Here is Jazi and her family. Isn't she just about the cutest thing you've ever seen? I always thought rhinos were very aggressive, but I was wrong. White rhinos are supposedly very docile animals.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
J and N are on Spring Break this week and I wanted to do something fun with all the kids. We decided to head south and visit Lion Country Safari. This was one of the best zoos we've ever visited. Located 10 miles west of the Florida turnpike in Loxahatchee, Florida, LCS is a free roaming zoo that is home to over 800 animals. Our visit began when we pulled up to the ticket booth and presented our discount coupon that I'd printed off the website. The price is amazingly low, just $25 for ages 10 -adult and $18 for ages 3-9. Our coupon was good for $5 off each person in the vehicle. The booth attendant handed us a pamphlet with photos and descriptions of the animals we'd be seeing, as well as a CD to listen to an audio tour as we drove through the animal preserve. The kids were very excited as we began slowly driving along the road that wound through the animal preserve. I did allow them out of car seats and seat belts since we were traveling on average about 5 miles per hour and there were only a few other early morning visitors. A bounced back and forth from window to window as we saw several different species of antelope, lamas, ostrich, and wildabeast. The animals were all truly free roaming, crossing the road in front of the car, and in some cases walking right up and looking in at us. The cd was very informative as we made our way through the preserve and would cue us when to pause if we hadn't finished viewing the animals in a particular area yet. Two sections in and we came to the main attraction at LCS, the lions. The lions were housed in a fenced area that we drove through an electric gate to access. There were two separate fenced areas. A large play yard complete with shade shelters and trees and a fenced barn area where the lions are housed at night. There were no lions in the play yard when we entered and came to yet another electric gate. We were the first car in line and up ahead we could see a LCS truck at the gate to the barn area. We got to see the lions being let out into the play yard after feeding time. First came eight gorgeous lady lions (A dubbed them lady lions). They were somewhat uncooperative and took their sweet time entering the play yard. The kids cracked up at their antics as the keeper used the truck to herd them across the road. Then came three majestic gentleman lions. They cooperated better than the ladies. Once the lions were in the play yard the gate opened and we were able to pull up and stop next to the yard. The rule was to pull to the right if you wanted to stop and observe the animals so other cars could go around on the left. We sat for about thirty minutes enjoying the lions. After the lions we encountered the zebras and rhinos. This was one of the best parts of the preserve. I should say that one of the most impressive parts about LCS was the amount of animals. There weren't just one or two of each species, but entire herds. The only animal that were only three of was the elephants. But back to the zebras and rhinos. There were about 75 zebras and a family of four rhinos sharing an area. Somehow we ended up without any pictures of the zebras, but you can check out Jazi, a four month old baby white rhino in the above picture. The chimpanzees and giraffes rounded out the preserve. After completing the safari, we parked the car and went to enjoy the walk through portion of LCS. This area contained a few kiddie rides, lorikeet, sting ray, and giraffe feeding, a petting zoo, and a splash park. Except for the animal feeding, everything was included in the admission price. We skipped the lorikeets and the sting rays since we can feed lorikeets at our local zoo and we've fed sting rays many times at Sea World. But A and N loved feeding the giraffes. After feeding giraffes, we headed over to the kiddie rides, which included a carousel, flying elephant ride, and a Ferris wheel. There was also an 18 hole mini golf course that J and N enjoyed while A rode the rides. The rides were really best suited for smaller kids. There was also a pontoon boat tour of a small lake area that took you for an up close look at some small monkeys. LCS also has a cafeteria style restaurant as well as a snack bar and ice cream stand. We ate in the cafeteria which had hot and cold sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, and snacks. The prices were reasonable and the food was good quality. You also have the option to bring a picnic lunch and picnic in the picnic area. After lunch we hit the splash park, which all the kids enjoyed. At the end of our visit we elected to drive through the safari preserve one more time. Most of the animals were relaxing in the shade, but the zebras were really kicking up their heels. At one point the car was surrounded by bucking, running zebras much to the laughing enjoyment of the kids. Over all, LCS was a great value for the money, educational, and enjoyable for all ages. we'll definitely visit again sometime. In fact, if it weren't so far away, I'd consider investing in an annual pass. I will post some pictures of our visit in a separate post since I can't seem to get the pictures where I want them in this post. for more information on this fabulous free roaming zoo, check out the website at http://www.lioncountrysafari.com/.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Today A and I have reached a milestone. For the first time ever I am dropping her off for a Mom's Morning Out class. She will be starting a two morning a week preschool program in the fall and I thought this would be a good introduction to the concept of mommy dropping her off and leaving. We'll see how she does. As for me, well, I'm getting teary just thinking about it. I've been a stay at home mom for eight years since N was born. Prior to that I worked part time in the daycare field and J came to work with me. Reaching this milestone with A has made me realize that my last baby is growing up. In all too short a time she will be off to school and I won't have any little ones at home anymore. What will I do? I don't have a burning desire for a career. My kids are my career. I suspect I'll end up volunteering at school even more than I do now. I'll continue to manage the house, run errands, clean, do laundry, and all those other things that J, N, and A think just magically happen. Only difference is I'll be doing them on my own, without a tiny helper in tow.