Monday, August 10, 2009


Saturday was my son's 14th birthday. I can hardly believe that I'm old enough to have a child that old! There is no sense in moaning about it because time will continue on, no matter what I have to say about it.
We had a fun day of celebration that we let the birthday boy plan. We began the day with a trip to the Oakland Zoo. This zoo is not very big at all, so none of us had high expectations. Before we left for the zoo, we went to Whole Foods to the deli counter and picked out what yummy sandwiches we would eat for a picnic lunch at the zoo. As we were paying for our sandwiches, the checker asked us which zoo were were going to, Oakland or San Fran. He said that he thought each had their own good points. According to him, Oakland is more intimate because it is smaller, but they have less programming than San Fran. Then he said, "Well, at least no one has died at Oakland!" Last year three boys were attacked by a tiger because they were taunting it. It was very tragic, two of the boys died, the tiger had to be put down. So sad for so many reasons. I will admit that was one reason that I had chosen the Oakland Zoo over San Fran!
I digress...the Oakland Zoo was really nice. We got there at about 9:30am and had prime shade parking. As we walked into the zoo, we were greeted by the strangest noises. They sounded as though someone were screaming a sort of melodious scream for no reason...unless they were insane! As we followed our ears, we came to the "Howler Monkeys" also known as Gibbons. Oh, my, goodness!! They were loud and so hilarious. It was mesmerizing. I have never heard or seen anything like that in all the zoos I have ever been too. I think we must have stood there laughing at them for 15 minutes. DJ didn't really like them, so I didn't take a picture. What was funny about this, to me anyway, was this sign that the zoo had posted on the sidewalks: "Quiet Please. Our Monkeys are highly sensitive to loud noises. Please use your quiet voices!" What??!! Across the way from these guys were the White Handed Gibbons who were also making noise, but not quite as loud.
My next favorite thing that we saw was a big exhibit of fruit bats. Weird, I know. However, I have never seen a bat in the daylight...let alone 19 of them at once all hanging upside down and folded in to their six foot expanse wings! It was so cool. When they moved around, they used the hook like claw that is in their wing. As I watched a few of them moving, I thought they looked just like Captain Hook! Interestingly, there was a banana palm plant in the exhibit. It has big fan like leaves that are colored slightly green with red veins all over them which makes the leaves look rather more red than green. When the bast opened their wings and the sun shone through, the wings looked just like the coloring of the banana palm leaves. So cool! I already said "cool", didn't I?
We finished the zoo around 1pm and headed out to have a picnic. By now the parking lot was packed, people were even circling looking for a parking spot. We found a nice shady spot on the park grounds which surrounded the zoo. Then we came home and took little naps.
For dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and celebrated in grand style. It was a wonderful day.

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