Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tigers for Tomorrow

We had made plans a couple months ago to go on a field trip to Tigers for Tomorrow with one of the homeschool groups.  We were really looking forward to this trip, especially since Karen and Keilee were going as well.  Unfortunately, some things came up right at the last minute and they were unable to go :(
It's a good hour and a half + from here and I think we all wished it had fallen on a different day just because this week has been so busy!

Dakota slept for about an hour on the way there, although he'll vehemently deny that if you ask.

We were one of the first ones to get there and the first thing I noticed were the signs saying 'NO PHOTOS' and I momentarily panicked, then read the 'unless you're on a guided tour'...which we were so crisis adverted!  Just be aware of that should you visit on your own.

Begin rant:

"Do NOT be late! We will start on time and without you!" was repeated 50 times on the FB page about this trip.  But of course there were a couple families who were late...and they waited on them to start the tour...over 30 minutes!  Grr...I'm going to complain about many things from yesterday and they ALL have to do with that homeschool group.  This is only our second thing to do with them (although we have some history with Constance) and I can't foresee doing anything else.  Our tour guide told the group many times not to yell or run.  Constance, the leader of the HS group, wanted a group picture and kept YELLING 'I need face!  I need face!  I can't see your faces!" and told us to say (something...don't remember) for the 'smile!' and there were a couple people who made some verbalization.  Then she YELLED "Well, that was the worst thing ever!  I can't HEAR YOU!"  The lady was like "Don't yell...please!"  That's how the group was the entire time.  Several of the mothers were LOUD and very mean and disrespectful to their kids, which I found extremely sad.  And several of the kids were running and pushing each other. was embarrassing.  Brit and Dakota are so well behaved and wanted to be there because they genuinely love animals, especially big cats.  One of the only other teenage girls walked up to Brit and said in the most negative 'I hate life' voice, "Were you dragged to this thing, too?"  Brit was like, "Um, no...I love animals.  Big cats and wolves are my favorites!" and tried to counteract that kid's negativity with as much positive as she could muster.  She tried to steer clear of her after that.  Okay...I think I'm done.
End rant.   I think.  I may come up with something else in a minute.

Here's the group picture I hijacked off the FB page.

Hedgehogs are so freakin' cute!

 This is Pockets.  I think he wanted one of Bobby's fingers!

 They had a lot of cats running around the property.  This is Tom.

Once outside, our guide (never heard her name) introduced us to Alexis, their alligator and after talking about her for a few minutes, we were given an opportunity to touch her.  Dakota opted out of that.

 The Zebra was SO jealous and kept sticking his head over the fence.

Brit and Alexis

Once everyone had gotten there, we went off to meet this two year old Black Bear, Pepper.  Oh my goodness!  He was SO happy and playful and excited to see us!

 Then we were off to see this guy.  He's 28 years old and named Cody.  Cody's kind of catchy don't you think?  :)  He was quite laid back.

This is Yonah.  He's a five year old Grizzly and nowhere near full grown.  He stands now at 6 feet or so.  When he is full grown, he will stand anywhere from 10 to 12 feet.

The top of this fence is 12 feet for reference.  Holy geez!  Can you imagine seeing something THAT large in the woods?  I can and I image I would die.

See that caramely colored tiger?  That's a golden tabby and she's quite special.  Her coloring is extremely rare.  I believe she said there are only 34 like her in the world.

The cougars had just finished eating and wanted to sleep.  Pesky people.

The male decided he would come to the fence and grace us with his presence. 
He's 200 lbs!  (and on a diet...shhhh)

The female is a sleek 90 lbs.

This guy is 11 months old and very talkative.

Black Leopard

African Serval Cat

Black Fox

Wolves!  Brit was in love!

Ha!  The lamb is in a whole other fenced in area, but it looks like this guy is about to score some lunch!

 Burmese python

 Albino Burmese python

Overall, we are really glad we went!  We learned a lot about all of the animals we saw and were made aware of just how low their numbers are.  Scientists have estimated that in 10 years, there will be NO big cats left in the world.  None.

Tigers for Tomorrow is a last stop for these animals, meaning they will live out the rest of their lives here in safety.  They are an awesome nonprofit and all of the proceeds from tours and gift shops purchases go directly to care for the animals.  It's definitely worth a visit! 

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Where we've been as a family