Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Going on Safari

Nearly every weekend between January and May - including Memorial Day weekend and the first weekend of summer vacation - revolved around soccer and/or dance. So when the second weekend of summer vacation rolled around, I decided our Saturday morning should start off with something new. I pitched my idea for the day to Tom, and he agreed to delay his regular Saturday morning round of disc golf to join the kids and me for our inaugural trip to our area's newest attraction: Aggieland Safari, an adventure zoo and safari park.

We first heard about Aggieland Safari back in February, when one of its employees brought sweet Sheila, a baby kangaroo, to a school event. I added the Grand Opening - in May - to my calendar, but when that weekend rolled around we just couldn't make it work. Thankfully, a month later the stars aligned and we found our way back to Sheila and had an opportunity to meet the rest of her animal friends.

We started our visit with the walk-through portion of the zoo. We admired the giraffes, fed the llamas, and crossed, somewhat nervously, the boardwalk through the enclosed aviary. (The kids and I are not huge fans of birds, and Hallie and I in particular should have skipped this exhibit all together.) We spent quite a bit of time trying to spot all of the lemurs (including two babies hidden incredibly well in the fur on their mothers' abdomens) on lemur island, and then strolled through an indoor space that houses birds, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, and a GIANT black python. Well, we strolled until we came to the python - then I walked briskly to the exit. We also glimpsed the hippopotamus from afar; worked our way much closer to the spider and squirrel monkeys, warthogs, and porcupines; and wandered among the free-range tortoises. We wrapped up our time at zoo looking for Sheila; Hallie was SURE she could correctly identify her, however I had absolutely no idea which of the many kangaroos was the one who first introduced us to this fun new attraction.
You can't tell from this picture, but the python was gigantic.
SO many baby turtles! (Tortoises? I have no idea...)
I really liked this guy's attitude.
This big guy walked right up to Tom.
When Hallie feeds animals she gets as close to
them as she can. (Except birds - she and I feel
the same way about birds.)
"Please, Hallie, I'm SOOOO hungry..."
Sheila? Maybe, maybe not.
If you look closely, you can see the baby
lemur attached to the mama lemur's chest.
Not my favorite animal...
When Will feeds animals, he stands as far
away as his outstretched arm will allow.
I've always loved giraffes...until
they stick out their tongues, that is.
It's hard to see, but the hippo's head is sticking up out of the
water just past the weeded area in the back right of the picture.
For a size comparison, Hallie next to
what we thought was the biggest tortoise.

After we saw all of the zoo animals, we hopped back in our car and headed out for the three-mile safari drive through 250 acres of grassland and wooded areas. The kids LOVED this part of the trip; throughout the 30-minute excursion - and for 30 minutes afterwards - they repeatedly thanked me for taking them on this amazing adventure. We saw zebras, longhorns, ostriches, buffalo, bison, deer, donkeys, and a host of other animals I couldn't correctly identify. They came right up to the vehicles (one licked the driver's side door of my car, which the kids found hysterical) which meant the kids were able to enjoy truly up close and personal views of all of them.
This girl licked my car. 

Besides the zoo and safari drive, the venue also includes a playground, a small outdoor grill at which guests can purchase food and drinks (outside food and drinks are not allowed), a gift shop, and party rooms.

It took us about 30 minutes to drive to Aggieland Safari, so while we won't visit the zoo every weekend, we will certainly return as a foursome as well as when family members and friends come to visit...hopefully when winter rolls around, because y'all know how I feel about Texas weather this time of year. 😉

On a different note, happy birthday to my dad! So glad we get to celebrate with you in person the year!

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