Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lion Country Safari, Florida: Tapirs, rain, and golden light

After having had no luck with the beach and high-rises, we decided to look at animals. It would be a drive-through and we wouldn't be bothered by heat. As it turns out, it stormed like crazy during the hour or so that it took to get there. The rain was coming down so hard and fast that we sat it out in a parking-lot-cum-swamp. The skies were still black when we got there, but the rain was letting up for the most part.

The giraffe on the concessions cart near the front gate was cool. It reminded us of the giraffe eyeglass holder in our online gift shop.

The real animals were nice, too. It turned into a pleasant afternoon watching animals at close range. There were some dark long-legged birds and black buffalo with horns flattened backwards that caught my attention. Maybe someday I'll put their pix in a web album, although if I'd had a really good one, I would have posted it. The windows were a big problem.

We had started late and were driving slowly, taking a lot of photos, most of which were pretty lousy. We weren't allowed to roll down the windows, and they were watching me. The zebra-colored vehicles seemed wary of anyone looking that carefully at the animals and pointing a camera. To be honest, it was very tempting. The lion was, I'm not sure why, particularly majestic and compelling. Both Sue and I felt it, and since he was behind chain link, I really, really wanted to get out and take his picture. But the staff were vigilant, so it didn't happen. By evening, the light had turned gold as we drove toward the sun on our way out of the park.

Sun, rain, green, and animals. It had been a relaxing few hours, for sure. We were almost the only ones there, so we didn't have to deal with crowds, either.

In the first exhibit, a huge area with few fences, we found the tapir, here resting under some trees out of the rain along with a few avian friends. I should say a lot of avian friends, although they didn't all turn up for the photo shoot. The white chunk out of the photo is another stork. Click on the photo to see the dark birds he's cuddling up with.

Having eggs for dinner at iHop was also a sane choice. The food wasn't overbearing, and if anything, the air conditioning was too cold.

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