Family Science Club

Pointing to the Author of Science

 

Three she-lions in the shade, 2004

Image: Several lions taking a break from the heat on a sunny Canadian afternoon. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Visiting the African Lion Safari in 2004

Wherever we travel, we try to visit the local zoo or aquarium. While we were staying in Mississauga, Ontario, we took a trip to African Lion Safari in Hamilton. It had several types of shows and tours to choose from.

We decided to take a bus on the driving tour. Our van was a little too susceptible to monkey mischief. The bus wound its way through open country. We indeed saw lions along with other animals of the African savannas. We saw a giraffe shaking down drivers for food...

There were also black bears, llamas, kangaroos and zebras to see. They are in a handful of enclosures, because some of these animals do not get along well.

A zebra-painted pickup nudges a white rhinoceros, 2004

Image: Moving a rhinoceros requires a friendly nudge with a pickup truck. Taken by Kevin Weaver

After this we went to see the elephants swim. The keepers led them out to a pond in a line. Each elephant held the tail of the elephant in front of it. It was kind of cute.

Four elephants in a pond, with a keeper and collie watching, 2004

Image: We were surprised to see that border collies were being used to help manage the elephants. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

We also noticed that the security people were constantly scanning the crowd. People can do some pretty foolish things at times.

Later on, there was an elephant show. Elephants are used for heavy labor in many Asian countries. They also showed many ways to mount an elephant. In every case the elephants assisted with a knee...or trunk, up.

Elephant in harness pulling log, 2004

Image: Showing how an elephant hauls heavy logs, as they still do in Asia. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

The bird show was also interesting. What I remember the most was the bald eagle. It was interesting to see how big they are. The keepers also had a hawk and falcon demonstrate their hunting methods.

Bald eagle looking cool, 2004

Image: Eagles cannot help looking cool. The keepers let us get within about six feet to take pictures, and it did not phase the bird at all. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Experiences like this give us a sense of endearment towards the animals we encounter. That is one reason why zoos are so important to conservation efforts. Especially those where potential conservationists can interact with them directly.

We then we took a miniature-train ride through the woodland and wetland exhibits. We were able to see several native animals. They left the habitat as it was. They also had a few deer species, such as fallow deer and caribou.

A miniature train trestle with a warning, 2004

Image: Keep your hands and feet in the car! There were only centimeters of clear space to each side on that bridge. (Sorry, have to use metric in Canada.) Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Our final adventure was a boat ride that took us out to some islands. These islands featured a few types of monkeys and birds, such as the colobus monkey and marabou stork.

One ugly bird, 2004

Image: Not all birds are pretty. We saw one of these marabou stork in Kenya, too, in 2015. Taken by Kevin Weaver.