Saturday, July 14, 2018

A trip to the zoo, part 1

I deeply apologize for my lack of visits to others, but my cough and sore throat have turned into something much worse.  I have a fever of 100.2 F and I fluctuate between having the chills and perspiring, especially whenever I have a coughing spell.  I have the shakes and can only stand a minute or so.  I also can't sit at this computer chair for any length of time.  Had this post not been in my draft folder, ready to publish, I would not be posting today.

Many of my long term readers and followers remember when I took care of two tweens and a teen after their mother died of breast cancer, and before their aunt who lives in California could come to get them.

They are now two teens and one tween, and they have spent five days with me this last week.  It was actually a surprise, since I had no idea they were coming until their aunt called two nights before they were to arrive.   The youngsters actually asked to visit me during their summer vacation.  Since I am spending time with these youngsters, everything has taken a back set, including art and my blog visits.

I was so excited to see them and they me.  Needless to say, we had a great time.  As I promised their mother before she died, and their aunt, I would never show any part of them on my blog, or mention their names or gender(s).

I'm the Queen of Free, so I decided to take them to one of our newly remodeled parks, where a free zoo had just reopened that spring.  According to news reports, it reopened April 18 of this year.

Although this looked like fun to the kids, they really weren't ready to interact with other families who were enjoying a picnic near the play area.  We decided to visit the zoo first and see if the area would be free of others once we had seen everything at this new zoo/wildlife exhibit.

On our way into the exhibit, I stopped to take this photo.  Although I needed to catch up to the youngsters who had already spotted the birds, I was able to read that it was a photo of Finlay Moss who became mayor of Wichita, KS in 1897, and led the way to the creation of Riverside Park.

We heard the noise before we saw it.   Too bad I shot straight up and found the bird, a turkey buzzard, in silhouette.

When I backed up, and pointed my camera through the fence, this is what I saw.  Different bird, different branch, same loud noise, different perspective, different angle.

Down at ground level, we were treated to a host of animals.

The youngsters were quick to point out when they had found one that came into view, like the turtle that seemed to appear out of nowhere.  I still am not sure what animal was sleeping in the log in the back left of the photo.

I hadn't even noticed the turtles until they were pointed out to me.

It seemed the fences were in focus, but not the birds.

This one flew as soon as I started to take a photo.

At least we now knew what we were looking at.

This one led me on a merry chase with my camera.

Thankfully, s/he

finally landed.

These were new signs recently installed.

The possum is one of two animals we never saw.

At first I thought this was an owl and took an inordinate amount of photos trying to get it to turn its head.

I love these youngsters SO much.  When they saw I was having trouble getting the bird to turn its head, they took turns talking softly to it, never yelling, or trying to frighten it.  I was SO proud of them.

They finally got it to turn its head

and I was surprised it was not the owl I thought it was.

Instead, I believe it's the Swainson's hawk.

This sign is misleading, since the park reopened in April of this year and there was no mention of the remodel.  It is still called the Kansas Wildlife exhibit.  I did learn from one of the volunteers on hand that it sits on the site of the first Wichita Zoo.  It is considered by many who live near the park and who volunteer, to be a piece of living history.   There are eight cages and they contain a red fox, porcupine, mink, and hawks, to name a few.  

The upgrades to the exhibit were made possible by fund raisers, according to the volunteer we spoke with, and got a big boost after their prize bobcat was set free by vandals who broke into the exhibit by cutting through the fence back in 2015.   With the latest upgrades, only native Kansas wildlife and native animals are allowed to live at this exhibit.  We will visit the rest of the zoo/wildlife exhibit tomorrow.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your visit today.  It means a lot to me.

13 thoughtful remarks:

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

What an uplifting visit this must have been for the children Elizabeth, i'm sure they have all taken different memories away from the experience. I always find being around nature is a great way to gather thoughts.
Thank you for sharing that special day, it's good to know that their are generous people still out there that are willing to help preserve such sites and exhibits.
Wishing you Get Well hugs & I hope you are taking care of yourself too..
Tracey xx

CJ Kennedy said...

Free is the best, and a free zoo is even better. The hawks are reall magnificent. I’ve seen red-tail hawks in my area. Never realized how big they actually are until one caught a poor chipmunk outside my front window. Take care and feel better soon.

froebelsternchen said...

Wow you spent a wonderful day there with the kids! Great photos! Such beautiful animals!
I can imagine how busy you were with the youngsters!
So nice of you to look after them and spend time with them!
Please get well soon! Take good care of you! Off to bed with you!
Hugs, Susi

kathyinozarks said...

I love free visits too and I always loved the zoo-we spent allot of time at the Milwaukee wi zoo when we lived in Illinois before retirement-not free but we knew the head of the aviary so he always gave us good tours from behind the scenes.
so sorry you are ill-I think this heat has many of us sick, and I know I have been struggling more with the high mold count and humidity here do take care of yourself-hugs

Helen said...

hope you feel better soon, but I am glad you were able to take the youngsters out. Great post, look forward to the next visit!

Jeanie said...

Elizabeth, I'm so sorry you've been ill. It sounds grim; a fever is bad anytime -- in the summer, even worse. Sending good wishes for a complete recovery soon.

The zoo looks great and I am so very glad you had time to spend with the kids. It's a great compliment that they wanted to spend time with you as well. You never know with kids! It looks like a very good day and I'm so glad you all had a good time. I hope you get to see them again before they leave.

What you did for them really made an impact. I feel so for them. They are lucky to have you in their corner.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

How nice that you could enjoy a surprise visit from these three. The zoo pictures are wonderful. Sorry to hear you are so sick now, though. I hope you've been to the doctor and that it's being monitored closely. It sounds like much more than a summer cold. Do take care.

Meggymay said...

That looks a wonderful destination to take the kids to see. I am sure you will have had a lovely time with them and stored a few good memories.
Look after yourself and get well soon.
Yvonne xx

Divers and Sundry said...

I'm so sorry you've gotten worse :( I hope you're better soon.

The visit and trip to the zoo sounds like great fun! I appreciate you keeping the "kids" privacy protected. It's best, I believe.

Rita said...

What a wonderful day at the zoo with the kids. So sorry you have gotten sicker and I hope you feel better soon.

My name is Erika. said...

So sorry to hear you haven’t felt well my friend. But sounds like an exciting week with the kids and a fun day out to the zoo. Hope you had lots of fun but even more so that you feel better ASAP. Hugs erika

آدم على said...

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pearshapedcrafting said...

I ma feeling so bad about not commenting here especially as you have been so poorly! How great that those young people wanted to spend time with you! The zoo looks a great place to take them! Hugs, Chrisx