Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oregon Zoo In Summer (Part 2)

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Summertime at the Oregon Zoo means outdoor concerts... (oh who am I kidding? That goes on year-round)...

You're just not thinking fourth dimensionally! The track will exist in 1985!

...and then there's Zoo Camp, the day camp for kids. Signs of Zoo Camp include groups of kids wearing matching T-shirts, led by a perky counselor whose paycheck depends on whether or not Aidan, Jayden, Rowan D. and Rowan Q. are still alive at the end of the day (and not, say, a snack for the lions.)

Oh, and actual signs....

Do random zoogoers keep interrupting Zoo Camp? Is there anything we can do?

Art project to the rescue!

The Zoo often has special activities during different seasons. This summer they had a lion-feeding demonstration in the mornings. First, a zookeeper spread a bunch of what looked like Spam in different places around this little room. Then she went out a door, and opened another door that led to the lion's outer exhibit. In ran the lions!

I only got around to going to this demo once, but I loved it. However, on this day, I noticed that one of the lady lions was not there, so I asked one of the keepers about it. She told me that this lady lion was in heat, and so they had isolated her, as they were trying to prevent a pregnancy.

Yep! We have new lion cubs anyway! Remember back in May when I witnessed the male lion getting frisky with one of the females? Well, kids, when a daddy lion loves a mommy lion... you get more lion cubs four months later! Hasani, Mashavu, and Niara (and another sister, who didn't make it) were born in September. (I don't have any photos of them yet myself, but check those links above if you want to see the cuteness.)

But what of Lion Cubs 1.0, the ones born in 2013? They're doing just fine -- and they're huge! Not quite as big as their mom (the other lady lion, not the one who just gave birth. Confused yet?) 

Cubs 1.0 love playing with their dad....

Sometimes he appears to enjoy playing with them, too. Other times not.

Elsewhere in the zoo, the animals seemed content....

Although the Cheetah Brothers often look as if they'd like nothing more than to gobble me up...

...I love 'em!

I also love spending many summer days at the zoo... 

 ...annnnnd eating ice cream cones. (Shh, don't tell.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oregon Zoo In Summer (Part 1)

Summer has come to an end -- and so has my first full year of photographing animals at the Oregon Zoo!

Summertime, I discovered, is a great time for taking pictures. Nearly all the Zoo's animals are out & active, if you're fortunate enough to be there at the right time. (Turns out the leopards, who sleep most of the day, are cute and spunky first thing in the morning. Who knew?)

well, i've just had my morning coffee, you see...

I spent many hours watching the black bears....

Some animals may act differently in the summer, but most animals at the Zoo don't really look different. Save for the Mountain Goat...

All summer long he rubs against trees and rocks and slowly but surely removes his wooly coat.

And ends up looking really weird.

Summer is also a great time to see gorgeous flowers... yes, at the zoo. The Oregon Zoo has some amazing varieties of flowers on its grounds, and (duh) they change with the seasons, so I see different things each time I visit. Here are a few of my favorite foliage photos....

Another reason summer's great -- the water in the exhibits is clear and vibrant, meaning you can get great photos of giraffe's reflections:

Or giraffe's... non-reflections....


And then there are the hippos. I know of few other animals that seem so extra happy and content in the summertime. I guess it makes sense; hippos naturally come from warmer climates. Still, these are some peaceful-looking hippos indeed.

Oh wait, I think I found an even happier animal--


Be sure to check out: Oregon Zoo In Summer, Part 2 -- Because I haven't even gotten to the lion cubs yet! Plus: Zoo construction, adorable kid drawings, stalking cheetahs, and more!