Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Just Deserts

Sorry about the pun. I’ll behave myself from now on. Smile with tongue out

One of the most impressive buildings at the zoo is the Desert Dome. It is amazing inside and out. It is not just a desert, though that is the main attraction. The building also houses the Kingdoms of the Night exhibit underneath the desert. The Kingdoms of the Night is the world's largest nocturnal exhibit. It features manmade caves, and the world's largest indoor swamp. The day/night cycles have been reversed so that zoo visitors get to see the animals that would usually be asleep during the day, awake and active in their environments. The only downside is that it is really hard to take pictures. At least with my camera. If I had a better one I might have had more luck. I took very few down there, and what I did take I already posted in my first zoo blog. So tonight's post will focus only on the desert.

If the zoo was a meal, on our family trip, the desert would have been our dessert, since we went there last. Yeah, yeah, another bad joke. That was the last one, I swear. Smile with tongue out

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The Desert Dome it the world’s largest indoor desert. This building has a lot of “world’s largests.” Desert, nocturnal exhibit, swamp, and the building itself is the world's largest glazed geodesic dome. The desert is divided into three sections based on three different deserts of the world. The Namib Desert of southern Africa, the Red Center of Australia and the Sonoran Desert of the southwest United States.

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One of the first things I noticed when we entered was all the little orange birds flying around. They’d let me get really close, so I took a whole bunch of pictures of them. I’ll post some here, but I’m also saving a few for later as I am planning to do a post on just birds.

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After a lengthy internet search, (since I knew you were all just dying to know what kind of bird this is) I have discovered that it is known by two names, the Red Bishop, or Orange Weaver. I think I prefer the name Orange Weaver since it’s such a bright orange.

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I just love the vivid color! They are even brighter in real life than these pictures.

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Before the Lion King was released, I don’t think that hardly anyone even knew what a meerkat was. Now you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know. Who says cartoons aren’t educational? Smile

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I’m not a very big snake fan, but I thought that the horned adder was really cool. He was well hidden inside his little enclosure but after searching awhile I spotted him, and was able to take a pretty good picture.

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Mom was very impressed that I knew that these were peccaries. I forget that not everyone is as big an animal nerd as me. I spent hours with animal books as a kid. These days I don’t have time for that anymore, but doing these blogs has kind of given me the opportunity to do a little research. I like to look up the animals who's pictures I post, and sometimes I’ll find little interesting factoids that I can share here to make my blog more interesting. For example, The peccary is also known as the javelina or skunk pig, and in Old Yeller this is the type of pig that attacks Travis. Don’t you feel enriched by this knowledge? Tomorrow you can go tell all your friends that you know what kind of pigs attacked Travis in Old Yeller.

(Confession time. I didn’t actually have to look that last fact up. I already knew it.) Smile with tongue out

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The Hy-Vee Hummingbird Canyon was a huge disappointment.

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This is the only hummingbird I saw.

My only consolation is that I work for a company that sponsors a hummingbird exhibit. I may have already mentioned this, but hummingbirds are one of my favorite birds.

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Holy smokes! I think this is a rare hornless Jackalope!

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Well, not quite, but since jackalopes are make by putting antlers on a stuffed jackrabbit, it kind of is…

How many jackrabbits can you see?

I counted 6.

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