In order to fizzle my inner desire to save all of the animals in the world, Cole and I decided to spend our day off (Happy Birthday, Mr. President!) at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Did you know they offer free admission on Mondays in December, January and February? Win-Win!
It has been a good thirteen years since I went to the zoo; I would be lying if I said I wasn't incredibly excited to see a tiger up close and personal. When we turned the corner and I saw those stripes, my inner-child came out. I froze in place, started hitting Cole's arm profusely, squealed way too loudly, and probably pushed several children out of the way as I ran up to the fence. It amazed me how gold the tiger's eyes were; he was very cautious, carefully eyeing all of his onlookers, and so FLUFFY! Everything in me wanted to pet him. His feet were about seven times bigger than Chloe's; can you imagine getting scratched by those?! It made me second-guess my desire to cuddle. Sadly, there was not a tiger cub petting zoo, but mark my words, one day I will hold a baby tiger. The rest of the cat kingdom was equally as exciting... Although the lion wouldn't come down off of Pride Rock for me to get a picture (sad face).
As we wandered through the Animal's of Oklahoma Section, I laughed to myself when I heard a passerby say, "This is dumb, I can see these animals in my own backyard." That may be true about the raccoon, owl or coyote, but I would have liked to see his face if a Cougar strolled through his yard....rawr.
Besides a tiger, the only other animal I HAD to see was the Red Panda. Let me tell you folks, it did not disappoint. When we first walked by, there was nothing there.... I was pretty bummed out to tell you the truth... But just as I started to give up hope, not just one but TWO Red Pandas came out of their doggy door and paraded around. They are possibly one of the cutest mammals on the face of the planet. They patrolled their way around the property and headed straight back in the doggy door (this happened on repeat several times). Supposedly, they are very shy and timid animals; I fully believe this thanks to one of the pre-teen kids that clapped loudly causing the Red Panda to jump about three feet in the air and run straight for the doggy door... Poor thing! The kid then stated, "Last time I was here he came up to the fence and I got to pet him!" Mmmmhm, I see you trying to impress the ladies.
Side note: If anyone is looking for a belated Birthday present for me, I'd really like one of these fluffies. Chloe would play well with it, right?
After leaving the Red Panda, we strolled by the tiny hippo, the ant eaters (these things are incredibly ugly), the flamingos (they look just like the fake ones in my neighbor's yard), the porcupine, through the aquarium (its amazing how tiny a sea turtle is at two-years-old...and how HUGE it is at 80!), and by the meerkats. Did you know they bark? Yes, you read that right, meerkats bark like a dog. Timon didn't do that! What the heck!
It was a great day, and I can't wait to do it again.... Maybe there will even be tiger cubs next time! Although the free Monday admission is over, there are many other free or discounted days coming up. Check out the OKC Zoo Website to pick which one will work best for you.. I know I will, its got the Amanda Bradley stamp of approval.