Took yesterday off as a late birthday trip for my daughter. Every year around her birthday now, we try and take a day and go somewhere, generally fairly close by, and just have fun for the day.
We were planning to head down to Marvel Cave, but we wanted to hit the Japanese Gardens down in Springfiel, but they were closed for the season.
So we made a last minute substitution, and headed to the St Louis zoo instead. (http://www.stlzoo.org/)
It's a rather nice zoo and has some incredible animals. My husband's favorite was the Amur Leopard, or maybe the Snow Leopard, or then there is the Cheetah to consider too. LOL Part of why we wanted to go to the zoo is the Amur Leopard, Snow Leopard and Cheetah, because he does love them so.
Aren't they breathtaking? We can't forget the Jaquar though. It's also another of his favorites. And incredible to watch in motion.
My daughter has always loved the lions, so they were a highlight for her.
She did coo an awful lot at the Dwarf Mongoose though. LOL They are cute little things.
I had a blast too. We spent about a half hour in the butterfly dome, just enjoying the peace and mostly quiet. We also spent a good deal of time in the bird house. Which was rather fun for me. And I got to see the river otters, always a highlight. They are so playful. LOL
Most of the owls and such weren't out, which I had expected. I also missed my bat-eared fox, but seeing the Amur Leopard for me made it all worth while.
Especially after reading an article in National Geographic not too long ago. These beautiful creatures are not long to be with us.
I've posted the link here to share as well, because I think it worth sharing. All of these beautiful animals, the large carniovores especially, are in such danger.
Just days after this article came out, a female Amur Leopard was killed.
There are some organizations that are looking to help. AZA is one, by saving some of the animals, by putting them in zoos and organizing breeding programs.
The World Wildlife Fund is another. http://www.wwf.org/ (They are on my Christmas donations list)
I'm glad that I was able to head to St Louis with my daughter, to see an Amur Leopard up close (because he was right along the side of the cage the whole hour or so we spent going back and forth between the cat exhibits), and to see all of the other animals.
I strongly encourgae anyone reading this to visit your local zoo. To contribute even a dollar here and there to conservation efforts.
It's worth it - to see a kid's eyes light up. To see something as breathtaking as a Leopard or a Cheetah or a Jaguar up close. To know that the world IS a better place, because they AREN'T extinct YET. To know that we can make a difference, if we really want to.
Me ... I want to.