Anytime I visit a zoo I have conflicted feelings. On one hand the animals are beautiful, but on the other it is sad to see them caged up in less than natural settings. I understand it can be educational to children and others, but at what cost to the animals.
Setting aside these conflicts for a couple of hours I stopped by the Reid Park Zoo.
The zoo is fairly small by most standards, but is very popular. The walkways were crowded on this sunny Sunday afternoon.
One of the first stops was an enclosed aviary that you walked through.
Another building had some terrariums that housed reptiles.
The flamingo’s had a bit more space.
The peacock as well seemed to have room to roam.
The squirrel monkey with a solemn look.
A similar look from the ring tailed lemurs.
The larger mammals were the ones that seemed most out of place in their enclosures that were far too small.
Summed up best by this rhino. It is disappointing with all the open desert space (outside the city) that a new approach couldn’t be taken to provide wide open spaces for the animals, while still serving the educational and entertainment purposes of the zoo. Of course who has the money to make that happen?
Just down the road from Gammons Gulch Movie Set is the Forever Home Donkey Rescue. We had called both and made arrangements to tour both on the same day. We made our way to the donkey rescue where we met Tish, one of the owners.
Tish told us how she came to run a donkey rescue, and it shows again that there are just some great people in the world who care about taking care of animals who, through no fault of their own, has had a rough life.
Donkeys are considered ‘worthless animals’ in the west, and as a result many are abused. One such way is by rodeo people who use them to train how to rope animals, causing permanent damage to their legs. Once they are in that state, the rodeo people no longer want them. This is where Tish and her husband (and a great group of volunteers) come in.
The rodeo is just one way they have rough lives, there are many others. But once they make it to see Tish they are in, as their name states, their forever home!
Each have names and individual personalities.
This character I will always remember, Boaz. Tish gave us a pile of animal crackers to feed to them, and Boaz was the first we met, and likely the loudest.
But with a few animal crackers he is your best friend.
Each have their own stall, but fear not, once we met each the gates to the stalls were opened and the donkeys were allowed to roam the 30 acres to their hearts content.
This is Casper, a mini mule. The staff says think of a teen age rebel and that is Casper.
A Jenny is the term for a female donkey. This is Tula, the head Jenny.
She was living in the wild on one of the Native American reservations in Arizona, and is said to still be pretty wild, although she was very calm and happy to see us, with our animal cracker treats.
Tish told us to wait before giving this guy his crackers until he did his trick – which is an amusing display of his tongue. We happily obliged. His name is Jasper.
Jasper came to the sanctuary with really bad hooves from an improper diet, and still has issues with them, but as you can see is a fun guy.
The donkeys are gentle enough that I was welcomed into any of the pens that I wanted, allowing for unobstructed photos.
This is Carter, a fairly recent arrival. They say he is a bit on the chubby side, but I am certain a steady diet of animal crackers will help that (to be fair they don’t only eat animal crackers, the staff is knowledgeable on donkey care and their main diet is much healthier – the animal crackers are used to get them to play nice with visitors.)
Eventually the gates were opened and the donkeys wandered off around the farm, although they stayed close by the pens by their own choice. Here we take another look at Jasper as he is ready to head out of his pen.
Jasper’s close up.
This is Justice. He was a rescue from another rescue, who came in with a hoof issue as well.
Of course Boaz and one of his buddies insisted on a close up.
Boaz and Justice for their close up (or treats). The Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary is one of those places doing good in the world. I highly recommend checking them out, and offering them any support you can.
A big thanks to Suzanne from the sanctuary for helping me identify each of them.
We spent two wet days in the rain forest of Argentina and Brazil at one of the world’s natural wonders – Igauzu Falls. Generally considered one of the two or three best waterfalls in the world, it is in reality 250+ separate waterfalls.
The challenge of photographing such a vast scene, in the drizzle and mist, was daunting. In the end the lighting and coloring provided many interesting views. – resulting in a long posting of 40 photos.
A great year of sights – these are my favorite 30 photos of 2019, with brief explanations why they are my favorites.
Chicago – Willis (Sears) Tower. The perspective of people out of their elements.
Washington – The former Capital Columns in the Arboretum. The morning lighting with the wildflowers and contrast of the columns.
Washington – Embassy Open House Day – and a young lady’s perfect timing next to their logo.
Near Frankfurt, Kentucky – I have a thing about old, seemingly abandoned buildings. This however had been reclaimed and re-used for it’s original purpose – bourbon storage and aging.
New Orleans – Mardis Gras World. It was like stepping into some psychedelic movie.
Avery Island, Louisiana – The symmetry of the rice fields with another old building.
Houston – The home of quirky art. This is from Lucky Land, a very cool place.
Houston quirky art part 2 – Giant President Heads.
San Antonio mission. Symmetry and historic architecture.
Amarillo, Texas – Cadillac Ranch, but after a storm where they appeared to be in a pond.
Columbus Zoo and a zoom lens. The statement in the face and amazing beauty of the animals.
Montreal – Ferris Wheel in Old Montreal – Perfect timing and lighting (just lucky on the timing).
Marietta, Ohio – Sternwheeler festival.
Chicago – Open House and another fantastic ceiling/light.
Buenos Aires – obviously the extended period spent in Argentina has opened a new world of photo possibilities. Recoleta Cemetery is the most popular tourist spot in the city, and I had the good fortune of some young lady there for (I suspect) a photo shoot when she ran by the row I was in, turned and posed for me! Who doesn’t want a photo of a young lady running through a cemetery with a knife.
Recoleta Cemetery provides so many great shots – the cob webs are natural, not staged.
The tomb of San Martin.
The La Boca neighborhood is known as a working class neighborhood in love with their team – La Boca juniors. The old car symbolizes the working class neighborhood and it was parked in front of the soccer practice fields with their bright colors on the walls.
Chacarita Cemetery is not as famous as Recoleta, but still a very stunning place.
The sunrises and sunsets can be amazing.
An hour drive out of town to San Antonio de Areco, and their gaucho festival was the event of the year. 4000 people and horses dressed for the occasion.
The Jacaranda trees are fantastic in bloom.
On a walking tour of street art the passer by’s sometimes fit the theme.
The Casa Rosada. A great courtyard and a bemused guard.
Hockey in Argentina – bring that soccer passion inside and combine it with hockey.
Finally – Bariloche, a beautiful mountain and lakes region.