December 13, 2015

Hawaiian Monk Seals at the Minnesota Zoo


Hawaiian Monk Seals at the Minnesota Zoo
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for December 13, 2015


It was Grandma Linda's birthday this week.  I can never remember how old she is but I'm pretty sure it's 80 something.  We took her out for the day to celebrate another awesome year with her.


Our day started out at the bakery.  Turns out, Grandma didn't want anything so I ate a doughnut and an almond butter croissant in her honor.


We thought it would be fun to take Grandma to the zoo because old people supposedly like looking at animals.  This was my first visit to the zoo since they converted the old dolphin exhibit to the new exhibit hosting some huge Hawaiian Monk Seals.  It was kind of weird seeing the old dolphin tank no longer holding dolphins.  The Minnesota Zoo decided to get out of the dolphin business after a string of tragedies ended up in the deaths of multiple animals.  You can read about it here.  It was pretty sad stuff.  If you're into dolphins that is.


We only saw one of the big seals in the tank while we were there, but we heard that there's a couple more.  They must have been taking a smoke break or something because we never saw them.


We saw this guy swimming around for awhile and then he jumped out of the pool to be fed by his trainer.  We were impressed with how big he was.  He also seemed to be making good progress in his training so one of these days we'll have to stick around and watch the seal show so we can see what else they do besides swim and eat.


I decided to play more with the photo digest feature on my camera.  It's a setting where I can have the camera capture a few seconds of video before each photo shot.  I always find the resulting video interesting.


I'm always mesmerized by the jellyfish.  I bet they taste awesome.


We went outside to see the bears.  It was pretty warm for December, but for some reason we were the only ones out there.  Maybe people don't realize the bears are actually locked in cages.


Besides that, they're also hibernating.  It looks so comfortable in there, I'd just love to go dive in the middle of them and cuddle up with them all.  I'd need to remember to wake up before Spring though, because they probably wouldn't be too happy to wake up and see me rubbing up against them.


Back inside, Avery was taking penguin selfies.


I thought this guy and I were getting along well and he was posing so nice for this picture.  It wasn't until I came home and downloaded the photos did I realize he was actually flashing me.  I feel so violated.


I wish I had monkey arms.


We walked up and saw this turtle look like he was struggling a lot.  We asked one of the employees what was happening with him and they said sometimes they get hit and air gets in their shell and then they have a buoyancy problem.  They can't dive down below the surface and there's not really anything they can do to remove the air.  He said they're working on a way to add some weights to his shell so he can dive down, but in the mean time he just floats around the top.  Poor turtle really bummed us out.


 The wolf was looking in fine form.  Although someone really should get in there and comb his coat.  Poor dog is going to get it matted if they just keep letting it grow out like this.


It's always good to see the bald eagle.  He's kind of a regal looking fellow.


After the zoo, we went to Red Robin.  Yum.


Later that night, the Zitzewitz Family came over for a late night filled with debauchery.  A perfect way to cap off a great day!