Friday, July 29, 2011

Animal Time

We spent our last afternoon in Bandon at the West Coast Game Park Safari. We'd been planning on going all week and finally got around to it on our last day. We almost skipped doing it, but I am so glad that we made it! It was probably one of my favorite parts about Bandon!

It's the largest petting zoo in America. It was awesome.

I was most excited about the fact that their featured animals were African Spotted Leopards and Bengal Tiger cubs, which meant that we were going to get to pet African Spotted Leopards and Bengal Tiger cubs!

When we first walked in we were a little bit distracted by the monkey that was clearly into entertaining everyone. He, or she, was hilarious. Even Preston was into it, which is almost unheard of because Preston typically hates monkeys.

When we were finally able to move on from the monkey at the front we realized that one of the tiger cubs was out and walking around on the ledge of the petting area! Cue my excitement! I really might have been the most excited one there, that's how excited I was. Preston on the other hand was not all that excited. I tried to get him to pet the tiger and he was not having it. He wouldn't even put his hand on the tiger so we could take a picture. So instead I look like I'm about to explode with excitement and he looks bored out of his mind.

When they put the tiger away we headed off to check out the rest of the petting zoo. And you are never going to guess what they had...DEER! DEER PEOPLE! Baby deer even! And you could feed and pet them. This place just kept getting better and better! Preston even liked the deer this time. As did Mason. And we all already know how I feel about deer!

But they had more than just deer. There were baby goats that you could pet as well as other animals. And then there were animals in cages that you couldn't pet but could instead just watch because they are just awesome. They had bears. And bear cats. And buffalo. And reindeer. And lions. And tigers obviously. And leopards. And snow leopards. And so much more that I can't even remember because I am still so freaking excited about the deer. I may or may not have been determined to get to pet one of the babies and followed the deer around a little bit trying to convince one of the babies to get close enough for me to touch it. But that only might have happened.

Then they announced over the speaker that they were bringing one of the African Spotted Leopards out so we all headed over there to take a look and pet a leopard! A leopard! The little guy was not the friendliest so we weren't allowed to go in and play with him, but you could pet him while he drank his bottle or cruised along the ledge. And then we got to watch him play with one of the people who works there. We got to take pictures with him too and he was beautiful.

After they put the leopard away we were off to explore some more and follow feed the deer. I do not know why I was so obsessed with those dang deer but seriously I was obsessed. Preston was also very curious about all of the animals so I did a lot of explaining. We had talks about what they were and where they lived and how some of them were endangered and what that meant.

Then they announced over the speaker that they were bringing one of the Bengal Tiger cubs out and I grabbed Preston to book it over there. Hello baby Bengal Tiger!

This time since we got there at the beginning we got to go in and PLAY with a tiger cub! Oh yes, it was so fun! We headed in to play and take pictures with the little guy. Jessie came in with us and was given the job of being our photographer, since she was strangely terrified of the tiger. But the rest of us were just excited about playing with a tiger! I even got Preston to be okay with the tiger laying across our laps! That's right a tiger laid across our laps. Can you tell how exciting I thought this whole thing was!?

We left the playing area so that other people could play with the tiger, who I am now just naming Tiger. But we stayed close because ummm hello it was a tiger and really I could see all of the other animals anywhere else. Well except the deer but they were avoiding me by this point, those jerks.

We got lucky because Travis hadn't gone it yet so he got to go in and me and Preston went in with him so I could take pictures. What? Someone had to take pictures, it had nothing to do with me wanting to play with Tiger again. Because he was the last one to go in Travis got to stay in with Tiger longer than anyone else. Plus he got to really play with him. Then we got to really play with him. It was like he was a giant house cat. Preston even got really into playing with her. He desperately wanted to play with her with one of her toys but I was a little bit nervous about it, so the guy in charge of her gave him a bigger rope toy to play with. I was so focused on getting a good picture that I was watching Preston play with her but I wasn't fully processing what I was seeing. Then I went to look at the picture to see what I got and I really grasped what I was looking at. Tiger wanted to play but the way it looked and the fact that it wasn't a cat playing with him it was a TIGER made what was happening look downright scary! When I noticed it and stepped forward to grab Preston the zookeeper (for lack of a better word) told me it was okay and that she was just playing with him and he would make sure nothing happened. Thank goodness! I can't believe I was so focused on taking a picture that I wasn't fully registering what I was taking a picture of. Preston did manage to get Tiger interested in playing with him and he was so excited about it. And totally got over the fact that he didn't like Tiger. While we were in there my Dad even got a chance to come in and check Tiger out. I can't even explain how incredible the experience was.

We stayed all the way until close. And honestly I could have stayed longer. This place was just so awesome!

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