Lowry Park Zoo: Sweet Sea Lions

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I am an animal lover.  I have loved animals since I was a baby.  Ever since my first pet, Bacon the Beta fish, I have been acquiring pets and doing my best to help wildlife whenever possible.  I even used to ride around in a nifty plastic Playskool tractor with a neighborhood friend “saving” worms from untimely deaths in the summer sun after a rainstorm.  I was 7 okay, so cut me some slack.

Ken has become all too used to my daydreams of encountering wildlife and seeking experiences with amazing animals.  Often times, I even choose vacation destinations based upon some unique (or crazy)  wildlife adventure.  I worked with animals for years and after having many uncommon involvements with wildlife (trimming a wallabies toenails, drawing blood from iguanas, tagging Fox snakes, and restraining an alligator to name a few) I have learned that the most special are those that are not planned.  Those special moments when you are lucky enough to have a truly wild animal become as interested in you as you are in them.

That being said, I still fall for the allure of any encounter with an animal I have yet to come in contact with.  I find myself having a moral dilemma.  I love going to zoos and wildlife parks, yet I have such a hard time looking at a majestic tiger in a tiny enclosure, so far from its natural habitat.  I understand the need for knowledge in order to help save these animals, but I find myself going back and forth about how I feel about zoos.

Yet, I found myself coaxing Ken to take me to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa after we finished up our wedding planning at the Florida Aquarium.  We needed a little bit of fun out in the sun.  Without a beach nearby, the zoo was a good choice.  And I ended up being so glad that we went.

The zoo was much larger than I had expected, and even though it was filled with many screaming children, it didn’t feel too crowded at the exhibits.  The highlights were definitely the manatee hospital and watching the bears swim to cool off.  But after walking around the zoo for a couple hours (and sweating profusely) I learned yet another lesson in spontaneity.

We saw signs all over the park for the sea lions.  And gosh, they are cute.  $2 to watch the show, blahblahblah, take photos with the sea lions.  Hit the brakes.  I can do what?  I want.  I really want.  I think I must have asked Ken about 12 times “so where are these sea lions again?”  By the way, his response was always I don’t know – the map is confusing.  Men and maps.  I know, I know, they don’t need them!

Finally, we end up walking past the sea lion area.  I can hear the show going on.  I walked up to the girl at the front and asked how one takes a photo with the sea lions.  She said there is an opportunity after the show and it’s already half way through.  Oh well, sign me up!  So $4 later, and as we are walking through the doors the show is over.  Apparently time moves slowly while sitting in the heat and the ability to tell time diminishes.  But this worked out, we were fourth in line to get our photo taken with the adorable sea lions.  The one resting his head on my shoulder kept leaving between photos and diving nose first into the water only to be called right back to take another photo.  He was a clown – sliding across the platform and skidding to a halt next to the trainer.

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It’s funny to think if we would have walked past only a couple minutes later, we would have missed out of that memorable opportunity.  And I would have missed out on crossing another item of the ever-growing Great Big Animal Bucket List.

More photos can be found on our facebook page.

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4 Comments

    • Jessi says:

      Thanks! I was all sweaty after walking around in the nearly 90 degree weather and my hair was all frizzed out, but anywho. The sea lions still look cute! 😛

      Like

  1. Pingback: Bucket List: 114 in 2014 | Berry Random

  2. corinelli says:

    “Hit the brakes. I can do what? I want. I really want.”

    LMAO! I can picture you stomping your feet if Ken were to deny you sea lions. Cute picture, those sea lions are so adorable!!

    Like

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