Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Autumn at the Indianapolis Zoo: I am in Love with a Sea Slug

In every year and every season, we love our closest zoo. I've taken the kids to the Indianapolis Zoo in the winter, for Christmas lights and infinite hot chocolate:

I've taken them in the spring, to watch butterflies hatch--

--and in the summer, to pet sharks:

At every animal's habitat, it seems, I can find the children superimposed at every age, over every season.

Add to that recollection, now, the children at ages thirteen and fifteen, over the course of one beautiful, unseasonably warm late October day:

Will at fifteen, loving on the snakes
Syd at nine, also loving on the snakes
admiring the sea lions from above in 2019
admiring the sea lions from below in 2008

the beautiful fish habitats in 2019

the beautiful fish habitats in 2009
This is (oops) I believe the same species of shark that we dissected in 2016...

Y'all know how much I love my chondrichthyans!

This girl, in particular, remains enchanted by chondrichthyans, too:

She and I share shark memes back and forth, and I'm lucky to be her parent.

One of the most enchanting things about October at the Indianapolis Zoo is the presence of pumpkins enriching the animal habitats. Some are of the fake Jack-o-lantern variety--

But others have treats inside:

And for some animals, the pumpkin itself IS the treat!

Speaking of treats... here's my life-partner, co-parent, beloved, and the pickiest eater in the family, who saw the nut butter sandwiches that I was in the process of packing that morning, got sulky, and was encouraged to pack his own damn lunch, then:

Why, yes, he IS eating lunch meat directly from the container it came in.

Here are the dolphins, being enchanting:

And here's a chance to snag yet more Halloween candy!

Here's Will at fifteen, admiring a lion.
Here are Will at eight and Syd at six, also admiring a lion

Here's a baby orangutan:

 Here's a sleepy meerkat:

 Here's Will, feeding the birds with nectar given to her by another guest:

And here's when I made her share the nectar with Syd:

Arrow, may she rest in peace, spent a long summer one year attacking Syd every time her back was turned, and ever since then Syd does NOT feel a kinship with fowl:

This is called exposure therapy/"Mom wants a nice picture so you stand there, Young Lady, and let that bird eat out of your hand!"

Here are the trained dogs:

Here's the wild tiger!

Here's the red panda that for over a decade we figured was probably stuffed, since I swear on my life we never once saw it move. But on this October afternoon, we stood and watched it climb around for nearly three minutes before it fell back asleep!

One last family portrait--

--and then it was off to browse the gift shop, where indeed, I did meet my own true love:

It's a sea slug, which I did not buy. Our love was true but brief:

I mean, really. Who needs a sea slug when they've already got their own life partner, co-parent, and picky eater? I'm sure that sea slugs are fussy about peanut butter, too.

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