July 25th, 2010

photos

Poem for Sunday and Breakfast with the Penguins

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We got up early Saturday on an insanely hot July day -- the county sent out an emergency heat advisory in the morning, and Baltimore reached 100 degrees in the afternoon with a heat index of 110 -- to go to Breakfast with the Penguins at the Maryland Zoo, which we've done each year for the past five years. It's always fun to see the penguins, though the ambassador penguin whom we got to pet last year was extremely cranky, having been yanked out of the pool and dragged in a cat carrier to perform; she bit the hand of the volunteer taking care of her, so petting was out of the question and even photos were dicey. The penguins on Rock Island weren't happy about the heat either and ate few of the fish we threw to them, though the cormorants in the exhibit were more than happy to dive after the food. We ate very well, though, listening to the penguins squawk and honk at each other and watching them take turns diving into the water to cool off.


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Of course, since we were at the zoo, we visited nearly all the other residents, starting with the African animals in the same area as the African penguins: elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, warthogs, cheetahs, gazelles, zebras, birds, and more. Then we went to the Arctic exhibit, which unfortunately is not kept at Arctic temperatures, though there is an air conditioned explorer vehicle overlooking the polar bears; there are also snowy owls and arctic foxes, plus the Baltimore Ravens mascots live in this area of the zoo. We stopped for Italian ice before we went to the Maryland wilderness exhibit, which thankfully has caves, an underwater otter tunnel, and a shaded barnyard area as well as local birds, snakes, frogs, and foxes. We saw local wildlife all around the zoo as well -- frogs in the marshy area near the penguin enclosure sang to us as we ate, there was a snake near the giraffes, and a chipmunk had taken up residence in the warthog enclosure.

It was so hot that we gave up on the idea of having lunch in the picnic area at the zoo and came home for lunch in the middle of the afternoon. Adam worked on his Life in a Day movie -- I got to film him a couple of times and appear in a couple of scenes -- and Daniel needed to get in some quality Shin Megami Tensei time since he'll be working most of Sunday on his summer research project. We watched the Doctor Who season finale on BBC America, then were planning to watch a nature documentary but our PBS station had the listing wrong, so instead we watched a documentary about the history of Hershey, Pennsylvania -- how the chocolate factory built the town and how the town built the amusement park -- which was actually quite interesting considering how many times we've visited!