Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunday Safari

Ever since Benjamin was born, we've spent most of our time at home or in the general area known as Not Too Far from Home.  :)  But as he got a little older and I felt a little more confident in how to meet his needs even if we're not at home, both Jeff and I began to feel the itch to get out, get away, and do something with our family.  A three- or four-day vacation would be nice; but in lieu of that, a day trip on a Sunday afternoon after our morning church service sufficed.  :)

We chose to head south a little ways to visit the Virginia Safari Park.  Remembering that it had been a few years since we had been there, we knew that for our younger children, it would practically be a brand-new experience; and even for our older ones, it would be fresh enough to be a delight.

And so it was.  :)

The unique thing about this zoo-type experience is that you can get so close to the animals, who happen to be smart enough to realize that the people in the cars driving through their land often bring food with them.  And so of course, the animals come close, which is very fun but sometimes a little startling.  Until you've been in that situation, you don't know how unnerving it can be to stare into the eyeball of a massive bison right outside the window (that you've quickly rolled up because you got scared) ;-) of your vehicle...or to have the big, strong-looking horns of a water buffalo just inches from you...or to feel the tug of a llama as you try to feed him from the bucket of grain you're holding, but he grabs hold of the side of it and rips it away from your hands no matter how tightly you've told yourself to hang on.  It's quite an experience!  :)

As we entered the drive-through area, I sat in the front passenger seat for a little bit, but then moved back so the kids could take turns sitting in that seat by the open window to feed the animals.  That worked well because I needed my hands free to take pictures (and didn't want a kiss from a camel).  :)

Benjamin slept through it all, completely unaware that a huge water buffalo was outside his window.  :)

There were quite a few different kinds of deer in the park.  I particularly liked the spotted ones.  :)

Moriah found a good place to sit--safe with Daddy.  :)

Despite the overcast skies, it was a beautiful day--pleasantly warm, considering it was the first day of November!

My view for most of the drive through the park.  :)

After we finished the drive-through section, we parked and got out to explore the other part of the park on foot.  Benjamin was ready to eat, so I sat down on a bench to nurse him while the others went on ahead.  I had fun watching them have fun feeding these goats and pigs.  :)

I did not realize, until I saw these kangaroos up close, that they have such sharp claws on their front legs.  I knew they could kick powerfully with their hind legs, but was unaware of the claws.

I didn't remember this bird area from the last time I was there; maybe it wasn't there at that point?  They certainly have added new areas and features since our last visit.  This was a fun area for the kids as they tried to get the birds to come to them.  :)

They make me smile...  :)

Tigers are beautiful.
And intimidating.  I was very thankful for a good, strong, high fence between me and these beauties!

As I mentioned yesterday, the spider monkeys were my favorite animals to watch.  :)

Tobin likes turtles a lot, mostly because they start with a "t"--just like him!  :)
Now there's a beautiful sight!  :)
This was the first time we had gone to this giraffe area (a platform that is high in the air so you can reach the giraffe's mouth), and I'm so glad we took the time for it during this visit.  Being close to this giraffe helped us realize how tall they really are--it's amazing!

One last walk through the goat and pig area to get rid of the last of the grain before we left.
I happened to think, at this point, that there wasn't much photographic proof that I was even along on this trip.  ;-)  So I handed the camera to Josiah and asked him to take a picture, so we would know I was here.  :)  Instead of just snapping one shot, he walked all around me and took pictures from different angles.

Now we know I was there.  :)

And now that this blog post is finished, we'll be able to remember, in years to come, that when Benjamin was seven weeks old, we ventured forth on a Sunday afternoon--to enjoy time together as a family, to learn more about and appreciate God's incredible creation, and to make a joyful memory.

Mission accomplished.  :)

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