Piper goes to the zoo

I had an oppor­tu­nity to visit Taut­phaus Park Zoo the other day.  It was zero degrees out­side and nor­mally this time of year the Zoo is closed but I was invited to see behind the scenes.  So, I put my big girl pants on (lit­er­ally, so I could add lay­ers) and headed out.

What made this such a spe­cial day for me was that I got to see & feed the BIG cats!  Beth, our lovely (and extremely knowl­edge­able) guide gave us fair warn­ing before we went into the cat house.  “Don’t lean against the cages.  We are made of meat and they eat meat.”  She said it with a grin but her mes­sage was heard loud and clear!

I was lit­er­ally less than 2 feet away from the lion and lioness and holy Moses they are MASSIVE!  Each of them weighed close to (if not more) than 400 pounds.   I had a lump in my throat because let’s face it, it’s hard not to squirm a lit­tle when you’re being eye­balled by a flesh eat­ing ani­mal.  But mostly because they were breath­tak­ingly beau­ti­ful.  It still took every­thing I had to keep my hand away.  ALL I wanted to do was pet the “big kitty.”

Sadly, I did not get to meet the Snow Leop­ards or the Siber­ian Tiger face to face but they were just as beau­ti­ful from afar.

Beth also indulged us in the high strung zebras, the beau­ti­ful African birds and the Sloth Bears which were hilar­i­ous!  Think of a 300 pound Pomeran­ian puppy that loves peanut butter!

Please check out Taut­phaus Park Zoo for your­self dur­ing Christ­mas with the Crit­ters Dec 20th — 23rd (weather per­mit­ting)! 10a — 3p, 1/2 price admis­sion and Santa will be there each day noon –1p! 

Here are some pic­tures I was able to snap (although not my best & I do apol­o­gize) and some video which you need to check out in order for every­thing to be right in the world.

Mr. and Mrs. Lion






Feed­ing the lioness with a giant raw meat­ball. Yum!




The gor­geous Siber­ian Tiger look­ing smugly at us from her perch.  By the way, she LOVES win­ter­time!  Did you know that most of the ani­mals at Taut­phaus Park Zoo are from cli­mates that are very close to our own?


And here are the Sloth Bears.  In one cage there were 2 twin cubs (that just cel­e­brated their 1st birth­day) and their mama.   Across the room was their daddy, Mick.  Mama was very patient while the cubs were clam­or­ing over each other for our atten­tion.  The suck­ing noises that you’ll hear in the video are the bears.  And  occa­sion­ally if you’re lucky enough (I was) they’ll blow/sneeze on you.




Here’s what hap­pens when you take peanut but­ter into the bear house!

I didn’t get any pic­tures of the African birds but I can assure you that in the win­ter they are well taken care of!  The room they have is cli­mate con­trolled and very com­fort­able.  We made it a point to stop there to thaw out!   Here’s a short video of some of one of the birds named Lilly chat­ting us up.

And finally the Zebras.  They didn’t want any­thing to do with us and just ran away, ha!

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