Saturday, June 27, 2009

Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

DSC06459 orangutan eating lettuce

After going to the aquarium, my daughter and I watched the IMAX movie Wild Ocean 3D”. The movie followed the migration of billions of sardines up the eastern coast of South Africa. We donned our geeky glasses to experience dolphins and sharks swimming across our laps to chase the sardines that swarming around our heads in a massive shale formation. The movie was both entertaining and educational; we both highly recommend it.

Part of the package deal for the Audubon Aquarium and IMAX Theater are tickets for the Audubon Zoo and new Insectarium. We went uptown on St. Charles Avenue to Audubon Park.

DSC06418 New Orleans St Charles Streetcar

Like the parrots from the aquarium, the Greater Flamingo is another bird I’m capable of photographing; it doesn’t fly away.

DSC06445 greater flamingo Audubon Zoo
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

We arrived just in time for the elephant event. Looking back at these photos, it looked like these elephants were doing the hokey pokey.
You put your left foot in…

DSC06450 elephant Audubon Zoo

…and you shake it all about…

DSC06451 Audubon Zoo elephant

I used to think it was sad to see elephants doing tricks but these elephants looked very happy and healthy. I prefer to see them this way than languishing and depressed due to boredom. Great performance, Elephants, please take a bow!

It was a very hot and humid day, even by New Orleans standards, even for a white Bengal tiger:

DSC06457 White Bengal Tiger Audubon Zoo

Or a gorilla with African roots:

DSC06460 chimpanzee Audubon Zoo

This Tibetan Buddha looked cool in the shade:

DSC06458 Tibetan Buddha Audubon Zoo

But we couldn’t handle the heat any longer and we skedaddled out of there to try and find some ice cream. My daughter found a gelateria on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter through Yelp. La Divina offers many great flavors; my daughter had the creole cream cheese gelato and I had the blueberry basil sorbetto.

DSC06462 La Divina Gelato New Orleans

They were both super yummy. On our way out we noticed a sign on the counter and some bells hanging from the ceiling. I can tell you that the gelato put us in very “Good Humor”.
Note: I just learned that a white Bengal tiger is not an albino but has double recessive genes, like blondes do.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans

DSC06305 scarlet macaw parrot

No matter where we are in the world, our kids always love going to aquariums. I was delighted that, even at age seventeen, my daughter asked to go to the Audubon Aquarium and IMAX Theater. The aquarium is situated beautifully along the banks of the Mississippi River on the fringe of the French Quarter. I braced myself for a sad visit because I read that the aquarium lost thousands of fish during Hurricane Katrina. Diana Guerrero of writes:
"While the aquarium survived Hurricane Katrina relatively unscathed, its life support system did not; most of the animals in its aquatic exhibits were lost. However, the sea otters, penguins, macaws and raptors, leafy and weedy sea dragons, some fishes, and Midas, a 250 lb. green sea turtle all survived thanks to the care of staff who remained at the aquarium through the hurricane, flooding and civil unrest."
I was buoyed to learn that through efforts and donations of legions of people, their restocking efforts are well underway.

This huge tank is where Midas the green sea turtle lives.

DSC06319 Audubon Aquarium

He shares the tank with some impressive sharks.

DSC06318 audubon aquarium sharks

We were super lucky to have arrived when the cownose stingrays were being fed. You may be able to spy the scuba diver feeding small fish and broccoli to all these mouths.

DSC06302 cownose stingrays feeding time

I always have a ridiculously difficult time photographing birds in the wild. I usually end up with photos of where the bird used to be. These parrots, however, were a snap to photograph.

DSC06304 parrots

DSC06306 blue parrot

I don’t have very many other photographs because my daughter grew impatient with me, but I couldn’t resist these upside down jellyfish.

DSC06333 upside down jellyfish

And their tactile education display of a snapping turtle shell, an alligator and a beaver fur.

DSC06328 Audubon Zoo education

The Audubon Aquarium is definitely worth a visit, especially when the weather is oppressively hot and humid.
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