I’m going to give you fair warning that if you don’t like animals, you’ll probably find this post boring. Wait! Before you close out, scroll down and watch the video of Justy at the petting zoo. Even if you don’t like animals, she’s hilarious.
Our third day at Disney started with breakfast at Boma.
Yeah, yeah. We’ve been over that before. So fast forward:
In all the Disney theme parks, there is an iconic visual element as soon as you enter. Think about it: in the Magic Kingdom the first thing you see is Cinderella’s Castle; in Epcot there is the giant golf ball; and in the Animal Kingdom, it’s the Tree of Life.
These not only inspire countless oohs and aahs, but they provide the perfect photo op. Disney cleverly creates another revenue stream by placing PhotoPass photographers every fifty feet.
We never used the PhotoPass, but I did ask a photographer to take a picture of us with my camera.
Everybody now: It’s the circle of li-i-i-ife, and it moves us a-a-a-all…
Sorry, I got carried away there. Anyway, the Tree of Life is this giant (and, sadly, fake) tree with all kinds of animals carved into it with amazing detail:
The animals were carved high up into the tree…
…but also extended right down through the “roots” which wove along some of the animal viewing paths.
We spent part of the morning wandering the paths. The colors of the flamingos astounded me.
Because I already have a zillion pictures picked out for this post, I won’t bore you with those of the anteater, the kangaroos, the ducks (yes, ducks), the vulture, the lemur and the monkeys. Just take for granted that there was a variety of animals from both Asia and Africa.
At one point a sharp-beaked and frightening tortoise chased me at an astounding speed, nipping at my, uh, heels.
After we emerged from the trails, we took a safari ride through the savannah and that’s when the viewing got crazy, yo.
Again, I took a million pictures, give or take 999,753, so here are two of my favorites:
If I couldn’t see one off my balcony, at least I got to see one in the park.
And, for you Jungle Book fans, here’s a picture of Colonel Hathi’s rear guard.
After the safari, we went to see two live shows: The Festival of the Lion King (which would have been amazing, had we not seen La Nouba the night before) and Finding Nemo – The Musical (which was just plain amazing).
Lunch was at Tuskers. Did I mention I love the food at Disney?
After lunch we checked out some more walking paths, one of which lead us through an aviary. This little guy astounded me:
As I watched him flashing overhead, he suddenly stopped on a branch, stripped off a long piece of vine and darted across to another tree. He – and I swear I’m not making this up – poked one end of the grass through a loop in what looked like a loosely formed grass wreath. He then grabbed it from the other side and poked it through another hole. He kept doing this, bobbing his head about almost too quickly to watch, until the entire vine was wound around the wreath.
As he flew off to grab another vine, I, with all the subtlety of a shrieking teakettle, voiced my awe.
“He’s weaving it! Did you see that! He weaved it in there! I can’t believe it!”
T consulted the bird chart he was holding.
“Let’s see if we can find him on here. It looks like he’s a…golden weaver.”
Here’s what a finished nest looks like. The entrance is on the bottom!
As we made our way out of the aviary, we saw meerkats. This one was keeping watch while the others foraged around.
Not a bad idea, really.
One of my all time favorite areas was the gorilla pen. This silverback male was kicking back and snacking on some bamboo. His hand was as big as my head and I’m quite sure he could crush it if he wanted to. Fortunately, it didn’t look particularly like he wanted to.
His wife, who was considerably smaller but impressive none the less, was sitting up on the hill around the corner. Her baby was around somewhere and there was a small crowd hoping to catch a glimpse.
Is there a good way to politely tell a 200-pound gorilla that her crack is hanging out? I didn’t think so.
As we were standing there a brown rabbit ran out from behind a bush and the crowd was like, “Oh! There it is!” (Meaning the baby gorilla.)
T laughed. And made no effort to hide it. This is part of his “reintegration” process. He has no problems letting people know when they are being stupid. Because really? How can you mistake a brown, bounding animal with long ears and a cottontail with a 10-pound black baby gorilla?
As the afternoon was winding down, we headed for the petting zoo (my request). On the way there we came across an interesting game: