Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Belize Zoo

I love zoos.  My aunt Kathy took us to the zoo in Omaha (a fantastic zoo) probably once a week during the summers when we were young.  When I was in kindergarten or first grade, we went on a field trip to the zoo.  The teacher got turned around and I ended up leading the group to the next animal.  I have visited zoos throughout the world.  Seeing hippos mate and searching for Snowflake, the albino gorilla in Barcelona (he had died a few weeks earlier).  Following a troop of kangaroos around Ireland's Fota Wildlife park, where the (non-lethal) animals roam freely.  Seeing an okapi for the first time in St. Louis.  Exploring the back rooms in the aquarium in Omaha when my Dad did a catering event.  The confused kids questioning their parents after witnessing an elephant masturbate at the National Zoo.

So, you would think I'd have gone to the Belize Zoo before today.  It's not that I haven't tried to go to the zoo, but somehow something always came up.  I was scheduled to do a night tour of the zoo (lots of nocturnal animals) but Hurricane Richard closed the zoo for a few months.  Whenever guests visited me, I would send them to the zoo on their own since it was easily accessible while I was at work.  Another night zoo trip was canceled.  Two trips were rained out.  My mom broke her arm.  We went to the Rio On pools instead.  It got to the point that it felt like I was cursed and would never make it.

For my birthday two weeks ago, Margarita and Emile gave me a coupon for a free trip to the zoo complete with kids and lunch.  I planned to cash it in today.  Unfortunately, as we made our way towards the zoo, the rain started to come down.  It began to pour.  There was thunder and lightning (we never get thunderstorms here).  It looked like the trip would be canceled again.  We decided to try to wait out the storm by getting lunch at a nearby restaurant.  We were rewarded with a sunny, but smoldering hot afternoon so that I finally got to see the zoo.

The Belize Zoo is unique in that all the animals are native to Belize and none are captured in the wild.  They are all either abandoned pets or animals from other zoos or from movie sets.  The zoo was damaged pretty significantly in Hurricane Richard in October 2010, but they have built most of it back up.  Lots of cool cats - Leopards, Pumas, and the famous Jaguars - plus cool birds and other local animals, such as the tapir and coati.  All in all - a great trip.

Finally, I made it.

Apparently, there are deer in Belize.  Who knew?

The tapir is the national animal of Belize

Not a whole lot of security at the zoo - so you can pet some of the animals 
This bird was just flying around, but let me get real close to take a picture

Absolutely gorgeous leopard

We got there for feeding time - you can see the
chicken in her mouth.

Junior Buddy - The Belize Zoo's most famous resident

If you pay extra, you can get in a cage where they will
have him lick your head from outside the cage.

He was huge - look at the size of the paws

Margarita wasn't joking when she said I'd have kids to take to the zoo

Scarlet Macaw

Fancy camera settings

I turned the camera to "ultra vivid colors"  and then
captured the second bird flying off - hence the blue blur.

The crocodile was so close to the path and so still,
we thought it was a statue at first - until we noticed him breathing.

Howler Monkeys
Playing on the swings outside the zoo.

1 comment:

  1. The leopard sure is cuter than what I see in National Geographic. <3 The swing does look like the most fun part of your zoo visit, huh? :)