Saturday, November 3, 2012

Baby Lions!

Friday, October 19th during Fall Break, Mom and I got to visit Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari in Gentry, Arkansas. It was awesome!

It's not just a drive through. First we went through the walk-through.

 There we saw all kinds of baby farm animals. Cows, chicks, and 8-day-old pigs!
 Next we saw the "exotic" animals and fed them bread. Here were my favorites. A peacock with some white feathers:
A fox that eats bread:
 And a lemur that reminds me of King Julian from the movie Madagascar.
There was also this really crazy swinging monkey who kept whooping and howling like he really wanted attention (or food). We kept trying to throw him bread, but couldn't get it through his cage bars:

 A very cute, smart-looking red lemur:


 Then we had the most glorious surprise. We got to hold baby 12-week-old lions! To think, it cost Mom and me $40 each in Thailand to simply pet baby tigers for 10 minutes, and you have to get a time card. This was included in the price of admission, just $10! ($9 if you count the dollar coupon discount we got at the Arkansas visitor's welcome center.) And to think, just an hour away in Arkansas. You don't even have to fly all the way to Thailand! The two sleepy little boys just climbed right up onto my lap.

 I got more than my lion's share of time with them. They were so tired, they were just lyin' around! (But later they got feisty and were playin', and that was cute!)
 We even got to bottle feed them!

  That was definitely the highlight of the visit, but a close runner up was the time we got to spend in the monkey cage! They were jumping all over us, unzipping our pockets and searching them. One stole a bead off my hair scrunchy. No use trying to get it back. I'm glad we didn't take our cameras in!

 Finally we went through the drive through where we got to see all kinds of animals. For one, I'd never seen prairie dogs in their natural habitat. It was so neat! They were yipping to each other and playing. We weren't supposed to feed them, but they were so cute we did anyway. Oops!

 Also very interesting were the mixed cattle. They had buffalo (American bison) crossed with all kinds of domestic bovine, including Scottish Highlanders, Texas longhorns, and Jerseys. We saw quite a few white buffalo too, which are rare in nature, but I suppose they've been bred.
Here's an interesting deer in the bushes.
Wild European piglets (notice how they're striped, unlike domesticated piglets)
Just before we left, we got to see the owner come out and feed the mob of Kangaroos. (That's what they're called, a "mob," just like a bunch of cattle is a "herd" and many birds are a "flock.")
Several of the mothers had Joeys:
We asked the owner some questions about her zoo. She said that it's a family business, part of their ranch since the 1950s, and they don't take donations! They're the only zoo I've ever been to that doesn't. We had been planning to go leaf viewing after the zoo, but there wasn't time. The owner had told us on the phone to spend the whole day there, and we had, and we could have easily stayed longer! (We actually didn't leave until one hour after closing, 6:00.) It's the best zoo I've ever been too, and I've seen zoos all over the world, so that's saying something! We'll definitely be back. 

One week prior to that, Mom, Dad, my brothers, and I all went to a family friend's wedding. Heather Buchanan (our friend) married Chris Fatur. Raina (my younger brother Benjamin's wife) and Emily (my older brother Tony's wife) threw a bachelorette party for her. I didn't want to go, so I just had lunch with them beforehand. Here I am, all dressed up for that:
Heather got married at Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City, a two hour drive, so Mom, Dad, and me decided to make a day of it and went to the Oklahoma City zoo. It rained all day, but it was still fun. In the Australian lorikeet house, someone gave me their nectar and I got attacked!
Man, with the rain, logistics for the wedding were crazy! The ceremony was supposed to be outside, but ended up in the reception room. Many people got soaked, but fortunately Heather was picked up and dropped off in a car, so her dress stayed dry. I was a brides maid, so fortunately I stayed pretty dry, too. Despite all the craziness, the ceremony was lovely, and I'm very proud of my adopted little sister!

This is the room we had many of the pictures taken in:

Here's my brother Benjamin (who first introduced Heather to our family 19 years ago), Heather, and me:

 And here's the whole Popp family with Heather

Don't forget, my book comes out November 10th! You can pre-order on

Until next time, keep reading and praying,
L.J. Popp