Last weekend I took a trip to visit Unisia in Ohio. Pictures are at my Fotki site.
Whenever I visit Unisia in Columbus, we try to go to the Columbus Zoo. It's a really nice zoo and it's a fun way to spend a nice day.
The petting zoo is always fun, since they have lambs and kid goats and Unisia seems to enjoy it more than many of the little people. I mostly just tried to take pictures of sheep looking noble or cute.
After that much excitement, we sped over toward the elephant house. You see, last time we were there, we saw a baby elephant that was stunningly cute (photos in a different album). Now, it's a few months older, and still cute.
The baby elephant was remarkably hairy. If I had a proper telephoto lens, you'd be looking at the fuzz on it's back, but for now, you just have to believe me. It also liked playing around with it's keepers, trying to sit on their laps and shaking hands with them. There's somethings disturbing about the idea of anything weighing 700 pounds sitting on you. Then again, giving birth to something that weighs 400 pounds is scary, as is the idea of gaining 17 pounds a week. And yet, elephants are anything but scary.
Oddly, this lion was even less scary. After we left the elephants, we wandered past lions and bears and prairie dogs and pronghorns and rhinoceroses and wolves and some gibbons having sex right in front of dozens of small children. There was many a "Look at the cute monkeys. [beat] Actually, look over there," from parents.
After that excitement we had some lunch, corned beef sandwiches from a great Jewish deli.
Out the other direction, we hit the flamingos, then the reptile house. I got fascinated by reflections of kids. They had a python out for people to handle, and it's always fun to see how people react to snakes. There's an initial fear, manifested in these boys as kidding, and then amazement that the snake feels nothing like you expected.
They were feeding the penguins outside, which is always fun to watch. Apparently penguins mate for life. I wonder if people have done genetic studies of the parentage patterns. Since they spend months apart, there are copious opportunities for extra-pair copulations, but that separation is after the eggs are hatched.
We finished in the new Australia section. Kangaroos rock, even though they prefer to rest all the time. They also have a koala, which they were, for some reason, feeding from a bottle. Inside, there was a kiwi, and a jungle cat, which moved too fast for the low light.
Further on, we saw orangutans, a Komodo dragon, and some otters. Otters are beyond cool.
Eventually we saw a baby colobus monkey, some tropical birds, and a baby gorilla. The mother had abandoned it, so the nice lady you see in that picture spent all day holding it. That doesn't sound totally awful, although she seemed to be nervous about shifting around even a little bit. It was very cute. It was holding one hand in the other, and one foot in the other foot, and just resting sweetly after, apparently, staying up all night. Eventually they'll put back into the troop, whether to its mother or to a surrogate gorilla.
We finished up by walking past the okapi, but it was being secretive.
The next day we went to some caves at Hocking Hills. It's this neat region that must have been scoured by glaciers probably some odd interaction of sandstone and groundwater left odd caves and valleys. We had been to Rock House last time, and it was pretty much just us. Now it was packed, which is less thrilling.