Thursday, September 10, 2009

Retroactive Travel Post - Day 5

The funny thing about camping is that when you're in the middle of a national forest, you're hard pressed to find an internet connection, though I wouldn't put it past anybody. After all, the plane we were on had Wi-Fi, as did the bus we rode home on, the Dartmouth Coach. How do they do that?

With this in mind, I'm going to try to post about our trip retroactively, though I've tried this in the past with mixed results. It was a great trip, and I'm sorry I didn't get to blog about it.

So, here goes. By our second day in Omaha (day 5 of the trip) we were finally feeling a little better, but just barely. We kept plastic bags at the ready in the event of any ill feelings, and took Dramamine to combat motion sickness. We packed up the car, checked out of the hotel, and headed for the Henry Doorland Zoo. We'd learned that it was one of the biggest zoos in the world and had many of the biggest this and thats in the world, like the biggest indoor rainforest and the biggest gorilla thingamajiggy. Whatever be the case, it was a nice zoo, though I tend to find them a little depressing with all those animals behind bars. They don't get much space, by necessity, I understand.

They did have a beautiful aquarium, which was massive, though for my money I'd still go with the Monterrey Aquarium, but it was still beautiful. The kids really enjoyed the penguins, and though it was limited, I'm always partial to the jellyfish. The zoo was actually reasonably priced, though they charge extra for the smaller rides within the park, including the sky chair, or whatever it's called. It's basically a chairlift that rides across the park, and worth the price of a round trip. You get a bird's eye view of the zoo, it's a fun ride, and you get a fabulous look at the rhinos and elephants. I've found in the past that when you look at some of the big animals, they aren't always in full view and you sit there hoping that they'll come out from behind that tree. On the sky chair, you are right above them, and get a great look.

As I mentioned, they have the largest indoor rainforest exhibit in the world, from what our kids told us. It was pretty impressive, and what's interesting is the monkeys are not behind any barriers and can roam the entire grounds. Some of the smaller tamarinds were close enough to touch, though I didn't have the guts to do it. Chalk it up to doing SIV research, but wild animals make me wary. The howler monkeys were impressive, and startled us at first. I'd seen howler monkeys in the wild in Costa Rica, and they still startled me with their howls.

Being cat lovers and all, we had to check out the big cat exhibit, where they have a rare white lion. It was beautiful, as were all the animals. They seem to have an inordinate number of big cats, especially tigers. I counted at least a dozen or so, and they seemed in good health, though again, not to be such a spoil sport, but it seems a drag to be living in such a confined space, especially for an animal that roams over such a large territory. Oh well, I won't belabor the point.

On the final leg of our zoo tour, we were getting pretty tired, but the kids wanted to keep going. In fact, they could have stayed there all day, which highlighted a big miscalculation that we'd made on this trip. We wanted to see a lot of things, but it's a big country, and to do that requires a lot of driving. Consequently, we spent a lot of time in the car, too much, perhaps, though it was a great trip. Next time we'll plan on spending time in one place and less time getting there.

Either way, we were nearing the end. Our last stop was to see the gorillas, which again they have a lot of. They are amazing animals, and some of them come right up and love attention. They seemed really playful, even if they could rip your arms our with no problem. It was endearing, and it made me a little sad, but I won't go there. After the gorillas, it was well past 3:00, and we still needed to find a campsite for the night. We bid farewell to Omaha and headed into the wilds of Nebraska, in search of camping. But that's for another time.

Until then, thanks for reading.

No comments: