urbpan: (dandelion)
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Where were we? Oh yes, the 98 meter pyramid on the bank of the Mississippi in the city of Memphis Tennessee. It's a sporting goods store.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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Soon after we arrived someone asked "have you seen the alligator yet?" Wait, what? Suffice it to say we spent a lot of time looking in the water after that. Then I saw one. Then I saw one every day I was there. Turns out there are a number of small alligators in the lake, they are probably fed by hotel guests, and then they are removed when they get over 4 feet long.

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I'd kind of like it if they left them in there to get huge, but that might be kind of dangerous, especially with all the kids running around the place.

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The alligators' companions are large soft-shelled turtles--I suspect these are rescue animals given safe haven in the lake.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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I took a million pictures at Busch Gardens Tampa, so I'll break it into pieces. Here's a bunch of very nice looking American alligators!
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urbpan: (dandelion)
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Orlando Science Center is not too different from the Boston Museum of Science where I got my start in animal care. They have a lot more alligators though.

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Jul. 12th, 2014 08:08 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Stone Zoo has an American alligator exhibit open for the summer! There are three medium sized gators in there; keepers go in teams to clean it, with one zookeeper in charge of making sure the animals keep their distance.

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I was at Stone Zoo to (among other things) set up stable fly traps. This dragonfly unwisely landed on my pile of sticky sleeves--fortunately the backings are still on them, so the odonate was not trapped.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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Here we are, the vice and pres of the local chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, sitting at our table in front of the baby reindeer. A Wild Affair is a restaurant tasting event that is held at Stone Zoo every June. I liked the buffalo chicken mac and cheese the best, but the chicken pot pie cup was pretty delish. We were there to tell the guests about Bowling for Rhinos, happening only 11 months from now.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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We spent some time trying to "find" Fort Myers. Gertrude Stein may have lamented that "there's no there there" about her home town of Oakland, but I've heard it more accurately applied to other places. We tried in vain to find a town center, walkable village, or cohesive sense of Fort Myers that we could understand as New Englanders. One time I set the GPS for Centennial Park, in "downtown" Fort Myers. There were tall buildings and a park, but we didn't stay long. This laughing gull gave us a funny look as we looked across to the hotels of North Fort Myers where spent the night.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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One of the great things about Naples Zoo is that there are keeper encounters all day long, so you can plan your visit around them, and enjoy a rich educational experience. This two-toed sloth was brought out after a show that included a half-dozen species, three zookeepers, and a script with entertaining jokes as well as good conservation information.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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Second day in Florida, reddening up nicely. We left our friend and started heading back up toward Sanibel (our only planned destination).

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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As it so happens a naturalist friend of mine was also in Florida that week visiting relatives. We live just a few miles from each other but hadn't managed to get together since the April Urban Nature Walk. We were each on opposite sides of South Florida so she suggested we meet up in the middle, at Big Cypress National Preserve. This picture is taken at the Oasis Visitor Center. Theres a wide canal between the road and the building, with a nice boardwalk and fence. Down in the canal there are many many alligators.

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