That’s how I would describe our day at the zoo yesterday. Shocking, I know, given my previous complaints about how I perceived the day would go. And my worries weren’t completely unfounded in terms of children running in all directions and not listening. But for the most part, they were pretty good.
The amazing part of it all started almost after we first got to the zoo (after horrendous traffic, but that’s neither here nor there). Not too far in from the main entrance was the reptile house. A huge (air-conditioned) building with snakes, lizards, etc. We walked around in there about 20 minutes, and then headed back outside to start making our way to the fancy tent where lunch was being catered. (We got into the zoo for free through MIL’s DH’s company, and part of that deal was free lunch.)
Anyway, right outside the reptile house was a zoo employee. A young “kid” (about 21 or so), holding a small snake, talking to kids that walked past, telling them about the snake, etc. Grace (of course) may a bee-line for the guy and soon to follow were Hannah, Gunnar, and Garrett (Gunnar and Garrett are my nephews). So the guy starts talking to all of us about the snake, other snakes, the elephants, etc. and after about 10 minutes, he hands us a paper and says, “You know what? Meet me back here at 2:30 and I’ll give you guys a little ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the hippo feeding.” Awesome!
Honestly, I figured we’d get to go back where only employees go (cool!) and watch the zoo employees feed the hippos. But oh my god, was I wrong.
We met the guy at 2:30 and he said, “OK guys! Follow me!” He lead us through this big wooden gate that said “Employees Only”, which in and of itself was cool. Then we met two other women who work at the zoo who are in charge of feeding the animals. They employees started telling us about hippos. How they’re one of the most dangerous, vicious animals there are (which Steve and I knew because we’re “Animal Planet” geeks), and how even though they’re herbivores and only eat plants, they kill things like it’s their job because they are VERY protective and territorial. It’s nothing for a hippo to kill a tiger, lion, etc. if they feel threatened. Alrighty then. LOL!
So they start handing out rubber gloves to all of us (!) and wheel out a huge garbage can filled with just lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce.
The two hippos that are at the zoo quickly ran over to us. Now the way it’s set up is that the hippos are basically down below, and we were all standing at the top of a stone wall that was a bit above the hippos’ heads. They said no employee has ever gone into the actual habitat with the hippos because it’s too dangerous.
Well, as soon as the hippos reached us, they lifted their heads, opened their HUGE mouths, and wanted their meal. That’s when we all got to start feeding them. Basically, we took huge handfuls of lettuce and tossed them into the hippos’ mouths. It was just SO cool to see and do. I couldn’t push my shutter button fast enough to take pictures.
And thank god, I had my 50mm prime (fixed) lens on the camera. Basically that means that the lens does not zoom in or out AT ALL, and at 50 mm, you’re basically seeing what you do with your naked eye. So all of the pictures I’m about to share are literally how close we were to everything. Just fascinating. The insides of their mouths are just amazing. I couldn’t believe how HUGE their teeth are! And what’s funny is that those teeth are used strictly for defense, and they use only their lips and tongues to actually eat. Just unbelievable.
And without further ado, why don’t you share in our amazing hippo experience. If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a hippos mouth looks like, wonder no more. LOL!
These are from when they first wandered over when they realized it was feeding time.
And then, the kids started throwing the lettuce into their mouths.
Wanna see what the insides of their mouths look like? No problem, my friends! ;)
Look at those TEETH! Dear GOD! LOL! (And remember, I can’t zoom with this lens.) ;)
And then, at one point, while the hippo had his mouth closed, Grace and Gunnar got to pet his chin. Awwww! Look at his little tongue. LOL!
It was just such a cool once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, so cool! The kids LOVED it, and admittedly, so did the adults. It was one of those days you never forget and you go to sleep that night knowing you will never have an opportunity like that again. Just a really, really cool day. :)
But enough about that. I know you all want to know if the sister-in-law wore “The Visor”. And the answer is yes. Yes, she did. I TOLD you all she would. LOL! See?
However, at least in THIS case, the visor made sense. Outside. In the sun. At the zoo. (That’s Steve’s brother, SIL, and their 2 boys in that picture.)
However, what had me TOTALLY flabbergasted (and still does), is that she had camouflage shorts on. Camo. SIL doesn’t “do” camo. Well, apparently she does… I’ve just never seen it. She is soooo not a camo person. She’s strictly Eddie Bauer khaki, polo shirts, etc. To see her in camo almost made me shit my pants. AND they were paired with $2.00 Old Navy flip-flops. What the hell?!?!
So I have several theories here…
1) She’s going through her mid-life crises (she’s the same age as me… 35), and is trying to dress “younger” and trendier.
2) She knows I wear camo whenever possible (because I’m cool like that) and she’s trying to be just like me because she thinks I’m cool.
3) She was trying to look as “zoo like” as possible, and figured that the visor, the camo shorts, and the flip flops made her look all “Safari”.
3) They’re piss poor broke and can only afford to buy $2.50 shoes. (And that’s cool with me. I love my PayLess and WalMart shoes. SHE however, doesn’t.)
It was just weird. Really, really weird. However, I am determined to figure out the mind of this girl come hell or high water, and I will figure out what makes her tick if it’s the last thing I do,dammit. LOL!
Alrighty. I’ll post more zoo pics tomorrow. But I was so hung up on the hippo ones, that I didn’t have a chance to even look much at the others I took yesterday. Later gators! ;)