A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Walking In Your Footsteps

There is a place south of us that Louis has wanted to go to for YEARS. He saw a show about it, or read about it, or something - I don't even remember. All I know is the remnants of the story as he told it, a bear, lion and tiger were seized as cubs from a drug dealer. They had been raised together, and were best friends. They were called the BLT, and had been moved to a refuge called NOAH'S ARK. 

They all three still live together, best friends forever. I couldn't get a good picture of the three of them because it was Africa hot, and all three were seeking shade. Shere Khan was wasn't anywhere to be seen, I think she was in her playhouse. 
Baloo was accommodating in that he chose to nap up next to the fence. 

Leo however, well, I wish I had a picture. We were scanning the enclosure, thinking "Ok were is the damn lion" when suddenly I saw what looked like a sofa up on the porch of their playhouse (yes, they HAVE a playhouse). As my eyes came into focus I realized what I was seeing - literally the BIGGEST cat I have ever seen in my life. All I could see was the back and haunches as it was naptime for the lion as well, but this was a massive animal. 
I grabbed an adorable picture of the three of them off the refuge's website.
This photo does not doe justice to the size of that lion. It's an AMAZING animal.  I still kind of love that they live together and still love each other. I thought perhaps they would live NEAR one another, not still together as adults.

The entire place was amazing. It's free, so I was expecting one enclosure for the BLT and maybe a few small animals to pet. No. This place is massive, like a zoo - but did I mention FREE. People have donated large animals they couldn't care for (and shouldn't have had) and they have accepted animals from drug raids besides the BLT. 
I was really impressed by their enclosures also - there were really roomy for a place run on donations - very impressive.

This is just part of an enclosure - it expands out quite far. There is a huge tiger in there. Not Shere Khan alas but a huge tiger regardless. He has a friend in there to hang out with, and both seemed very content.

This is a gorgeous white tiger relaxing next to some chickens that have been left behind for it to eat. There was a big information sign about how terrible it is to breed white tigers because due to their inbreeding they have tons of health problems and often many deformities - and the "bad" ones are often just killed. 

Ugh - Siegfried and Roy I blame you. 
There were more peacocks roaming the grounds of this place than the sum total of peacocks I have ever seen in my life. It was also a fun time to get to remind Louis that he used to be terrified of them, and taunt him accordingly. I'm an awesome parent, yo.
In addition to the serious number of dangerous carnivores who call the place home, there were lots of other animals, emu and ostrich, goats, cows, miniature horses, and so on, for us to pet and say hello to. 
The heat was miserable but the animals were fun and awesome to see. 
Eventually the heat was too much for these six humans, it was close to 100 and we were all dying of too hot so we decided to head back inside and have some AC and see the indoors animals. Julia declared this statue at the door a "spider dog".
I asked her why it's a spider dog and she said "JUST LOOK AT IT MOM!"

Ok then.
The indoors smelled so bad it barely made the AC worth it. I don't know what smells, these tiny furry creatures or something else. It was like a massive sewer back up, in hell. It was vile and we only lasted a little bit inside then we headed out to the next part of our adventure for the day.

There is a huge picnic area that stays open later than the rest of the park and we made our way over there, laden with picnic basket and cooler packed full of goodies in secret by Daddy!

But before we opened the basked of goodies - the snow cone vendor was accepting one last customer - US. OH god is anything better than a snow cone on a day were the heat is almost 100? NO. Nothing is better.
We thanked her profusely and took our treasures back to the table to feast upon the sugary ice and drop our internal body temperatures. Thank you snow cone lady, we were so very, very hot.

Our picnic was an assortment of crackers, cheese, fruit and meat and everyone dove in like it was a feast. What is it about a picnic that makes simple things like pepperoni feel like a major treat?

It was our end of summer send off, as today we'll be preparing for the big day tomorrow. Back to school, twins go to Middle School, and Julia starts school. I can't believe summer is over but I think we all need to get back to a schedule and a more normal life. 

I'm really glad Louis asked us every weekend forever about going to this place. It was really worth the 90 minute drive. It was a great family day together. 

And now, time to get ready to start school.