I used to attend Mayhem in the Midlands every Memorial Day weekend. Since the demise of that lovely convention, I've missed spending time in Omaha. So I went back this year with a few friends and had a lovely time--especially during my visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Because Dr. Montgomery Blake, grandfather of my series protagonist, is a world-famous zoologist and owner of a small private zoo, I take an interest in zoos. Although Caerphilly's zoo is a lot smaller than Omaha's, I like to think they have a few things in common--like having habitats instead of cages. And since the Caerphilly Zoo exists only in my imagination, I can stock it with any animals I choose.
Let there be meerkats! And bongos. And spider and squirrel monkeys. And--
Wait. I'll show you. Here are a few of the photos I took from my visit.
The monkeys live on a faux banyan tree in the middle of a lagoon. They don't swim, so the lagoon is their cage. But they can travel from the main island to smaller islands via a rope bridge.
Oh, to be as agile as the monkeys!
And their faces are incredibly expressive.
I kept looking for emus. I could have sworn the zoo had emus, but I was having a hard time finding them. I came across the Cape Thick-Knees (although it was sitting so I can't testify to the shape of its knees).
I saw peacocks.
White swans, battling the koi for the food the visitors throw.
Black swans, also battling the koi.
Ducks and geese galore.
Wait--is that an emu over there?
No, it's an ostrich. And that was as close as I got to emus. Ah, well. I have a plan to get some emu photos. More on that later.
Meanwhile I did see camels. Meg's grandfather's zoo has camels.
I think Dr. Blake's zoo needs some cute baby camels.
And warty pigs
A sleeping bobcat
A sleeping cheetah. Well, he was sleeping, and doesn't look happy to have been awakened.
The silverback gorillas
And, of course, the meerkats. You've got to have meerkats in a proper zoo, right?
A lovely day at the zoo, but I keep thinking of animals I didn't get to see. There's always next year. And for that matter, there's always the National Zoo, which is a lot closer. Any suggestions on what animals I should look for on my next zoo visit?