Pummeled By Swans, Flat Feet, and Don’t Fall in the Alligator Pit

Nephew, Boy7, Mom, Boy9

Went to the zoo with the kids, Mom and Nephew.  Somehow, every time Nephew comes for a visit we end up doing a lot of walking.  And every time Nephew ends up in a lot of pain.

Last summer, I took him to a creek so that we could go wading in the water.  He wasn’t into the wading part, so as soon as he found a trail to walk on, that’s what he wanted to do.

The trail split in two.  The sign for the first trail showed a gentle wavy line and read “easy” under the line.  The second trail showed a sharp jagged line and read “difficult” under the line.  Which trail do you think Nephew chose?  Yup. Sharp-jagged-straight-up-to-the-sky trail.

I was up for it but I asked Nephew over and over if he was sure…was he absolutely sure…and he was.  He was a strapping young man and he was ready to go.

Until we got exactly to the mid-point of the trail and there was a thunderstorm looming on the horizon.  It was then that he announced he has flat feet and was in a great deal of pain.  And he stopped walking.  I told him he had to forge ahead.  It was either that or learn how to forage for berries and make fire so he could survive the night.  Somehow, with stops every 10 paces or so, he managed to stumble out of the woods and off the mountain to the car.

And again, today, we were at the bottom of the zoo, farthest from the exit and whaddya know–flat feet strike again.  I should have known better!  We had to hop on a camel and ride it to the exit.

No, not really, but wouldn’t that have been awesome?

Tomorrow he wants to tag along with us to the roller skating rink even though he’s never been roller skating.  He’s sure he’ll be able to learn.  I strongly suggested that he not go, but he’s determined.  He’s old enough to know his own mind, right??

On Friday he wants to go clambering around the rocks at Devil’s Den and Little Round Top in Gettysburg and climb up and down the lookout towers and the spiral staircase in the Pennsylvania Monument.

I think he’s just trying to come up with stuff to do outside of the house so that he doesn’t have to cook and clean.  You all remember the rule, right?  If you’re in the house more than half a day, you cook and clean it.  People get bored without something to do, right?  Right?  Apparently the foot pain is easier to deal with than all the cooking I make him do.

Hmm.  I could always make him play board games with me.

Ok–enough chatter, time for pictures:

I took a bazillion pictures at the zoo.  The family has finally been trained and they didn’t even give one peep of protest at all the pauses for pictures.

Also, for you photography people, I just learned about the “servo” settings on my camera this past Saturday at Photo Club.  Servo lets you focus on your subject, and if it walks away or toward you, the camera will automatically keep the subject in focus as it moves around.  Very helpful feature at the zoo with all the moving animals.

Here are some of my favorite pictures.  You can click on them to see them larger.  They look lots better larger.  I like to right click on them and open them in a new tab so I don’t have to back-arrow back to the blog between each picture.

Snake eye

I love snakes.  I was wishing they weren’t so deadly poisonous so I could pet them.  Aren’t they sweetie pies?


Love turtles and tortoises, too.  Nephew commented, “They’re really slow aren’t they?”  Ah…now that old “Tortoise and the Hare” story is starting to make sense.

Lotsa 'gators

How can you not love these guys?  They’re so happy and ridiculous looking.  Well…from a distance anyway.

Happy alligator

Another reptile.  I love reptiles.  I like the reflection in this picture.  I’m trying to figure out how to take better pictures of water.  I wonder when my Scott Kelby book will ever get here??  Darling Husband was supposed to order it for me weeks and weeks ago.  I have a feeling he forgot to order it…

Koi pond--water

Another attempt at water.  Oh, and there are some fish, too.

Koi poind

This is the same pond.  It almost looks like you’re seeing the fish through the glass of a tank, but you’re not.  This is straight down into the pond.  You can see that there are a couple of bubbles on the surface of the water.

Happy kitty

I like that her tongue is sticking out.  This is a lion, in case you couldn’t tell.

Eye of the Tiger

Yeah…you can guess the song of the day, right?

What’s wrong with the tiger’s eye?   I don’t know.  But this wasn’t just a zoo.  It’s also a wildlife preserve.  (Catoctin Wildlife Preserve.) This means that many of the animals there have injuries that won’t allow them to live in the wild, so they’re brought here to be cared for.

Eye of the Birdie

Same thing with this little guy.

Ok–enough scary eyes.  Here are some shots of nice, healthy eyes:


If you look closely, you can see Nephew and me reflected in the eye of this bird.

Eagle Eye

That’s a great eye!  What a gorgeous bird.

Sam the Eagle

Yup.  Both eyes on the Bald Eagle were ok.


The sign near this pond of swans warns you that when their young are hatched they are very good parents and will “bravely pummel you” should you get too close.

We didn’t see any young, which is a good thing.  It’s a wonder that any animal on this planet managed to survive young human males.  All three of them could barely resist chasing the geese around, hoping to hear them hiss, and tossed a few pebbles near the gators hoping to make them snap.  It was like being at the zoo with Dudley Dursley.

Pretty picture

Ok–no eye in this picture.  I was just so pleased that the swan swam by just as I was taking a flower picture.


I’m going to end with three pictures of parrots.  They’re so colorful, it’s like they’re not even real.  Love the parrots!

Two parrots


All in all, Clarisse did a pretty good job, didn’t she?


Other song of the day:  Simon and Garfunkle, At the Zoo.  It’s one of Darling Husband’s favorite.