Happy birthday, kitties!
We got a bunch of $1 plush kitties when my daughter was a toddler to keep in the car. If she dropped one, we could hand her another. If it got lost, well, it was only a buck.
A case where the cover surpasses the original.
The Polar Vortex really put a damper on our fun this year.
We made it out this weekend, to make sure we got to see Zoo Blooms. However, the blooms had come up yet.
The Polar Vortex really put a delay on our fun this year.
Better luck next time!
While in downtown Saint Louis, we made stop at the City Museum. I honestly don’t know how to describe it. Most of the museum is made of repurposed materials–parts removed from buildings, or even a few airplane fuselages. Climbing on the exhibits is not only allowed, but encouraged. It’s something accessible to anyone of any age.
it’s definitely on my list of “places I’d go back to.” I discovered too late they had lockers to stash my camera in. Had I known that, I might have tried to climb up to a slide…assuming I’m brave enough!
While in Saint Louis, we had to take my daughter to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. You probably know this better as the Gateway Arch.
Driving from our hotel, we took a wrong turn, and wound up on the east side of the Mississippi River. We decided to take advantage of this mistake, to get a few photos of the Arch from the other side of the river. My wife found just the place, the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park.
This is a bit of a hidden gem. The east bank of the river seems underutilized. While the South Bank of the Ohio River tries to take advantage of its proximity to Cincinnati with a variety of restaurants, hotels, and similar spots, the Illinois side is a blend of highway interchanges and industrial sites. However, next to some vacant land and what looks like a grain silo is a park, with a small amphitheater and a forty foot tall observation deck–perfect for getting pictures of the Arch.
The Arch was completed in 1965, a little over a decade before I got to go up it the first time. I was not much younger than my daughter. As with everyone, anything that existed before I was born had been there forever, at least in my mind. It now strikes me that for my parents, our visit was to see a neat new thing. Now that the Arch is nearing fifty, for the next generation, that sense of permanence is real.
I was surprised to realize that, in 2014, I haven’t been to a zoo. I’ve been to the Newport Aquarium, but the last time I saw non-fish was when we went to the Birmingham Zoo just before New Year’s Day. The Polar Vortex played a large role in that. With Spring and Zoo Blooms upon us, I’m sure we’ll be rectifying that, but it really had been far too long. When we had an opportunity to visit the Saint Louis Zoo, we were excited.
The Saint Louis Zoo is among the oldest zoos in the country, and has many of the original buildings (at once an interesting and depressing point). It’s also notable that, for what many regard as a top zoo, admission is free. If you look hard enough and/or don’t mind walking, the whole day can be of no charge to you.
Some of the enclosures are historic. This isn’t uncommon in many zoos, though they do try to house species which are a better match to the space by modern criteria. There was one indoor area for some animals, such as the giraffe, where the age showed, and was retro in the sense that it wasn’t generally done. In there, I didn’t want to take pictures. I’m sure the animal welfare is considered–the Saint Louis Zoo is AZA accredited (the gold standard, in my opinion), and participates in Species survival Plans–but it seemed some upgrades were needed.
Another place this seemed to come out was in the big cat area. The animals did have plenty of space, but it did not seem to have the modern attempt at habitat like, say, Cat Canyon. The Amur tiger, largest of the felids, had plenty of space, but the area had an artificial bent.
He was able to confer with a next-door jaguar, again, in a seeming unnatural fashion. Neither cat seemed to be bothered by the presence of the other. Personally, I worry when two cats have too many conferences.
I have a soft spot in my heart for black cats.
There were only three small cats on display, mostly due to their position on the purr/roar line. The snow leopard, cheetahs (who weren’t out on this dreary day), and cougars. They were also hanging out in a cave.
…and the takin. Not sure if he’s been promoted to Grand Moff.
In the bird exhibit, a rhinoceros hornbill ate lunch.