For each of the children's birthdays, we offer the children an outing or a birthday party. The mass majority of the time, the kids desire an outing with the family. S's 7th birthday was no different... so to the zoo we went.
The Riverbank Zoo is in the process of adding new exhibits. It recently built a bigger/better bear exhibit, along with an otter exhibit. The otters are the first place we stopped! The laughter that was heard from my children as they watched the otters play, still brings a smile to my face!
We then headed back to the African Plains to feed the giraffes. A actually fed them this time, rather than throwing the greens at them! Have you ever taken the time to really look at a giraffe's skin? They are actually quite wrinkled animals!
We also stopped to see the zebras and ostriches. We always find the animals' colorings fascinating... male ostriches are black and white, while the females are light brown! And zebras are actually said to be black with white stripes and underbellies... Not white with black stripes!
After we left that area, we headed back over towards the farm animals. We HAD to spend some time checking out the alpacas. Ever since finding out what great protectors these animals are of others, including sheep and goats, I have really had an interest in possibly owning some.
We also decided it was time for E to have her first train ride... The driver was an absolute delight. He actually seemed to enjoy his job, rather than being ho-hum about it!
One of my favorite animals to see are the koalas. These marsupials are often called bears, but they are not within that family at all! But here is also a picture of my little bear... just because ;)
The next stop was W's favorite - feeding the lorikeets. Unfortunately numerous people had already fed the birds earlier in the day, so they were not overly hungry. With that said, though, we still got a few to drink some nectar. The one poor little fellow looked like he was bullied by some of the others :( W took extra good care of him though.
S wanted to go see the cats... So off we went to visit the tiger and lions. While in the area, we saw the monkeys and bears. The bears were pretty nestled into shallow holes, sleeping the cold windy day away.
The elephants, apes, and kangaroos are always favorites for us as well. There is something fascinating about walking through the wallaby and kangaroo exhibit, with no walls or fences between you and them! For those not sure of the difference, the wallaby is the fluffier smaller one curled up on the ground, while the kangaroos are the two sleeker looking ones in the other picture!
We headed to the small mammal area next. In that area are lots of different types of monkeys, as well as the fishing cat, red tree kangaroo, and the tamarins, which I happen to love!
We also visited the bird house and aquarium, but for some reason I didn't take any pictures of those this time.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip to the zoo, though more crowded than we are use to!