The best birthday present.

Yesterday was my birthday, but there was no way in the world it could compare to the wonderfulness of the day before. Cole took me to the GW Exotic Animal Park to celebrate my 24 years of life. It was the best birthday present, ever.

Oh, hey there, Mr. Tiger. Got an itch?
I feel like I've been to enough zoos to say that this is the best zoo of all time. Its not just a zoo, its a personal, interactive experience with a plethora of animals (I love opportunities to use that word).

We set out on the two-hour Endangered Animal Adventure Tour which allowed us to interact with camels, wolves, snakes, baby skunks and more. It was jam packed with information about each and every animal there, not to mention I got to play with a baby tiger. Yeah, you read that right.

Chompers is a three-year-old alligator. He resembles Tiny Tim because alligators only grow to the size of their environment.

Cleetus the Camel gave me a kiss. It was pretty slobbery... I think I prefer horse kisses. Sorry, Cleetus.

Cole is a lot braver than me. I was proud of myself for just touching the gigantic Pithon. There was no way I was letting it slither across my shoulders. I mean, have you seen Swiss Family Robinson?! Mad props to you, babe. You're such a manly man.

I'll hold a fluffy albino skunk, though, no question there. Her name was Snowball...fitting.

And of course, wolves don't scare me in the least.....unless you're talking about four-year-old Amanda who was convinced they lived under her bed and came out to hunt little girls at 9 o'clock p.m.

Side note: did you know that wolves can't bark or wag their tails? They only howl. Interesting.

Naturally, the tour guide saved the best for last. The moment you've all been waiting for. The grand finale.

Drum roll, please.

Meet Thor, the baby tiger.

I had to sit on my hands to contain my excitement and keep myself from shoving five-year-olds out of my way. Can you blame me?

Not just baby tigers, but baby liligers, too! Thats a lion, liger cross, mind you. The only ones in North America.

A liger is pretty much my favorite animal. Its like a lion and tiger mix, bred for it's skills in magic (that's a Napoleon Dynamite quote if you didn't catch it). I guess that makes a liliger super extra magical.

The tiny, curious babes were six-weeks-old, weighing in at ten pounds. Their fur felt like stuffed animals that had been drooled on. Lots of fuzz. They crawled in my lap, chewed on my shoes and made the most adorable kitty-cat noises. My cheeks hurt from so much smiling, but I just couldn't help it.

Thor curled up in my lap for about five minutes and just cuddled. He didn't do that to anyone else. It was the best moment of my life thus far. He constantly made a sneezing noise, which the tour guide told me is a tiger's version of a purr. The pitter patter of my heart was on over drive. 

Sorry, Cole, but Thor has stolen my heart. You come in at a close second. 

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