sorry, too hot for penguins

Dear Dr Hiram W Bugnastie,

Bill and I had a great day out at Zoo Atlanta on Saturday. We drove over there early Saturday afternoon, whoo, actually I drove! Go me! It was very busy and I had to drive around for a fair while before I found any parking. That was quite a challenge, particularly in the truck as getting into spaces can be rather tricky.

Ye gads it was hot. Bill made me wear a silly hat so I wouldn’t get a burnt scalp. Most amused he was and insisted on taking pictures of me wearing it for you so you could also appreciate the tasty look I have going.

We arrived at the gorillas enclosure just in time to catch them being fed a diet of various fruits. This was rather annoying as the viewing area was tiny and it was very difficult to see anything. I wish I’d worn my HUGE platforms so I could have had a better view of the silverbacks casually grabbing the fruit from the air as it was being tossed to them. Very entertaining indeed.

In the reptile house Bill was most skeptical and didn’t believe that many of the creatures in the tanks were actually real. We stood for ages trying to gauge whether a mothionless snake was alive or not and mildly argued about it. In the end I won when it suddenly had a rampant burst of energy and started boogying around it’s home looking for some action. Peering into most of the aquariums was like playing eyespy, had to really concentrate on spotting many of the reptilian expert undercover agents. Had enough of being in there after a while, too many squalling children and dim lighting was very headache inducing.

Scarily our nest of Black Widows has more impressive specimens than the one Zoo Atlanta has. Eeps.

Saw a very cool couple of birds in the aviary. I can’t remember what they were but they were making a huge nest up in the trees just above the viewing platform. They would fly down to the twiggy floot and root aruond for suitable sticks. One of the birds seemed a lot fussier than the other. He would scratch around, decide on some twigs, give them a good once over, pick them up in his beak to get a feel for them and then reject or select them. Upon approval he would then take to the sky, soaring over our heads in an arc, his burden looking rather precarious in his beak, and land with a screech on his nest. Where upon he scan his dwelling and carefully entwine his prize into the weave. Splendid job.

Zoo has a very nice bongo too.

Willie B was a gorilla that I guess marks a turning point for the zoo. He was named after a former mayor of Atlanta (same one the airport is named after too) and was a very unhappy gorilla when he was first caged at the zoo. He was kept all by himself in a horrid cage until the zoo sorted itself out and developed better habitat for it’s inmates. When he died in 2000 Willie B was apparently a much more content gorilla and happily surveyed his rainforest plot and watched over a harem of gorilla girlys. Awww. Now his offspring play rampant at the zoo, the institution is much more animal friendly and he has a scary life-size bronze sculpture dedicated to him sat outside the compound.

Actually, the first animal we saw looked rather miserable and made me feel sad. It was a seemingly bored red elephant (like Dorset, Georgia has red dirt) stuck out on his own in a not very exciting looking dustbowl with barely anywhere to go. Made me worry about what the rest of the zoo was going to be like. However the rest of the exhibits seemed to be much more settled and had more habitat looking areas. I hope they are planning to help that poor elephant out though.

We had intended to go to Grant Park and have a burrito for lunch but we spent so much time wandering around the zoo in the heat that we ended up feeling quite faint and had to stop for a Nathan’s Chicken Philly here instead. A most peculiar warm sandwich with chicken chunks and slavered in this very odd sickly cheese concoction. Not tasted anything quite like that before, but refreshed and feeling somewhat less weak and undernourished we were able to continue.

At the moment there is a Lego exhibition being held at the zoo. It was actually one of the deciding factors in our decision to visit, however of course we completely forget about this and were bemused to see people wandering around wearing yellow plastic construction hats. Finally we stumbled upon the Lego compound and all was revealed. They had little areas set up for kids where they could jump on in and build strange Lego things, complete all the challenges and they got Lego goodies. Cool. I want to be ickle again.

On display they had lots of Lego creations, some really rather cool. They were lots that were obviously those silly kits that Lego insist on producing now, but I think lots had been made by the kids as part of the various challenges and were just weirdness made out of the basic blocks available. Saw some groovy looking insects and other strange contraptions from some scary children’s imagination.

Whee, they have pandas too. Two of them. Both looking hot and bothered. One was sacked out and the other was stuffing his face with bamboo shoots. He had a very precise way of eating, he’d stuff his mouth with the leaves until he had a huge bundle coming out the side of his face. Then he’d grab them all together to form a tight wad, and wolf them down.

And, yes, sorry, no penguins. I think they would melt.

I think you would have found the zoo to be a fascinating source of vivid specimens, however I know your particular interest lies with the Alpine 11 Legged Butterfly and I’m afraid that Atlanta does not seem to be either a valued habitat for, or a good authority on those.

Tomorrow we are heading over to Chattanooga for a short break, maybe we will come across a wild relation of that species up in the mountains? Certainly we shall have the butterfly nets at the ready in case we are graced by a wondrous opportunity of snagging a rarity for you.

Kind Regards Sir,

Kay Downes

PS. If on your travels you find yourself in the Southern regions of the United Kingdom would you please be so kind as to pass on my love to my wonderful dadsy and mumsy. I’d be most grateful. Thank you.

6 Responses to sorry, too hot for penguins

  1. Anonymous July 30, 2003 at 11:00 am #

    Atlanta Zoo

    I can’t be at all happy about a zoo that doesn’t have penguins. Emperors are best, did I mention that to you earlier? Like the piccys but want more.

  2. vilehelm July 30, 2003 at 11:49 am #

    I think the bird was a Hammerkop

  3. Anonymous July 30, 2003 at 11:00 am #

    Atlanta Zoo

    I can’t be at all happy about a zoo that doesn’t have penguins. Emperors are best, did I mention that to you earlier? Like the piccys but want more.

  4. vilehelm July 30, 2003 at 11:49 am #

    I think the bird was a Hammerkop

  5. boo_11 August 4, 2003 at 6:58 am #

    Frankly, I think your hat is marvellous. You should wear one more often ;o)

  6. boo_11 August 4, 2003 at 6:58 am #

    Frankly, I think your hat is marvellous. You should wear one more often ;o)

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