KC Zoo: On the Trail in Africa

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With the heat of the day, many of the animals were inside in their backstage areas — and I could tell that many of the people at the zoo were wondering whether they should have stayed in their own “backstage” areas.

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Upon exiting the Sky Safari we found ourselves facing the baboons, though they weren’t facing us, and then wandered to the chimpanzee exhibit, where we saw a trio of chimps wandering toward what was probably their backstage area. Upon entering the Chimp display building we found no chimps in view, but many people. The fact that the human section had AC probably had a lot to do with that.

The Chimp talk wasn’t for another hour, so we left and started our walk along the upper edge of the Africa circle. We passed another edge of the savannah, and then got into more of the exhibits, leading to the lion exhibit. All the lions, it turns out, were male, though none had manes — they had been neutered before the manes had developed.

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The lions could be seen basking on rocks in the shade. The best place to do this was from the first observation point we came to — an enclosed area with seats and AC. We stayed there a few minutes and then meandered on down the path.

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A few minutes later we arrived at another, outside observation post for the lions. A monther and her two elementary-aged kids were arriving from the other direction. I could here her talking about staying and sitting for a few moments here to watch the lions. I went over and told her about the inside (with AC) observation post, and how it had better views of the lions. She immediately encouraged her children to go on just a bit further along the trail.

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We went past some very interesting birds, saw more of the 4-footed antelope and similar grazing animals from the savannah, and then crossed the swinging  bridge to the secondary loop in Africa. We almost missed the turn for the bridge — the foliage made it easy to overlook.

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The highlight of this loop was seeing the Baby Gorilla —  born in May — being carried on its mother’s back. Signs were up encouraging people to be quiet so as not to disturb her and drive them away.

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We saw various types of hogs, grazing animals, a cheetah, and then the iconic Wart Hog — burrowed into the mud, before coming back to the beginning of the Africa loop at the main plaza. Now we had to make another decision about where to go.

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