meriones: (zoo)
some cute from today :)



Tiger cubs using the moose sculpture as a fun climbing structure. Sundari is sitting on top, Nadya at the feet.



And today was the leopard cub's second full day in their new exhibit space. Tamara has discovered the joys of tree climbing. Dmitri, in turn, has discovered the joys of fence scaling. He took a flying leap at the front fencing and latched on at nearly eye level. I was paying more attention to Tamara in the tree and suddenly there was boy cub flying at my face lol.

No photo of the lynx kitten, though. I was on Minnesota Trail after he went in for the afternoon. I was impressed to see all three black bears out. Two weeks ago only Tiva bothering to roll out (first time seeing one of the up in the tree!), and sense the keepers said they started hibernating around Thanksgiving last year I wasn't expecting much for this week. Not much action but they were visible - Kuruk laying under the main viewing window, Sike in the den, and Tiva walking back and forth between the two locations. I'm guessing that's the last I'll see of them until next Spring.
meriones: (photo)


This photo of mine is a finalist in the zoo's 2012 photo contest. Voting is through Facebook and ends tomorrow, September 28th, at 11:59pm central time. Voting link: http://www.facebook.com/MNZoo/app_461867630503002 scroll down to the Tropical Animals category. Thank you so much!

some Twirly!Adam for your time =P
meriones: (zoo)
057 (2)

they gave me a free half hour at one o'clock today so naturally I went to the bird show. Ivory stole the show...literally! He was the second bird out after Coconut and decided to hang out in the trees instead. Half hour later and Dave is still trying to coax him down and I had to leave for my must cover position at the next dolphin feeding. Wish I could've stayed though to see how long it finally took to get him down. He started off in the trees behind the amphitheater next to the monorail track, and right before I had to leave the monorail came by and he flew over to the trees down by the lake.

Dave once mentioned that the crazy things always happen when I show up in the audience. uhh...sorry? lol ;P

And for the first time ever I got inked while handling the giant African millipedes. Luckily it didn't stain my skin like it can, and there was no noticeable allergic reaction! They are on my shortlist of dream pets so I had always been curious as to whether or not I'd be allergic to the toxin.
meriones: (zoo)


First day back to the zoo farm and the official start of my tenth summer at the zoo! Where'd the time go?

Pretty uneventful day save for one thing. In the goat yard the inside barn area is roped off to guests and has a "goat refuge area" sign attached to the rope with a couple S hooks. Goats like to rub their heads on this sign. One goat was doing just that when her ear tag got hooked up into that S. Screaming goat, panicked goat herd, and freaking out children ensued. She was trying to run away from the rope and kept throwing her entire body backwards each time the rope got taught. I pretty much had to sit on her to get her to calm down long enough to let me futz with her ear and get the thing loose. Now I have a better understanding of what might of happened to that goat kid with the ear completely split down the middle. Yikes!

I think every single goat in that herd of about 30 got the poop scared out of them. Literally.
meriones: (zoo)
So many noisy critters at the zoo today! Started off the morning in Tropics and the wonderful gibbon morning concert. Tia wasn't participating though so it was only Bailey, and Tia is the real loud mouth of the pair. Shortly thereafter the lemurs started their screaming, and the colobus monkeys started hollering in return! I had read about how loud they can be but have never heard it before! The birds didn't want to be left out either, so now the hornbill and argus pheasant were calling out as well! This is why I love being in the tropics building not only that time of day, but this time of year. All these awesomely deafening animal sounds surrounding you and not a ton of screaming kids to ruin the vibe. :)

There's one warty pig that will always come over when I stop to say hi. The same one the zoo tweeted a picture of yesterday, actually. This time he actually came running over, making that cute pig grunting noise, and stretched his little snout as close as he could get to me. SO CUTE!

The goral was running and leaping about down at the bottom of their exhibit which was a nice treat. Normally they are so high up on the rocks all that can be seen is the top of their head.

Got to do a hognose snake animal encounter for the first time in over a year due to the snakes being off handling. They've only been back on the handling list for about a month. She was having a hissy fit as I was getting her out, hissing and head flattened like a cobra, but she settled down quite nicely and yay I've missed holding snakes!

End of the day I got my hour outside on the Northern Trail. The horses were neighing and nickering (and of course quit once I got the camera rolling) and the tiger out on exhibit was actually roaring! I've heard the sound coming from some unseen tiger off exhibit and inside holding, but never a tiger actually out on exhibit! I wonder if Molniy was doing that in reaction to being split up with his brother Vaska and longtime exhibit mate? Those two have been together for years and getting along great (a rarity when it comes to male tigers) and have now been split up for breeding. Vaska to a zoo in Illinois and Molniy will be paired up with a new female coming in by the name of Whirl. I've been told she has a stumpy tail so I'm kinda curious as to what she looks like.

And the remodel for the new dhole exhibit is beautiful! Check out the gazebo entrance:



close up of the door details
meriones: (zoo)
They changed her name to Lena. How Minnesotan of them...


It's been a while since I last posted about the zoo so here's a photo from today. About two minutes later this heavy snow currently falling started up. I walked the rest of the trail and less than 20 minutes later I was completely soaked.

The prairie dog exhibit is completely empty now. That was my favorite exhibit growing up which makes me sad, but hey they are being replaced with Daurian Pika so I can't complain! There's actually plans to change the focus of Northern Trail to Asian animals, which is also why the old Mexican Wolf exhibit is being turned into a Dhole exhibit. Only two other zoos in the United States have Dholes - San Diego Zoo and one of the zoos in Ohio. That's supposed to open sometime this month but I haven't heard any official date yet.

The prairie dogs, bison, and pronghorn are all supposed to move closer to the front of the zoo. I haven't watched the animated fly through lately but that hill behind the IMAX will become a bison/pronghorn exhibit and I can't recall where the prairie dog exhibit would go. Somewhere along that East entrance I believe. It also sounds like they are rethinking plans to enclose that upper plaza area due to high costs so maybe the Wyland mural will be saved after all? I certainly hope so.

A new male wolf arrived at the zoo recently to pair up with Waziyata, hopefully in time to try for a litter next spring. He's still in quarantine but apparently he's a black wolf! I've always thought black colored wolves were beautiful and wow he'll look so nice alongside Wazi and her white coat.

ooh ooh...and our volunteer coordinater was telling me how she went to a birdshow recently and they now have a bit where they pick a couple people out of the audience, have them hold out their arms with food in either hand, and release a big ol' flock of birds at them. Sounds like fun I wanna do it! =P
meriones: (zoo)


I kept reading zoo updates about how gorgeous this guy was, so I had to go out to the farm and see for myself. Love his markings! He was also really adorable with the way he kept backing up and "charging" forward to headbutt my hand. His sweet spot seems to be behind the left ear - really got the happy tail wag going. Bam Bam's was always right between the hips.

One thing I wish I got on video? The camel born over the summer chasing one of the geese that always hang out in their exhibit. I could totally see and predict it happening but alas was not fast enough with the video button.

Oh, and my photo Pig Tails (click that link and vote for it if you haven't already. kthnx) was on the slideshow TV screen in the front entry when I stepped through the doors. So wasn't expecting that! I pretty much gave the zoo free use of my photos a couple years ago, but this is only the third time I've actually seen one in use. Very Cool!

Fluffballs!

Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:59 pm
meriones: (zoo)


Picture is from their post on Zooborns, but I got to see and pet these adorable balls of fluff today while in Zoomobile's office and ZOMG SO CUTE!!!!

I was working the outdoor information booth on the upper plaza during a birdshow and I could hear was Dave's voice projecting across the zoo grounds and all I wanted to do was drop everything a go. I only managed to go to one birdshow this summer when normally I see one every single week. At least that one show was a Dave show? Of course he randomly started talking in a Jersey Shore accent and was fist pumping but it was a Dave show so I wouldn't expect anything less lol!

For the first time in probably ten years I may not be going to the Labor Day birdshow. The "spectacular" aspect has gone downhill over the years (basically ever since Dave quit participating in them) where comparatively the Halloween themed birdshows have gotten more and more epic. I hope they bring back the Harry Potter show from a couple years ago because Weston as Harry and Rebecca as Hermoine was A+.

Speaking of birdshow I got to view an advance copy of the fall Zoo Tracks newsletter and there's lots of birdshow between an article by Kam (I discovered her full name is Kamerie. I did not know that.) about her trip to South America to the fact the staff profile is on Dave. I was interested to learn (and yet was not even remotely surprised) that he initially was planning on getting into music before the whole birdshow maestro thing fell into his lap. In fact the thought of working at a zoo didn't even cross his mind until after seeing a birdshow at the zoo. Which is kinda funny as I never really went to that zoo a ton myself until I saw my first birdshow and then suddenly I was going all the time just to see that birdshow. Visiting more often is what made me decide to start volunteering, and volunteering is what got me into photography. So basically - yay birdshow! :D

I don't know if it's noticable from this entry, but there's this one dude at the zoo named Dave that I've pretty much hero worshiped since I was like 13 years old. Can you tell? lol
meriones: (zoo)


Final Wednesday for the farm. Weather was cloudy and humid and the sun finally came out as I was leaving. We got a nice sudden downpour right as we were about to start cleaning the goat yard. Definitely made our decision as to whether we should hose it down easier lol.



And as I was walking in this morning they were walking Bo and Luke in harness along the paths. Bummer that they basically lost a year of training them in due to their hoof problems. Especially now that the American Cream's older age is starting to show with arthritis in their legs. They had to remove the boys from the parades at the state fair this year.

I also checked the wolf gazebo and was surprised to see the girls from North Dakota still on exhibit. I had read previously that they would be leaving by the 29th. I guess they're going on Friday now. Last time I'll probably be seeing a Mexican Wolf as they are gonna change the exhibit to hold Dholes, which is a type of Asian wild dog that looks like a red fox but is the about the size of a German Shepard. I hear they will be getting the animals in within the next month, but no idea when they will be on exhibit.

Apparently they are also getting in some Pika (!!!!) in October some time, and are considering the possibility of Springhaas. Basically name in animal that most people have never heard of and I'll be excited about it lol.
meriones: (Default)

Ushered the Gaelic Storm concert at the zoo tonight and was inspired by all the dudes in kilts to post this photo. You're welcome. ;P

Gaelic Storm play the zoo every year so I decidd this year I would actually sign up to work their show. Glad I did because they are very entertaining. I don't think a lot of people that follow me here are familiar with the duo Ant and Dec, but the banter between songs was very Ant and Dec like.

My favorite line of the evening? "Speaking of hurting people's brains, this next song is dedicated to Justin Bieber." There was also this great bit during one of their songs that happens to be about a racehorse donkey. At one point that got the whole audience to mime the racing a horse movement with their arms. He looked at everyone and said "Wow! You look absolutely stupid." lol made all the better with his thick Irish accent.

Oh, and they had four Irish step dancers come out and dance for a song which was a fun treat.

SEMO!

Aug. 20th, 2011 07:33 pm
meriones: (zoo2)


I feel like it's been forever since I posted anything zoo related to here's a photo of Semo I took today! Oh, and Taijah has definitely has learned the water spitting trick from him. A bunch of kids were at the tank window and up she went spitting at everyone. Baby dolphins are so amusing to watch! :3

And a video from Wednesday when Bo and Luke had their first time off stall rest in well over a month.
meriones: (linkin park)
Boyz II Men concert at the zoo tonight. SO AMAZING! I knew I was gonna love it but they went above and beyond my expectations. So so good - I miss hearing harmonizing vocal groups in top 40 music these days.

Opened and closed the show with Motown Philly which was strange but I can't complain because I love that song. Highlight for me was teaching the history of motown with a medley complete with that old school behind the mic stand choreography. They could have done that the entire show and I would've been happy. Several other covers as well. Lonestar's Amazed, The Goo Goo Dolls Iris, Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me (I had a Glambert moment over that, I ain't afraid to admit it lol) and then when their back track cut off they did an impromptu a cappella cover of Yesterday. Beautiful.

And Shawn kept trying to karate chop the mosquitoes. Sadly no bats went diving under the stage lights. That always gets an amusing reaction out of the band on stage.

Basically it just made me miss *NSYNC even more than I already do and now I want Justin to finally get his act together and agree to a reunion tour. Because you know the other four guys would be up for it if Justin agreed.

Oh, and the opening act was awesome as well. Local beatboxer by the name of Heatbox. He had foot pedals where he'd record his opening beatboxing rhythm and play in on a loop while he sang and did other sound effects over the top. Highlight was when he covered The Doors "Riders on the Storm," Flight of the Bumblebee, and the theme music to Tetris. It was so cool how he kept speeding it up and then at the end started miming the falling game pieces with his hands. I cracked up good over that!

Next week at the zoo is my final concert of the season - Gaelic Storm
meriones: (zoo)


With the holiday I wasn't really expecting my new camera to come until later in the week. Pleasantly surprised to have it arrive yesterday, which meant I could bring it to the zoo for a test drive! I knew the ultimate test of it's zoom capabilities would be the zoo's musk ox exhibit.

I don't have an unzoomed view of this exhibit handy, but anyone that's seen it knows how impossible it is to view the musk ox. The exhibt is, I believe, close to ten acres in size, probably half of that space being a lake on the front half of the exhibit. So that animals hang out behind the lake way up on a hill super far away. Photo above is from my new camera with no cropping. Yeah, that zoom will definitely come in handy when photographing the bison and other wildlife in Custer State Park.

Definitely needs a tripod when zoomed all the way in if I want large crisp images. Obvious it looks fine resized for the internet (yay image stabilizer!), but when viewed at 100% there is a little bit of haze around the edges from camera shake.

At the three o'clock birdshow a wild turkey randomly ran/flew across the stage during the red jungle fowl segment. And they actually had to acknowledge the rats today as one stayed out on the vine and Laurel had to go and lift it up into the opening in the wall. Kinda wish Dave has been doing this show just to see how he'd play with all the little surprises.
meriones: (efe)
Typed this out last night but LJ wasn't working so here it is now...

Jack's Mannequin show at the zoo. This was the one I was looking forward to most out of all the show's this season as it's most closely resembles the type of concert I'd go to anyway. I had seen Something Corporate open for Good Charlotte back in 2004 so it was nice to experience that vibe once again as it hasn't changed much. Andrew still rocks out on piano with his two microphones (has there ever been an explanation as to why he has two? I always find it amusing how he jumps back and forth between the two every five words.) jumping on top of the piano and stomping on the keys. And lots of lulzy spaz dancing which I can always appreciate. The only thing different is back then he had an upright and now it's a big ol' grand!

One fun bit was when they decided to change their name to The Bird Show for the night. A few songs later he continues the joke about the name change and almost on cue you see something dart over everyone onstage and Andrew was "did a bird fly over my head just now?!" Guitarist responds "uh, I think that was a bat." Cue the band changing their name to "The Bat Show" lol

Steel Train was great as well. I knew I'd dig them when first song it they had two dudes banging on drums. The lead singer bantered a ton and chatted back and forth with the audience which was great. Best part was when he was interrupted by a plane flying overhead and made a reference to the bar scene in the movie That Thing You Do. He also decided that the zoo venue was like Red Rocks but cooler, and yelled "WERK!" in response to something an audience member said in return. I was like "he just said werk. SOLD!" lol. And during the very last song all four members of the band were banging on the drumset which was awesome.
meriones: (zoo2)


The almost 3 weeks old Przewalski colt was tearing around their exhibit this morning! Unfortunately with the overcast I wasn't able to get my shutter speed as fast as I would have liked to completely freeze the motion, but the blurry bits aren't too bad.



And volunteers got a little preview of the new penguins! And if you look closer at the one crouching down in that shot...



Okay, you can't read it all, but his current wing band has his name on it and it's Lambert. I figure I got enough Adam Lambert fans on here (or maybe even some Miranda Lambert fans? I dunno...) that would get a kick out of that. By the time the exhibit opens those bands will have been replaced with ones that just have their ID numbers on them as to not anthropomorphize them and it's by those numbers we will refer to them as when talking to the public. Here though I'm totally referring to him as Lambert because I'm a dork and the zoo having a penguin named Lambert amuses me. =P
meriones: (efe)
Florence + The Machine concert at the zoo tonight, so quick recap before I go to bed (gotta be back at the zoo by 8:15 tomorrow morning for a tour of the new penguin exhibit!). Got in while she was doing a soundcheck party for some radio station contest winners. Was happy to hear "The Dog Days Are Over" because I knew I would have to leave before she got to that song.

After the soundcheck she went to do an interview and they ended up in the amphitheater bathrooms while the opener did soundcheck. It was amusing because guests were starting to come in and some were all "OMG she's right on the other side of that door" so I played with them being all "OMG she walked right by me and her dress touched me!" lol and then they finished up right as I was at the door refilling my water bottle so I got yet another quick meeting with her. I didn't know she was so tall! I'm about a half inch shy of 6 foot even and she was close to the same.

Opening act Hanni El Khatib was awesome! Kind of a mix between The Black Keys and The White Stripes. In fact one song I could totally hum the guitar riff of "Seven nation Army" over and later had a very "Fell in love with a Girl" type vocals. I definitely planning on checking out his music when I get the chance.

And then Florence + The Machine. She had changed into this really flowy "red riding hood" red dress/cape thing and it reminded me of Adam's Sleepwalker coat and now I want her red dress as well. She had a wind machine and stage fog and she just spun around dancing with it flowing and fluttering around (sometimes with an added tambourine, sometimes jumping around and banging on a drum) with her being all adorable like. I wish I was able to bring my camera with when I usher because it was so wonderfully visual and photogenic. And wow girl has got some powerful vocals and can hit some high notes! Like she made some sounds I don't think I've ever heard come out of a human before! And it's crazy how loud and big her vocals are when you hear how softspoken she is when talking.

And we left just as the thunderstorms were rolling in. Really pretty drive home watching the lightning along the horizon.

Okay, really need to go try and get some sleep. I'll come back and fix any typos and maybe add some stuff tomorrow.
meriones: (zoo)

Random shot of the two Jersey cows at the farm. I enjoy the color varation, especially considering the one on the left is mother to the one on the right. I don't think I've ever seen a Jersey as dark as Mary, in fact. You can't really tell in the photo but she's really spotted on her sides as well.

Bit of a slow day until the sun came out a little after 2 o'clock. It was interesting walking out to the farm, because while it wasn't raining, it pretty much sounded like rain with the sounds of water dripping off all the tree branches and leaves. It felt like walking out in the rain without actually getting wet. "Outside the rain's fallin' down. There's not a drop that hits me." Yeah I totally started humming Sleepwalker on the way.


And a random video of one of the Mexican Wolves because she amused me. The first time she took off running I thought maybe she didn't realize I was standing there and spooked. But when she kept doing it over and over and over again I decided maybe this was some fun game to her?
meriones: (#teamcockatoo)
Just to get it out of the way, yes a Mexican Wolf escaped and had to be killed today. Unfortunate but a wolf is considered a "potentially dangerous species" and it was walking along the public paths when the trail hadn't been fully evacuated. I personally wish the articles would put more focus into why a tranquilizer gun couldn't have been used because what few comments I've read (many in an article that actually explains why a tranquilizer couldn't be used. Reading Comprehension Fail!) seem to be focusing on that fact. Contrary to what happens in the movies a tranquilizer doesn't spontaneously make an animal drop to the ground asleep. It can take up to 15 minutes for it to take affect and an animal running in a panic from being hit by a tranquilizer would just have posed even more of a danger to the public.

I am curious what will happen to that exhibit because as far as I know the only other Mexican Wolves are the two here temporarily from the flood threatened Dakota Zoo.

I was at the farm when this happened. For those unfamiliar with this zoo the wolf exhibit is right at the fork in the path that visitors take to the farm. The wolf could have just as easily run down our way, so there was quite the sudden rush to get everyone evacuated into the basement of the farmhouse. Glad the action didn't head our way though because those farmhouse doors are glass and it was full of little kids on a field trip. Can you imagine if all those kids actually witnessed the end result? Talk about possibly being scarred for life! I was present when the baby dolphin swam into the tank wall and was fatally injured and I still get shivers just thinking of the awful sound it made.

Here have a photo of a cute baby horse nursing to make up for the downer of an entry.

meriones: (zoo)


There's a couple temporary guests in the Mexican Gray Wolf exhibit. The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, ND had to evacuate many of their zoo animals due to the threat of flooding. Minnesota Zoo got several of their animals but the wolves are the only ones visible to the public. They're both females and one has been here in the past (probably from that group of girls they tried to integrate into the pack a few years ago) but that's all I know about them. To the untrained eye I'm sure a wolf is a wolf, but to me these girls look so different compared to the wolves the zoo used to have, especially in the face.

Saw my first new "dolphin training show" in the morning. It really focuses on everything that goes into training dolphins. I personally liked how they showed the audience how to do the hand signals. Still nothing compared to the shows back in the days when they had 6 dolphins jumping out of the water in tandem, but once you get that idea out of your head it's a really well put together show.

Had a break timed up perfectly to check out the Odessa puppet show. Really only to get a look at the new indoor birdshow theatre but the show was really cute as well. The puppets are really nice, sorta reminiscent of the puppets from The Lion King stage show but instead of African Savannah animals it was sharks and sea turtles and African gray parrots (and a rhinoceros hornbill randomly thrown in with the tropical African animals which confused me but whatevs).

And the new theatre is so pretty! Can't wait to see my first show in there. It'll be interesting to discover my new "spot" because I'm very Sheldon Cooper when it comes to where I sit at the indoor shows lol!

Ooh, and before and after the show they showed short "at the zoo" video segments on the big screens on the back of the stage. They had a fun one of Dave lure flying the peregrine falcon in some field/parking lot area. I was all "Yay Dave!" and had to keep my inner fangirl in check due to the sudden onslaught of awesome.
meriones: (zoo)
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I was volunteering at the zoo today, so I was conveniently where I would want to spend my last day on Earth. Plus I got to high-five The Cat in The Hat, so really life is now complete.

Oh, and a sampling of what happens when Dr. Seuss is on the loose...

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