austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Sittin' in the car getin' sleep sleep sleepy

Near to Cedar Point, in Port Clinton, is the African Safari Wildlife Park. This park has, rather like the glory days of Great Adventure's Safari, a drive-through stretch in which you simply let your car putter along while deer and elk and camels and zebras come up to look for the cups of kibble or carrots which you buy at the entrance. Even more remarkably, it's an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoo, indicating the animals are kept in pretty tightly governed good shape (this despite being fed by any passers-through!) and are part of conservation and breeding programs to keep the species in as good shape as possible. bunny_hugger has some past experiences there, and thought it might bring memories of the Great Adventure drive-through Safari for me, and oh, my it did.

The animals understand cars very well, with the result that my little Scion would get surrounded by a herd of deer who'd then poke in and try to get at the carrots, which bunny_hugger guarded carefully for the later animals, or the kibble if they had to put up with it. Not all of the animals were out --- apparently it was just a bit too cool for the giraffes and zebras, notably --- but that wasn't anything to stop the kudus or the bison from poking their noses in and grabbing what they could. I was worried about some of the horned animals getting stuck in my open window --- I'm not sure what does happen in that event but figured it would not be good for them, me, or my car --- but found a cruising speed that helped keep them from putting too much of their heads in the car without risking running down a llama.

The Rules for driving through the zoo are very clear that if the animal insists on taking your cup of food, give it to them, and I took the injunction seriously, which is how I lost my kibble fairly early on to a buffalo who returned a stream of what was either drool or snot. I will not regard this as something to be shamed by; the animal grabbed the bucket with her teeth, so, I dropped out of the contest. bunny_hugger was the better caretaker of her kibble and carrots and even had some at the end to toss the last few camels.

I have tried mightily to overcome my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and need to have everything in a constant state of being washed, but after this I did take a couple of wet wipes and mop the residuals of giant animal drool-or-snot off the inside of my car. I feel justified in this.

We also went to the walk-through portion of the zoo, which had no animals in it as it's too early in the season for that, but we figured there was this open path in so why not? Thus we had a little walking tour of the ghost of a zoo, with the signs for various animals, but no actual animals except for the goose and duck pond where one escapee was trying to get back in. The staff were aware of it --- they told us what she was, in the parking lot, as we tried to figure out what that weird-looking mutant bird was --- and obviously they knew it wouldn't stray far, or long. We might have tossed it back into the pen except that we're not jaw-droppingly stupid enough to approach an agitated goose.

After all this wandering around, we poked back into the gift shop (where you buy tickets for everything) and discovered the doors we're supposed to use to go into the walk-through zoo, which were of course closed tight. We meant no harm.

Trivia: The French Republican calendar month of Nivose was translated into Italian as Nevoso, into German as Schnemonat, and into Dutch as Sneeuwmaand. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: A History Of Venice, John Julius Norwich.


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