Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fun at the Albuquerque BioPark

It's been a busy month. My grandchildren were visiting and we spent some time at the Albuquerque BioPark. The BioPark, located next to the Rio Grande River, was founded in 1927 and includes the Rio Grande Zoo, Tingley Beach, the Botanic Garden and the aquarium.

We spent the day at the BioPark, which is easy to do as there is so much to see! We started at the zoo, then moved to the aquarium and ended the evening with the River of Lights display--400 light displays on the river. The River of Lights is visited by 90,000 people each year. I think they were all there the night we went, too--it was packed!

Although I prefer to see animals flying free, I am always reminded of the importance of zoos when I read the life expectancy information on the cards in front of the animal displays. Most of the time, the life expectancy of animals is doubled in captivity due to a lack of predators. Unfortunately, humans are almost always the number one predator of wild animals.

One of my favorite displays at the zoo was the golden eagle. He reminded me of the pair of golden eagles that used to fly over our house when we lived in Wellington, Colorado. We had 35 acres and they returned to the hills each year to raise their fledgling. When they fly between you and the sun, you can see the sunlight through their wings and their wings glow like flourescent gold.

I also enjoyed the polar bears. They were awake, rolling around, being playful and noisy. One of the bears kept making strange noises. I had the impression he was bored.

When we went to the lion enclosure, we heard a loud, rhythmis roaring, but we didn't see any lions. A woman standing nearby jokingly said it sounded like a tape recording--and it did! Then the roaring stopped. "They're rewinding the tape," she said, and we laughed and started to walk away. A minute later she called out to me. "He's out!" She said. "It really is a lion! He's walking around, roaring!" Sure enough, the lion walked around the enclosure, scratched his head on a post, went back inside and started to roar again!

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