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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tigers and More, from Busch Gardens

No, I haven't exhausted my store of photos from Busch Gardens yet. But don't despair. Another post or two should suffice.

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Bengal Tiger

Tigers are the largest members of the cat family. The average weight of male Bengal Tigers is 488 pounds (221.2 kg). The heaviest known tiger was a huge male killed in 1967 that weighed 857 lb (388.7 kg). This specimen is on exhibition in the Mammals Hall of the Smithsonian Institution.

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This one was shut out of the main enclosure for some reason. He had just a small walkway with a closed door on one side and an opening under a waterfall on the other side. Here, you can see him looking at the waterfall.

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The white tiger is a recessive mutant of the Bengal tiger and tends to be somewhat bigger. The white tiger in the photograph above was in its own enclosure. In the background you can see a small glassed viewing area where one or two people at a time could enter to get close-up views of this magnificent animal.

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Doesn't this one look as if the tiger is proudly displaying a framed portrait of his little human?

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The anteater has such an unusual color pattern. In the above photo, doesn't it look as if it has two heads?

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The optical illusion isn't as apparent in this picture.

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The above two images are of an African Crowned Crane.

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Animals at Busch Gardens

Here are pictures of some more of the interesting animals that we had the opportunity to view at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida on January 12.

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Eland Antelopes

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The Grevy's Zebra's stripes don't go all the way around its belly.
 
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The stripes of the Burchell's Zebra, on the other hand, do extend around the belly.

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Marabou Stork

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Ostrich

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Orangutan

The Orangutans weren't part of the Serengeti Railway tour. They were in a separate enclosure, and photos of them had to be taken though not-exactly-clean windows. There was another Orangutan up on a platform, provided for their climbing enjoyment. There were ropes running between the raised platforms, giving the animals opportunity to engage in the climbing and swinging activity that they would enjoy in the wild.


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Orangutan moving from one raised platform to another

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Apparently contemplating his next move

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Busch Gardens...Serengeti Train Ride

It was a hot day when we were at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida on January 12th, so we spent a good part of the day riding on the Serengeti Railway, which took us through a section of the park where we could see many different kinds of African animals in natural habitats.

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Serengeti Train

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According to what I found on the internet, this prickly tree appears to be a Silk Floss Tree. Such a gentle-sounding name for such a formidable-looking tree.

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This isn't a great shot, but I liked the way these Impalas were sort of silhouetted against the sky.

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Two more female Impalas

It is said that, when startled, Impalas can jump distances of more than 33 feet (10 m) and 9 feet (3 m) into the air.

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White Rhinoceros

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Giraffes

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Giraffe peeking through bushes (photo obtained from video)

As usual, Doug was shooting video while I was snapping still shots. I hadn't even seen the giraffe pictured above, but Doug had gotten video of it. When we watched the video later, I thought it was so cute that I took a snapshot off the video to show y'all.
 
The white rhinoceros photo also came from the video. From where I sat on the train, I couldn't get a clear shot of the animal. But Doug caught it clearly on video. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to give credit where credit is due for those two images.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida

We just returned from spending a week in Florida. The temperatures were in the mid-eighties for most of the time we were there, just cooling down the last couple of days. Tonight, here in Indiana, it's supposed to be about four degrees and wind chills much colder. An eighty-degree drop in temperature in just a few days is a bit of a shock to the system.
 
While we were in Florida, we had the opportunity to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa. It's a theme park, complete with big roller coasters; but it's also the home of many exotic animals, which was the main draw for us.

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These are just two of the many alligators we saw.

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Turtle Ballet

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Chimpanzee

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Relaxing Gorilla

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Grazing Gorilla

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Aldabra Tortoise

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A sign near the Aldabra Tortoises, pictured above, said that they can grow to four feet in length and weigh 550 pounds. It's estimated that they can live over 100 years.
 

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Asian Elephants

It's hard to see in the above photo, but one of the elephants was extending its trunk to gather water, from a small waterfall, which it would then transfer to its mouth. Asian elephants are smaller in size than African elephants and have smaller ears. There are other differences, but the ears are a good identifying characteristic.
 
Busch Gardens is a beautiful place. The animal habitats are well designed, with the intent of making life in captivity as natural as possible for the animals. I'll have more pictures to share in future posts.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Big Island, Hawaii

The state of Hawaii is the only U. S. state made up entirely of islands. It consists of hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

My previous posts on our 1987 Hawaiian honeymoon featured the island of Oahu. With this post, we are moving to the island of Hawaii, which is the largest and which is often called "The Big Island" to avoid confusion with the state as a whole.

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Kahuna Falls

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I don't know what these orange flowers are called, but they're beautiful.

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Akaka Falls

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Again, no clue what these pink flowers are.

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Sorry, don't know this one either.

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Black Sand Beach

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Sunset

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii

In addition to its magnificent beaches and awesome scenery, the Hawaiian island of Oahu is also the home of the Polynesian Cultural Center, which features cultural demonstrations from Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tahiti, the Marquesas and Tonga. Shows include a parade of canoes, each featuring native attire and dancing from one of those cultures. 

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The New Zealand Warrior dance is Doug's absolute favorite. In the above photo, you see several other guys trying to learn the dance. I'm sure it was killing Doug not to be out there with them; but, after all, he was on his honeymoon and didn't want to look like a total idiot. But you can be sure he was absorbing every move and would be trying them out when he thought no one was looking.

Above is a short video, demonstrating that New Zealand Warrior dance. It's more effective when the warriors are wearing war paint, but you can get the idea anyway.

The Polynesian Cultural Center offers a variety of shows and activities. The parade of canoes and the evening show are "must sees" if you're ever on Oahu.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Diamond Head & Waimea Bay, Hawaii

Here are a few more photos from our 1987 Hawaiian honeymoon.

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The newlyweds, sporting a little more hair and a lot less weight than currently.

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Both of the above photos were taken from the top of Diamond Head.

Yes, we hiked up to the top...in August.

I don't like to sweat, but apparently Doug hadn't figured that out yet. And I might add that, in August in Hawaii, if you're outdoors and you're not swimming, you're sweating.
 
I had never done any hiking before, and the trail up Diamond Head is steep. It's not terribly long...about three-quarters of a mile...but it's plenty steep enough to work up a good sweat. What's a girl to do? It was my honeymoon. I didn't want my new hubby to find out I was a wimp. So I went, and I smiled, and I sweat. It was worth it though. The view from up there is spectacular.
 
But, if I ever do it again, it will be in February.

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This is looking down into Diamond Head's volcanic crater.

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This is a view of the switchback trail to the top.

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A food vendor at the beach

I learned from Doug how to spot the best places to eat...you look for places with a lot of customers, some of whom are carrying large Styrofoam containers of food as they depart. The little place pictured above was a gem. It served a wide variety of Chinese meals; and it served them fast, hot, and delicious. Oh...and cheap.

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The Rock at Waimea Bay

The Rock at Waimea Bay is about 30 feet (9 m) in height, and there are lots of folks who just love the adrenaline rush of jumping into the water from its top. Doug and I are not among them.
 
There is a cave nearby that you can swim into, and Doug wanted me to see it. Again, in addition to not knowing that I don't like to sweat, he apparently didn't understand my fear of water. And, again, I was too timid to let him know. So I followed him to the cave. Once inside, I discovered that I couldn't touch the bottom; and there were no handholds anywhere on the walls of the cave. And the waves were coming in. And I was getting water inside my snorkeling goggles, which made me feel as if I was drowning.

As I began to panic, I managed to say, "I've got to get out of here" before pushing my sweet hubby aside and heading for shallow water as fast as my poor swimming ability would allow.

Sometimes I think honeymoons ought to wait until the couple gets to know each other a little better.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

Here are some more photos-from-slides from our 1987 Hawaiian honeymoon. These were all taken at Hanauma Bay.

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Hanauma Bay may not be the most beautiful place on earth, but it's certainly one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

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