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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