Monday, August 26, 2013

North Carolina Zoo Visit

While in North Carolina we visited the North Carolina Zoo located near Asheboro which is about 78 miles from Durham.  We went with our wonderful friends the Gloade family, who were also great tour guides.

Misty and I were at the zoo about ten years earlier when we visited her aunt and uncle who used to live in the area, but did not remember everything about it and also much has changed since the last time we were here.

Upon entering the zoo we decided to get on the tram bus and start at the far end of the zoo and work our way back as suggested by our friends.
The Gloade and Lively families preparing to tour the zoo.
Avery was prepared with his hat and map of the zoo.
Avery is ready to go!
Miss Chloe looking cute as ever riding on the tram to the far side of the zoo.
Chloe looking cute!
Ian can hardly wait to start our adventure in the zoo today.
Ian waiting to start the tour.
Good golly Miss Molly, you are as cute as ever!
Miss Molly, cute as a button.
Here is a map of the zoo in case you are interested.  You can also click here for pdf version of the map.
Map of the zoo.
The Gloades usually like to ride to one side of the zoo and then walk back to where they started rather than walking all the way to  the other side and then riding back.  I guess it is six of one and a half dozen of another.
Riding to the other side of the zoo.
Misty looking like she is thoroughly enjoying our zoo adventure today.
Misty anticipating our zoo adventure.
Avery looking like he has a mission to accomplish on the trip with his big blue eyes.  Well they may not look blue now, but they are.
Avery with his big blue, not looking blue eyes.
Our first stop on the tour is the Cypress Swamp.  If you like amphibians and reptiles, then you are in the right place.
Entering Cypress Swamp.
Throughout the zoo there are great sculptures like this one of a cougar.  According to the zoo's webpage, there are only about 50 cougars left in North America with most of them living in swamps of Florida.  That seems like a very small number to me.

If you go to the Mountain Lion Foundation FAQ page, they say that there are 24,000 to 36,000 adults in the United States, so I'm not sure about the zoo's statistics.

Cougars are also known as the puma in South America and a mountain lion in North America, but are actually the same species in both places.
Sculpture of a cougar, mountain lion, or puma depending on where you are.
One of the reptiles we enjoyed was of course the turtles.  This one was ready to pose for the camera.
Turtle.
Of course you can not go to a swamp exhibit and not see any alligators.  Below are two American Alligators that were just soaking in the sun.  I took this picture with my new iPhone 5 which I thought did a good job, especially when using the full zoom feature, such as with this picture.
American Alligators getting a tan.
Here is a cougar, that we talked about earlier in this blog, enjoying the shade.  The temperature was in the lower 90's today.
Cougar enjoying the shade.   The temperature was in the low 90's today.
And of course, what would be a swamp tour without a snake or two.  I was close enough to this one to take a picture with just a little bit of zoom.  You may think this is a cottonmouth, but it is actually a northern water snake.
Northern water snake that is commonly mistaken for a cottonmouth.
Below is how close I was to it with only a chain link fence between it and me.  Luckily I'm not scared of snakes, but I did not let Misty know where it was until she was well past the spot.  No need to make her have an accident in her pants.
Northern water snake right next to the chain link fence that separates it from the trail.
Throughout the zoo there were hands on exhibits for the kids, such as this bubble one.  Here Kelsey tries her hand at making one.
Kelsey making a bubble.
During our tour we went to the puffin exhibit.  Not only were the puffins neat to watch, but the temperature in the exhibit was down in the forties, which cooled us off.  So, we lingered at this exhibit for a bit longer than the others!

Puffins are found in the northern Pacific Ocean and Bearing Sea and spend six to eight months living in the water and come back to land usually only to bread.
Puffin exhibit.
The zoo also has a great playground that the kids really loved.  They did not get to play on it too long though, because we still had a lot of the zoo to see and little time to do it.  We especially wanted to make sure we saw the dinosaur exhibit in the zoo, which was going to close shortly.
Ethan in the playground.
Every statue or sculpture had to be climbed on by the kids and there were plenty of them at the zoo.  Allison posed on this one for her photo opp.
Allison and the rest of the kids playing on one of the many statues at the zoo.
Ethan, Christian, Ian, Courtney, and Molly at the bear.
Now these next pictures may be too much for someone with a weak stomach.  We are entering the dinosaur section of the zoo and a couple of them broke out of their enclosures.

Some of the kids and parents did not make it, but don't worry, we got a full refund for their tickets, so it was not a total loss.

Poor, poor Ian was the first victim to be eaten by a dinosaur.  Tia jumped on the T-Rex's back to try and stop it, but it was just too big and strong.  Last thing we heard Ian say was, "Ouch!"
Ian getting eaten by a dinosaur!
After Ian was attacked we ran into a Parasaurolophus which was guarding its eggs and freshly hatched babies.  She was in no mood for us to be in the area, so we made haste and split.
Parasaurolophus

Parasaurolophus eggs and babies.
The next dinosaur we ran into was a Amargasaurus which did not really care whether or not we were there, so after a quick photo, we marched onward.
Amargasaurus.
Before we knew what was happening, a Quetzalcoatlus swooped down next to us with its impressive wing span.  Even though it is not really a dinosaur, it is supposedly the largest ancient flying animal ever found.
Quetzalcoatlus with it massive wing span.

After barley escaping our last peril, we spied a Citipati through the weeds.  We could not afford to lose anyone else, so had to sneak our way around it.
Citipati.
Just when we thought we were safe, we ran right smack into a Deltadromeus who looked like it was very hungry.   We knew that we could not outrun it, since it is thought to be one of the fastest dinosaurs to ever live.  So we just had to be faster than our slowest person in the group.  

Sometimes you just have to take one for the team and that is exactly what Tia did.  Actually she tripped and fell, but her sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Deltadromeus who had Tia as a snack.
Just when you thought that it could not get any worse!  We were stopped dead in our tracks by a pack of Coelophysus that were roaming around on the hunt for food.

Luckily for us, they heard all of the commotion by the Deltadromeus with Tia and went to investigate, which gave us a window of opportunity to escape.
Pack of Coelophysus on the hunt.

A Coelophysus up close and personal.
As we moved through the forest, we ran into an Acrocanthosaurus, another carnivore that would have surly eaten us, but once again, luck was on our side since there was a dying Triceratops in its path.  It was more focused on it than us and so let us pass without incident.
Acrocanthosaurus ready to eat!

Dieing Triceratops that saved us from the hungry Acrocanthosaurus.
Once again we barley escaped, but our luck was soon to run out.  Just around the corner we ran right smack into a Giganotosaurus who was not distracted like our previous diners.
Un-distracted Giganotosaurus.
Poor Misty and Chloe were the unfortunate ones who gave this dinosaur its meal today.  Courtney was able to distract it with her umbrella and escaped.
Misty and Chloe becoming a meal for the Giganotosaurus.  Courtney escapes by using her umbrella as a distraction.
After getting past a few more dinosaurs we finally made it out and had time to do some digging for fossils.  Ethan found some bones and a small dinosaur tooth.  Well it may be a shark tooth but I'm not really sure.
Ethan digging for fossils.

Some bones and a tooth was found.
After our near death experience in the land of the dinosaurs, the Gloade family and Ethan sat down to take a needed rest.  As you can see, poor Ethan was overcome by exhaustion and collapsed.
Jenny, Kelsey, and Christian Gloade taking a break while Ethan takes a nap.
Even though we were out of danger from the dinosaurs, there were still other animals you had to watch out for while in the zoo.

While taking a break, Courtney had an unexpected visit by a snake.
Courtney and her snake.
Even though the snake did not bite her, she was severely traumatized by the entire event and will probably never be the same.
Courtney traumatized by a snake.
We did get to see some lions though and even Courtney enjoyed them after her snake episode.
A male and female lion.
Here is another shot from my new iPhone5 of a giraffe and zebra without any zoom.
Picture of a zebra and giraffe without zoom from an iPhone 5.
Now here is the same picture with full zoom from the iPhone 5.  I think it does a very nice job and is not grainy at all.
Zebra and giraffe picture from an iPhone 5 zoomed in.
Well those were some of the adventures we had at the zoo today, but not all of them.  It is a very nice zoo to visit and we would gladly go back to see anything we missed or already saw.

Also, there were no real injuries or fatalities while we visited the zoo either. I made it all up just for the fun of it.  You know I should not have to put such a disclaimer, but probably should, just in case.

We had a wonderful time with the Gloade family at the zoo and can not wait until we get together again on some other adventure.

We are truly blessed and know that God had a hand in us meeting the Gloade family during our time in North Carolina. 

God also has a hand in your life too, so just listen and let Him guide you.  God bless!

Thanks!
Don, Misty, and Kids...


6 comments:

  1. Enjoy reading your blog! We also are traveling fulltime with 6 kids. We hope to see you out there sometime. Deb @ desertrainblog.com

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    1. I left a comment on your first day blog and will add you to our blog roll.

      I'm sure we will be in touch and will look forward to meeting up with you and your family someday.

      God bless and safe travels.

      Don

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  2. Thank you! I saw your comment on our blog. The similarities in our lives are so encouraging. We are in Wilmington, OH for the next couple of weeks then on down thru KY and TN. We plan tol be in TX first part of the winter and later in FL. If you are anywhere close it would be fun to connect. Blessings on your journey.
    Deb

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    1. We plan on being in KY Oct - Dec and then back home to WV for Christmas. Our plan is to leave here in a couple weeks and stay in TN for about a week before we hit KY, so maybe we can link up sometime.

      I do not have specific dates yet, but should have them in a week or two. We are waiting here in TX to take our driving test for our class B license, which is tomorrow, then I have some other TX business to take care of, but am not sure when I will have it completed, so due to that, do not have firm dates as of yet.

      I'm sure we can meet somewhere during our travels though.

      Don

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    2. Great! We will be in KY oct 8-22. You can contact us via email at deb@desertrainblog.com.

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