June 26th, 2006

little review

Poem for Monday

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We spent nearly all of Sunday at the Cincinnati Zoo, which has a wide variety of penguins -- Rockhopper, King and Magellanic inside the bird exhibit Little Blue outside and African in the bird show, so it was our largest single-day total of penguins. At 10 a.m. they had a feeding and Q&A with a zookeeper, so we had to get up earlier than I would have liked, but we had the place practically to ourselves and unlike other zoos and aquariums we've been at, these penguins are fed live fish for which they must dive in the water, so it was entertaining getting to watch them hunt! Cincinnati's zoo is enormous, and there are botanic gardens as well, so we were there for a long time -- we went before lunch to a bird show that was part comedy routine as the parrots showed off that they had been trained to steal water bottles, talk, pull on ropes, etc., and part display of how the hawks and eagles (all injured and unable to survive in the wild) have been trained to fly within the arena without trying to escape. There was an African penguin trained to run across the stage and dive into the water, and an alligator trained to chase one of the keepers that had a rubber baby alligator with which he teased one of the birds, so we all enjyed this a lot.

This zoo also has manatees, koalas, kangaroos and some of the more exotic animals that we don't have at the National Zoo, plus a lorikeet landing, a petting zoo with little goats and sheep, several excellent Great Ape enclosures, a reptile house, a superb houseful of Great Cats including many varieties of the smaller ones we don't have in DC, an Amazon exhibit, a nocturnal exhibit, several varieties of bats and an awesome insect display. It was very nice early in the day since we got there at about 9:15 in the morning, though by the time we left at 3:30 it was both hot and more crowded. We drove to Louisville and cooked spaghetti in our hotel room.

In the evening we had intended to go to a free outdoor performance of As You Like It in a Louisville park, but younger son -- who had already had a long day, six hours walking around a zoo -- broke his penguin squishy and was beside himself after dinner so we ended up deciding just to go swimming at the hotel's pool. This Quality Inn is by far the grungiest hotel we've stayed in (has one of those showers that wavers between "DAMN that's cold!" and "SHIT that's hot!") but ironically it has the best pool, heated and large and empty save ourselves for nearly the entire time we were there. We read nearly to the end of Over Sea, Under Stone and did some necessary laundry.

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I actually had so many penguin pictures that I posted more to penguinpics than I did here! Monday we're going to Churchill Downs and the Louisville Zoo, then Mammoth Cave National Park, so another nature and animal-ful day! I owe about 100 comments; it's hopeless!