Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Busch Gardens - The Animals, Part 1

The wait is over!

Finally you get to see pictures of animals from Busch Gardens.

Like the Serengeti Railway, this'll be a long ride, with a few stops along the way. And, not everything you see will be animals.

Hop aboard, find your seat, break out the Big Gulp cup, and settle in. Here we go!

The first place we ventured through, other than Gwazi, were the Bird Gardens. The Bird Gardens is a lush oasis of greenery, water, and, of course, birds.

We didn't visit everything. In fact, we didn't visit much, and there is a lot to see there. There are several animals habitats, an aviary walk-thru, several stages (where no shows were playing *sniff*), and the requisite gift shops and eateries.

One of the first habitats you come across are some brightly colored parrots lounging about on a gnarled, old tree. We watched them preen and squawk for several minutes. Magnificent birds. You could see intelligence in their eyes, and I swear they were as amused by the brightly hued biped mammals watching them as we were of them.

Polly Want a Churro?A short distance away is the flamingo habitat. Flamingos are a very recognizable icon of Florida. Hundreds of the elegant birds flocked around, and in, a small lagoon called Flamingo Island.

Flamingo Island at Busch GardensThese birds are not naturally pink. Their plumage gains this color from their diet of small crustaceans, usually brine shrimp. Well fed ones are bright pink, while an unhealthy flamingo might be pale pink to white, which is their natural color. These wading birds also stand on one leg for reasons unknown, though it is speculated it conserves body heat. I say they don't like getting their feet wet and dirty. ~.^

Pink Flamingos at Busch GardensMost of them had both feet firmly on the ground the day I visited. The ones who didn't seemed to be in the water, or sleeping.

Across from Flamingo Island are two butterfly topiaries that I thought looked pretty. So I took a picture of them. The image doesn't do them justice. They were much more brightly colored in person. There were other flower topiaries, but people kept rudely interposing themselves between me and my intended shot. Most of them so they could take their own photos. I'm lucky I got this one, as some obvious foreign tourists blithely walked in front of me just as I took this shot. Fortunately, I could crop them out.

Butterfly Topiary at Busch GardensThe Hospitality House is located in the bird Gardens, too. You can buy a fresh brewed Anheuser-Busch beer here, and get some fresh baked pizza. Expensive pizza, and not very big.

When I was little, you used to be able to get free samples of the beer. Assuming you were of legal age, of course. My first taste of beer was here. My Grandfather made me drink some of his. I thought it was horrible stuff. Yuck!

We used to get some beverages (beer for adults, soda for kids), grab a snack from the snack bar, and relax on the huge wooden patio overlooking Koi ponds and the Flamingos. No longer, though. The wooden patio is gone, the koi ponds are now remote controlled boat paddocks, and the flamingos .. well you can still sort of see them. *sigh*

Hospitality House at Busch GardensIt is still a very beautiful and relaxing location, with plenty of shade and seating. I just pine for the days of yore, I suppose. I also miss the old Brewery Tour you could take before they closed that down. Except the stairs. I don't miss climbing those long, long stairs to get to it.

While wandering through the Bird Gardens, we came across a small water habitat filled with turtles. A keeper was cleaning their habitat, and using a broom to sweep green and black sludge fro the bottom of their mostly emptied pond. The turtles were all bunched up, except for one brave terrapin who was trying to make good an escape.

I think he saw too many Spider-Man movies.

Teenage Mutant Spider TurtleClose by, just before entering the Land of Dragons, is the Living Dragons habitat. All sorts of large reptiles were in this habitat. Even a very big Komodo Dragon. He was very close to the glass of his enclosure, and you really get a sense of the sheer massiveness of the beasts. His head was about the size of a small dog. He could probably eat a small dog in a few bites.

I even got him to say "Cheese!"

Smiling Komodo DragonThe kids even got to ride a Komodo!

Don't Try This at Home with Real Komodos!Okay, so it was a statue of a Komodo, but it was about the size of the one in the habitat. Those suckers are huge! Err, Komodos, not the kids. ^.^;;

I don't want to bore you to death with more pictures today, so we'll pull into the station here. The train leaves again tomorrow around this same time. See you then!

Today's Penny Doubled Daily Cumulative Amount for 149 days is:


1 comment:

beartracks said...

Worth the wait.