The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MN was my destination in early May. Which is, in my humble opinion, one of the really good times to head up to see the animals. They are more active because it isn't hot yet so they are more fun to observe.
Anyway, I headed up to the Zoo with my sister and her two kiddos: Michelle, Jack (9) and Grace (7).
First stop, since the Discovery Bay where you can touch sharks and sting rays wasn't open yet, was the Otters.
They are the cutest and most playful animals at the Zoo. They are so much fun to watch.
We happened upon feeding time which is always a treat. Well, a treat for us and treats for them.
I had to laugh how these two were standing the same but using the opposite foot to put on the board. They are more similar than they'd ever admit. Glad I got the chance to catch this moment.
Next we went outside and checked out the bears along the Northern Trail.
Which didn't last long for Grace because she had to go to the bathroom. Pitstop 1.
Jack decided he was going to crawl up on this ledge and then said to me, "Auntie Jen, I got up here but now how do I get down?"
At first I said, "Well, you got yourself up there, now figure out how you are going to get down."
When he gave it a try but was a bit nervous I came over and helped him find his footholds on the rock wall and made myself the official kiddo-rock-climbing-spotter.
Back to the Bears. Jack was having fun being this close to the bear. I kept saying, "Jack, just think, you'd never be able to get this close to a live bear out in the woods." "Look at the size of his claws! They are huge!"
Itching an itchy spot.
Look at this face? Does it look like the face of a hardcore fighting bear? I don't think so.
He looks sad...like he's saying, "Seriously people, why must you press your face against the glass and stare at me?" "Ugly humans, go away."
Nah, I kid, he's just yawning not growling at anyone...you can't really tell the difference though can you?
What about from this angle? Nope. Still looks like he's one ticked off bear.
Those are some big sharp teeth.
Okay...onward. The buffalo on the grassy range.
These guys are never close enough for me to get close-ups. They are always in the back 40 of their area. You know...now might be a good time to invest in that long range lens for my camera.
These guys are fun. You are so close you could reach out and pet them. I bet they'd gnaw your finger off if you did. The little prairie dog hole-digging menaces.
Asian Wild Horses. Aren't they cool. They look much like the Norwegian Fjords which are a halflinger horse. Very pretty and endangered. In the 1960's they were completed eradicated in the wild. As of 2014, after years of work by people, there are 500 of these beauties in their natural habitats.
Next stop, the Family Farm, which out of all the exhibits is one of the kids' favorites. This I find ironic considering we have family with farm animals that we could see any time we wanted yet the kiddos love checking out the Farm at the Zoo.
They like to feed the goats. Jack kept getting mad at this big white one because he wanted to feed the little goats instead. This guy kept nudging his head over by Jack's hand of food. I told him to go somewhere else and find a pack of smaller goats.
See, this guy's trying to take the food from the little brown goat. What a meanie.
This guy is indoors. Apparently he'd rather eat inside instead of taking food from small kids. Get it, kids? LOL Okay not really that funny. I know. LOL It made me chuckle though.
"Hey Squeak, what's up?"
He was posing for a picture from me with his sister in the back trying to photo bomb. Where do they learn this stuff?
Jack found this hill and decided to roll all the way down. "Jack fell down and broke his crown."
"and Grace came tumbling after." I couldn't help but recite that line of the children's poem.
Grace naturally followed suit.
Honestly, I was worried Grace would hurt herself or break her glasses. I hate to say it but she's a Grade A klutz. Yep, takes after her aunt. She trips over nothing just walking along. She made it about halfway down then decided that wasn't for her. Phew.
The Amur Tiger. We found him and he was awake. He even yawned at me once.
Then he got up and walked away.
Any time I go to the zoo this guy is lazying around. He must be bored out of his mind. He doesn't need to hunt for food they just give it to him. I feel sorry for him.
Next stop the Discovery Bay. Jack loves this the most because he can touch the sharks and sting rays.
This made me chuckle because the last time we went to the zoo he wanted nothing to do with them. He wouldn't get near them. He wouldn't stick a fingernail in. This time he was elbows deep.
He had his hand in a lot of the time hoping one would come by .
You can see a couple swimming by. One was actually close enough where he could touch the shark.
Here's a baby shark. They were the most curious and would come right up to the edge out of water. The adults would mostly swim away.
and this shark! You can see him eating a piece of fish off a stick. Jack and Grace wanted to see the aquarium feeding. It was pretty neat. They feed the fish differently. The little ones they just throw in a bunch of food, the turtles they feed up top and the sharks they put food down with a pole.
The monkeys are always a riot. Today they were exceptionally interesting because a bunch of them just had little babies who are the most playful.
They fight, swing around the branches, pester their mothers, climb all over one another. I could sit there for hours just watching them and their antics.
It fascinates me, most likely because they are so similar to humans and some of their antics feels like watching my nieces and nephews playing together.
Look at this little fresh one. New as it gets. So incredibly cute.
That was it. We decided that was enough for the day. There are many more exhibits but the kids were done so it was time to go home.
My sister has a Zoo membership so we can go back anytime for free.
This guy is a stinker.
He loves making faces and doing funny things. "Would this be funny Auntie Jen?" is a common question Jack asks.
He's getting so big and looking so much older. I can barely remember him as a baby anymore. It pulls at my heart strings.
Have a wonderful day!