Sunday, September 15, 2013

More of the wonderful Fresno Chaffee Zoo

I promised more from our trip to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, so here you go. As I mentioned in the previous post, the grounds of the zoo are beautiful. From the tall trees to the log fences ... you feel like you are smack in the middle of nature ... Which by the way is how I think all zoos should make you feel.

Even though our main reason for visiting was to see Mek and Paca, we really enjoyed meeting some of the other animals too. Next to the tigers, I think the orangutans were Dylan's favorite.

There is a little hut like area between the tigers and orangutans that has some great information about the Species Survival Plan and the animals the Fresno Chaffee Zoo is helping to save.

We spent almost an hour here, reading all the signs and learning everything we could. This was actually my favorite part - I loved seeing how another zoo uses charts to educate the public.

Along with a sign that described a day in the life of an orangutan, there was this one that teaches about different facial expressions and what they mean in adult and infant orangutans. The wooden cards lift up to reveal the word associated with the expression. Happy, angry, etc.  I thought this was a wonderful way to educate people of all ages about the orangutan.

Since it was 106 degrees, I thought we should head over to Stingray Bay and get our hands in some cool water. Not to mention our bodies in the shade!

For under $10 Dylan and I both got to feed the stingrays and learn a little about these beautiful sea creatures.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, some sort of headless/tailless fish and shrimp was on the lunch menu for the stingrays.

The heat was starting to get to us and we were both thankful that we had arrived when the zoo first opened. In fact, we were the first ones through the gate. Just a few more animals to see.

Look, kangaroos! Wait, something isn't right with this kangaroo - I see too many feet.

Oh, never mind ... that's just a joey sticking his legs out of momma's pouch!

We had an amazing time at the Fresno Chaffe Zoo and are excited to go back for the opening of the new African Adventures exhibit in 2014. We even gave some change to help out ... 'cuz that's just what Dylan does.

The mission of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo is to inspire wonder of our natural world, provide an engaging learning environment, and create a passion for conservation.

We were inspired, we were engaged in learning, and our passion for conservation grew bigger.

If you are ever in the Fresno area I encourage you to visit the Fresno Zoo. If you thought you would never go to Fresno, now you have a reason to go. You can follow the Fresno Zoo on twitter, Instagram and of course like them on Facebook!

Oh, and one more thing ... the urban wildlife at the zoo was pretty cute too!

Even the squirrels were trying to beat the heat.

Be sure to view our Flickr album for more pictures from our visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Coming up next on our Zoo Road Trip 2013 recap - The Sacramento Zoo

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo with Mek & Paca

Over the summer Dylan and I set out on an adventure - a Zoo Road Trip to be exact - and our first stop was the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. This is actually what started the whole idea of taking a road trip because we just had to see Mek after learning that she had left the San Diego Zoo. Mek is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) and was transferred up to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo so she could be reunited with Paca in hopes of breeding and producing some more adorable tiger cubs.

We spent months planning and even had several communications with the Fresno Zoo through email and social media. We were on a mission to see Mek and nothing was going to stand in our way, not even the major heat wave that hit California the day we left. Yes, major heat wave, as in 106 degrees when we arrived in Fresno on July 1st.

Not knowing exactly what to expect, we were anxious to see this new zoo. Compared to the San Diego Zoo (100 acres), the Fresno Zoo was small (18 acres), but something we wanted to experience. Nestled away in a park, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a place we plan on going back to again. The landscaping was beautiful and the staff was wonderful. Everyone we met was so friendly and went out of their way to help us see Mek. Some couldn't believe that we drove all the way from Orange County just to see a tiger. Obviously they don't know Dylan and his love for tigers.  

We entered the zoo and headed right for the tiger exhibit. The anticipation and excitement was almost too much to contain. We were finally going to see Mek ...

... but wait, the tiger in the exhibit wasn't Mek, it was Paca. Where was Mek? We had come all this way to see her. After hearing our story, a friendly maintenance worker radioed one of the keepers and she was there within minutes.

Her name was Katrina. She told us that Mek was in the bedrooms because they thought that she might be pregnant and had to monitor her. Our smiles quickly turned to frowns. That is until Katrina asked for my cell phone number. About 10 minutes later my phone rang and Katrina quickly became our new best friend. She had arranged to take us behind the exhibit and see Mek in the tiger bedrooms.

I wasn't allowed to take pictures where Mek was, but the important thing is that we saw her. We were just a few feet from her and she was so beautiful. Just like we remembered her to be. While Katina fed Mek meatballs and told us how she was doing, Dylan and I got to sit there and just take in her beauty - the beauty that is Mek the tigress.

It was such an amazing experience. I have never been so close to a tiger. I just held my breath and felt tears welling up in my eyes. Her paws, her chuff, her eyes, everything about her is majestic. I like to think that Mek remembered us from her home in San Diego.

After seeing Mek, we thanked Katrina and went to explore more of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Of course we spent time visiting with the handsome Paca too.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this zoo was the hands on tools and interactive areas where guests could learn more about the animals. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo may be small compared to some other zoos, but one thing is for sure - they care about conservation, education and creating awareness.

Thank you for letting us be a part of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Family for the day. Together, we can help save species with a hope and a dream.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our Fresno Chaffee Zoo visit! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

This 5 pound kitten stole my heart

There is no question that kittens are cute. Some may even say adorable - and our Tiga may be one of the cutest kittens I've seen in a long time. Well, I may be a little bias.
No, it's true. Tiga is adorable.

However, Tiga is Dylan's cat and we each have very different roles when it comes to raising her. Dylan is the playful have fun with me parent and I am the one who sets the rules and says no all the time. Needless to say, I am not the first one Tiga will run to when she wants something. Well, at least until last week I wasn't.

This picture was taken last Saturday morning right before we left to have Tiga spayed. I don't think either one of us knew what to expect, nor did we know how our relationship would quickly change.

Suddenly I was a mother of two and my baby was having surgery. I quickly forgot about the shoelaces she chewed on while teething and the mess she made while playing in her water bowl instead of drinking. My motherly instincts kicked in and nothing else mattered except for her. Taking care of Tiga became priority number one for me. Everything else could wait.

Dylan was great too. He cuddled with her and made sure she felt safe. Everything seemed to be going well and then suddenly it wasn't. Something wasn't right. Tiga's incision was red, swollen, and seeping.

Panic started to set in.

Had I made a mistake by taking her to a low cost clinic to get spayed? Should I have paid more and let my trusted vet do the surgery?

I was giving her the antibiotics and she wasn't being very active. It was time to see Dr. Kelly and make everything better. My baby was sick and I was going to do whatever I could to make her feel better.

This little six month old, five pound kitten had me wrapped around her little paws. She stole my heart and I wasn't getting it back.

Tiga can't eat very well with the cone and she can't see her water dish, so I feed her. She needs antibiotics twice a day and those need to be hidden inside treats so she will eat them. I came home every day this week on my lunch break to check on her.

I took care of her and she knows it.

We created our own bond - different than the sibling bond she has with Dylan - the bond of a mother and child. Tiga now follows me around the house and patiently waits outside the bedroom door for me.

She may have a funny looking collar for a few more days, but her infection is gone and she's still adorable!