Spring Vacation Day Five – Out of Africa and Sedona

Today we went on a ninty minute drive up I17 to the town of Campe Verde and the wild animal park nearby called Out of Africa.  We left about an hour late and the place was pretty packed.  While on the the ‘safari’ ride, the driver said that they normally get 500 people but today they expected 1500.  Spring break is the busiest time of the year for them.

At the park, we saw giraffes, zebras, ostrich, a couple different types of antelope, a camel, lions, tigers and bears!  Oh, and also two newborn goats, only six hours old!  They were already walking around.  The first thing they have you do is ride in the open air buses through their Serengeti enclosure.  They give you little cookie-like treats for the giraffe, and it will come up to the bus to take it from your hand.  Heather helped Hunter hold onto it and the giraffe took the cookie right from his hand.  We did it twice, and I don’t think he noticed either time.

As our bus was coming up to another giraffe, we saw the driver of the bus on the way back stop, and the driver hopped out the door and ran down the road toward the giraffe.  Apparently, the giraffe had picked up one of the baby goats in it’s mouth and dropped it from about fence height.  Our driver said that the giraffe didn’t want to hurt the baby goat but was only curious.  She said that giraffe are always curious about babies and will follow baby wildebeasts and others out in the wild.

After the tour, we took the tram up to the top of the hill to watch the Tiger Splash.  Before we got to the arena area, we stopped and took pictures of two large constrictor snakes.  They look really neat and feel nice and scaly, but not rough or slimy.

At the Tiger Splash, they have two tigers and a bunch of workers who tease and taunt the tigers with balloons and sports balls, trying to get them to jump into the water.  Tigers naturally like swimming, so it’s not like they didn’t want to be in the water.  For about a half-hour, the tigers popped balloons and balls and played much like housecats do.  They even had one of the trainers attacked in a playful way by one of the tigers, but tigers have claws, and sometimes they accidentally hurt people.  Today, the trainer got a big scratch behind his ear from the claw, but he was just fine and continued to play with it.

When the show concluded, they started to let people feed the tigers.  The person stands on one side of the fence and one of the workers puts a piece of meat on a pole so you can hold it up through the fence for the tiger to eat.  Heather and I both fed the tiger while holding Hunter.  When I held him he started getting excited and made some noises.  The tiger also made some noises while people were feeding him.  It sounds like a larger version of what some cats will sound like when they’re not meowing, but still vocalizing.

The rest of the park has a lot of big cats in different fields.  Bengal and Siberian tigers, as well as White tigers and lions.  We also saw a panther and a jaguar.  Near the end of the road down the hill I took some pictures of a rhino resting near some brush.  We got back to the bottom of the road and decided not to go back up the other way since most of the animals were duplicated and it was hot out.

Back at the car, we decided we had enough time to go to Sedona.  The drive there is very pretty with the red rocks and mountains carved out long ago.  We didn’t get to take too many photos since we were reaching our limit on the card.  Into Sedona, we stopped and ate at a mexican restaurant.  Shortly after we sat down, a family of four with two girls sat down next to our table.  They were about 10 or 12, and Hunter kept turning around to smile and talk to them.  After we ate, we walked down the street a little and browsed the shops.  The sun set and we knew it was time to head back.  Almost two hours later and we made it.

Tomorrow we get to drive to Suprise, Arizona to watch the A’s play the Texas Rangers.