These trees were full of spoonbills and some other kinds of bird I did not identify.

 A bird in the hand is worth how many in the bush?


 The Son (TS) managed to get this great shot of a lemur in mid flight.

 The bull sea lion king of all he surveys.

A line from the movie Jurrasic Park, implies that they are safe from the giant dinasours grazing on the trees, because they are herbivores.  This guy is a lot smaller and also is a herbivore, but I don't think it is a great idea to get into his enclosure to pet him.

There were two trains taking visitors around the park, but this one was the fancy one.
We found a small cafe and had some snacks around lunch time and then moved on.

As we strolled around, I came across this quirky little bronze about three foot high.  It is titled 'Double Trouble' by Sandy Clarke.  I have since looked for this name on the Internet but found she calls herself Sandi Clarke and has a range of smaller bronzes for sale, including this one.  Not sure why this one is in the zoo.

We next went through the aquarium, which was pretty good and worthy of a world standard zoo.

 Amongst a large number of fish there were several rays,

 Some brightly coloured fish,

The usual sharks,

And this odd looking character.
Over one of the fish tanks was a jungle and for a moment this toucan appeared, but proved to be camera shy and fled as soon as it noticed I had taken a picture.

This was our final section of the zoo that we visited and we then had to exit via the gift shop.  So I bought a souvenir baseball cap.
We returned to the car and set off for the family's home in Kansas, a distance of around 220 miles.  The shortest leg of our journey.

On the way we passed this wonderfully patriotic fireworks sales mascot.

As we headed for home and the temperature steadily rose. By the time we arrived near home, it was above 90F. We could tell this because many banks in the area have a clock and temperature display.

Not that they all agree with each other, and can be up to five degrees off each other, but taking the average you can get a fair idea of the real temperature.   This seemed to be around 34 C, a bit lower than usual for that time of year and over the next few days it got closer to normal which is in the high 90sF or better than 37C.
Arriving home we were entusiastically greeted by the cats, who had been looked after by a friend in our absence.
Huh! You back?  Do you expect me to get up?  Come over here if you want to say hello.
Next post the Cosmosphere

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