Monday, December 9, 2013

NZ Girls Visit Day Two: Lion Country Safari

I modeled our second day of adventures after my parents last day visiting, since we had so much fun.  So after Butterfly World we drove north another 30 minutes to Lion Country Safari.  I posted a little of the history and some interesting facts on a previous post.  When we arrived, we were again given a CD with the narrated guide to listen as we drove through the park.  Since we were never driving more than 2 or 3 miles per hour I took Daxton out of his car seat to sit on my lap.  I knew this would keep him occupied and interested instead of screaming in the back seat.  Within a few minutes of our tour both pregnant Katy and little Mafa Jo were asleep.  While we were looking at some of the animals we started to smell something a bit questionable and our fears set in that Daxton had gone #2 in his diaper.  Now the main question...where do we change him?  Usually I would lay him on the backseat or lay him in the trunk bed, but since we were at the beginning of the safari we couldn't get out of our cars and there were no facilities in sight.  Thus the ridiculous pictures below!
I just had to document how amazing auntie Heather was and how awkward it was going to be to try and change Daxton's diaper while sitting in the driver's seat!  Luckily for us we soon realized it was a false alarm and continued on our journey.

I was very surprised with both Butterfly World and Lion Country Safari, because I had visited both just two days earlier and yet this days experiences were totally different!  We saw so many new things and were especially excited about some of the new animal behaviors we were able to observe as well.
As we were driving through one section we found a large number of Ostriches.  It looked like their food had just been placed, because they were surrounding tall feeding structures.  All of a sudden an aggressive fight broke out between a few of the ostriches.  It was crazy to see them chase one another and how fast they were.  I'm still surprised that they didn't run into our car since they were waving in between vehicles to get at each other.  They would raise their wings and squawk at one another.

 Daxton LOVED sitting on my lap while driving.  Often times I let him take the wheel and guide the car (at 1 mile an hour I had more than enough time to correct the wheel before driving off the road!)  He was pretty proud of himself.  There were a couple times where he was started by different animals right next to the glass of our window.  He even fell asleep in my arms midway through the tour and I got to have the best snuggles!

Just a few of the awesome animals we saw along our safari...
White Rhinos

Tortoise, zebra, and African donkeys...

Finished with the chimpanzees on their intricate island system.

After we finished with the drive-through safari, we stopped at the Safari World Park located at the end of the tour.  My parents and I didn't have the time to stop at it before, so this was my first time exploring everything and I was greatly surprised with everything it had to offer.  We obviously could have spent most of the day here instead of a couple hours.  It has several more animal enclosures, a boat ride around the monkey islands, pedal boats, giraffe feeding, camel rides, mini golf, splash park, shops, eateries, and also random amusement rides as well.  It was a bit run down in parts, but a lot of fun.

Katy and Mafa, after their afternoon nap, at the entrance to Safari World Park.  I still have no clue how Katy physically handled everything on this trip while being in her first trimester!  Traveling, caring for a 10 month old, dealing with the heat and humidity, and then also being pregnant!  She's a tough girl for sure and I definitely need to remember her example when we get pregnant again.
I love how everything in Florida is covered with growth and greenery.  No matter where you walk there are gorgeous trees, vines, ferns, flowers, and bushes.  It makes everything that much more beautiful.  I love the different types of trees they have down here with roots and vines growing everywhere.

Looking out at the different monkey islands and areas to pedal boat.

One of the things Heather wanted to do most was feed Giraffes.  So we headed to the Giraffe encounter first to make sure we didn't miss it.  For a couple dollars we were given pieces of lettuce to feed to the giraffe.  I forgot how incredibly LONG their tongues are!  We spent forever observing and interacting with a few of these beautiful creatures.  I also loved that the feeding station was located on a raised platform so we were eye to eye with the tall giraffes.
Our new friend!
(Daxton was mad I made him turn around from the Giraffe for the picture)

Showing how tall the Giraffe was...

I love how brave Daxton is.  He really does want to try everything and fed the giraffe several times.  The employee working was so kind and gave us several more pieces of lettuce since we were all having so much fun and there was no one else around.

Katy and Mafa's turn!

Heather's turn!
(Love the top left picture showing how long the tongue was!)

After the giraffes, we wandered around the park and found some fun bongos to play on which Mafa loved.

We also decided to take a camel ride!  I hadn't been on the back of a camel since I was in Egypt so it was quite fun to relive the experience.  They also let us take our little ones with us, which I think Daxton was more concerned than excited about.  He never cries though.  He just furrows his eyebrows while concentrating on everything.  Such a brave boy!

Heather, Katy, and Mafa's turn!
I wish I would have planned to spend more time at Safari World since there was so much more to see and do, but we decided that there's always next year!  After it closed, we went out for a yummy dinner and made our way back home.  We were all pretty exhausted after such a fun second day of adventures!

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