Sunday morning started Neil’s last day with us this weekend. We wanted to continue our Family Weekend Visit by going to the Sacramento Zoo to meet the newest “member” of the family, Coconut, the baby snow leopard. Coconut was named in memory of the original Coconut, the house cat owned by the creator of Coconuts Fish Cafe and was scheduled to be in his beautiful habitat for some exercise and to help him acclimate to
the outdoors and to the noise of his new environment. Right on cue the handlers came into the enclosure, each carrying a small (1’x2’) plexiglass shield. When we asked what they were for we were told Coconut likes shoes. Moments later the door opened and Coconut peeked out from his den into the wide world around him. Slowly, stealthily, he crept forward. It was amazing how in just walking he looked like a predator stalking prey. He was beautiful. During the 20-30 minutes we watched him he climbed the rocks around the edges of the habitat, played with a toy coconut (heh heh) and attacked a stuffed animal. He was such a kitten. It was amazing.
Just down the walkway from Coconut was the gate leading to the home of Cosmopolitan, the baby flamingo hatched just 50 days ago. The staff is introducing Cosmopolitan to the rest of the flamingo flock and helping her learn to walk on uneven ground. Daily they escort her through the streets of the zoo from her home to the big lake where most of the flamingos live. She receives the royal treatment as she walks, untethered, along with her escorts. (There are predators like hawks and owls around the area and a small bird requires protection, although I think she considers them her entourage.) It’s about 100 yards of twisting street, but she is focused on going to the lake. It will take almost 2 years for her normal pink plumage to fully develop. When we rounded the last curve, the flock started honking or whatever that noise is. They were very excited to see “their” baby. The staff walked her around the pond providing the opportunity for her to develop her sea legs, or rough ground legs and she did beautifully.
Our host asked if we wanted to feed the giraffe (who wouldn’t?) and led us back to the staging area where the giraffes are kept prior to releasing them to the big field. She picked a few sprigs of some tree along the way and gave some to each of us to feed the big male giraffe. He was very gentle and took the leaves from us with his immense tongue.
Finally, we rode the carousel! Grace rode a zebra, a snow leopard and a lion. Her Tita Kathy and Dede and Bebe (me and Fran) and Uncle Neil took turns with her as she rode.
We left the zoo, grateful for the opportunities we had to meet some of the animals “up close and personal” and look forward to returning to see the progress of both of the babies.
Right across the street from the zoo is a pony ride area, and how could a 2+ year old resist riding ponies, if given the chance. Grace rode 3 different ponies around the track. Her favorite was Black Beauty. She loves her ponies.
A quick stop at Taylors Market for some sandwiches and salads for lunch and then back home for some R&R before Neil had to head to the airport.
Quite the weekend with Apple Hill, the Capitol Beerfest and Sacramento Zoo! I cannot wait to see what is in store next.