The Tour has been named :)

Adventure Day

We set off for Busch Gardens and got there shortly after opening. It was a perfect day here in Tampa. Not too hot, not too windy, a lovely bit of sun, some clouds....just right.
 Harry and I were really interested in seeing the wildlife. Ravyn knows Busch Gardens like the back of her hand so we had a great team leader with us! While we had a map, we didn't have to look at it much. All we did was say what we wanted to do....then follow Ravyn!
 Busch Gardens is HUGE. It is 335 acres of landscaped vegetation and habitats alternating with rides and shops. Set in a lush tropical setting, the habitats were so complete and appropriate for the animals, you forgot that you were in the middle of a big city.Our first stop was Myombe Reserve to see the Chimpanzees and Gorillas.
The Chimpanzee exhibit was very informative and we spent a lot of time there. We were able to talk to one of the keepers for quite some time, asking one question after another. We asked about the social order of the troupe and all kinds of questions about their daily life and loves were answered.

They were trying to socialize a new pair of chimpanzees to the troupe. It was taking a year of naturalization and desensitizing to do so. The male was already accepted into the group by the male and the other females. The female was having a harder time getting admittance to the social order tho. She was being impeded by the alpha female, named "Patsy" who was older and ....had cataracts. (ahem) It seems that she is not able to see well enough to know that the new female is not a threat, so they had locked Patsy away for a bit. She was agressive and they were monitoring her behavior. She was well taken care of, but in the wild she wouldn't be able to keep up with the troupe. She was taking out her aging and blindness on the others. In particular, she wasn't accepting the new, "huggy" female. Her new behavior wasn't like the troupes familiar order.
It was all very interesting.
The cheerful, knowledgeable keeper went on....
"One of the females was outcast and was now hanging with the new female and they were bonding together very well. The staff was pleased.
 One female only wanted to be with the dominant male (it didn't matter who it was....just the dominant male...) One female didn't hang with the other females at all...but "liked the boys best", said the keeper.
The dominant male likes the company of the other male and they seem to be friends. We have more problems with the females getting along, than we do the males..." she said.

As I walked away, full of ape information I commented, "It seems that the psychological wild behavior of apes is not far from the psychological wild behavior of humans."
Harry nodded in agreement.

"I feel sorry for poor old Patsy. I understand her pain. We aren't far from our ape neighbors after all. .I guess I can really understand how the older, blind one would want to bitch slap the younger, huggy one"
I had to laugh. Harry did too

It was at about this time, I got a text from Dre' that their sweet kitty, Radar (whom we'd all petted on the weekend) had bad news at the vet. He had an inoperable tumor discovered at the vet (he'd been sick all weekend with it) and had to be put down. We were all so sad.
"Well, that makes 3" said Harry.
"You know, you are right" I said, as I remembered the horse and premature puppy deaths over the last weekend

"I have just figured out the name of the tour".I declared.

"It's the "Fire and Ice, Circle of Life Tour".which was said as I stood in Africa.

 This trip has had it's wild weather and wild ups and downs so far.
The fires of the faire,
 the ice of the trip on the way south,
 the deaths of the animals that touched us, the life of the those that lived..
 It seemed like the perfect title for our trip this year.
Things go round and round.
Life and Love go round and round too.
The Beginnings of some things are only the Endings of something else.
The Endings of some things are only the Beginnings of something else.

It fit.

From there we saw Alligators, Turtles, Tigers.

 We went on a short train ride to another part of the park and saw Giraffe (who have their babies standing up, BTW...that first step for new baby giraffe is a 6 foot drop...). We saw Rhinos, Ostrich, Zebra...all kinds of tropical animals from Africa right here on our continent!
The Elephants were brought into an area that had been "prepped" for them. The keepers bring them to this area once a day after having "hidden" all kinds of treats within the habitat. They hid grapes, melons, carrots, lettuce and pears all over this area. The elephants came out and found them all within minutes. They are so smart! Every day the keepers hide the treats in different places...and every day the elephants find them. It's like an Easter egg hunt for candy for them.

We went to see a "4-D" short movie. It starred Leslie Nielson (God rest his soul), Eric Idle and we settled down in our seats in the dark theatre with our 3-D glasses on. What a hoot! Evidently there were "special seats" with built in attachements which became apparent when as the movie went on. We were physically splashed with water, bees hummed and buzzed the seats, it felt like the bats on the screen were really in our hair and that crabs were crawling down our legs. We all squealed with delight! It was 15 minutes of FUN!

(Oh and one of the pirates looked like our friend, Jim Greene/Emerys Fleet. At one point the pirate yelled "Hey!" and I immediately had Emerys' shout out in my head, "Come 'mere! I want to show ya somethin!" :)
Too funny!

We watched wild rollercoasters fly overhead while we ate a phenomenal smokehouse BBQ dinner.

Licking our fingers, eating ribs, chicken BBQ and coleslaw and chatting seemed like the perfect accompaniment.
 Harry tried and tried to get a certain photo shot of the splash of the rollercoaster as it hit the water. We'd lie in wait for it to go by....just one more time....
 I asked a total stranger about his tattoos. "Can you tell me about your artwork?" He proceded to nearly strip off and show me his two arm sleeves complete with Angels, Zeus, Pirate ships and decorated with color and style. He was indeed proud and showed us his thighs (nearly thought he was going to drop his pants!) Then his wife joined us and he asked her to show us her "dragon". She too, lifted her shirt and pulled her waistband down to show us a Dragon that went from her hip bone up to her armpit.

Here's a tip. ALWAYS compliment people on their tattoos and ask to see their "ink". You see soooo much of perfect strangers this way and learn sooo much about them and their Life force :)

Speaking of Life Force....we next stopped by the Aviary.
I loved watching the birds. We went inside the netted aviary full of feathered delights! It was gorgeous and racous and wild as streaks of red feathers flew past our heads like a blur!

Toucans, snuzzling Spoonbills, striking Parrots, Chatty Lories! (yes, we thought of you Lorie :) How could we not, with a sign like this?? :)
 Our last stop was Australia where we saw Kangaroos and Wallaby's. We petted these strange and wonderful delightful animals. Did you know that a baby Joey..only 3/4 of an inch long....with no hair and totally blind...after it has just been born, has to travel the length of it's mommy's furry belly and find it's way into the pouch all by itself? Then it finds a teat and stays latched on for FOUR MONTHS. After which time, over the course of a year, only takes wee short trips in and out of the pouch?

What with all we've been through and learned today and the past week,

 Yah, I'd say, "Fire & Ice: Circle of Life" name for the tour is just about right.


1 comment:

LynnieBee said...

AMAZING!!! I've always wanted to go to Busch Gardens, now I want to go even more :)