Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Henry Villas Zoo

When my sisters Melissa and Ashley were visiting a few weeks ago (when Lincoln was born [1]), we tried to go visit the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Bolz Conservatory.[2] The website said the grounds were open until 8 PM, so we went around 4:30 PM. When we got there, it looked like it was closed. Unbeknownst to us they had closed early because of a severe storm advisory. But not all of the gates were closed, so we found a way in. We'd only been wandering around the gardens for a few minutes when it began to rain. So we slowly began to make our way back to the car. Then it began to pour. We were all soaked, including Lilli (but she didn't mind because I caught a toad and let her hold it [3]). I thought I could drive around Lake Monona and reach the hospital, but I got lost. We didn't get there until dinner time, so we stopped and bought some pizza from Pizza Hut. Needless to say, the visit to the botanical gardens was a bust: we didn't have time to see very many of the plants or take any pictures. So the next day we went to Madison's Henry Villas Zoo.

If you look closely you'll notice that Ashley's glasses don't have any lenses. That's because we're trying to correct her foresight, which isn't real vision. The six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall invisible rabbit that she's dancing with is named…well, I've given you enough clues. You should be able to guess. But enough about Ashley, what about the animals?





Alpaca and camels.


Nobody here but us chickens…

Black Swan and flamingoes.

Tree frogs.

Honey bees.

Snapping turtle.


At this point the battery of my camera died, so you'll have to imagine the rest: badgers, prairie dogs, bison, otters, capybaras, seals, and penguins. In the aviary Ashley became fixated on some macaws—almost to the point of getting in trouble with the keeper (who came to inform us that the aviary was closing). All in all it was a lot of fun and a nice excuse to get out of the house.

That night I convinced Ashley and Melissa to try some different cheeses (it's Wisconsin, after all). We had a triple-cream Brie, chèvre, and a blue cheese, with crackers and black grapes. They both thought the Brie was pretty good. Melissa liked the chèvre, but Ashley thought it tasted goaty. Neither of them were fond of the blue cheese. I think Ashley compared it to eating moldy gym socks (which makes me wonder how she knows what moldy gym socks taste like).


[1] See my post Unexpected Delivery II.

[2] Learn more at http://www.olbrich.org/.

[3] Ashley really wanted to catch a toad, but for some reason she had a hard time finding one—even though they were everywhere. When Melissa, Lilli, and I found our way out of the garden, Ashley was missing—somehow she'd gotten lost. When she finally reappeared she claimed to have caught a toad. Given her previous inability to even see them when I tried to point them out, I maintain a healthy skepticism.

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