Sunday morning with the animals.
Bright and early, well more like dreary and early, we left the hotel and headed off to the Memphis Zoological Gardens, better known as the Overton Park Zoo. The place has become pretty fancy since Cindy and Bill and even Karen came here as kids.
I mean, I sure don't remember an elephant that wears lipstick.
First we spotted some monkeys having fun swinging from their ropes.
Even better, the restaurant next door had windows that looked out at the monkeys.
See? Here are Heather and Gavin looking out.
Not to be outdone, the monkeys decided to look in.
Monkey see, monkey do.
I dunno who's more fascinated by the strange sight through the window -- Gavin or the monkey.
Me Garrett, you Cheetah.
It's almost Halloween and Garrett has made a new friend.
Now this big guy made the trip to the zoo especially memorable.
King Kong? Well, he thinks he is. But his real name is "Mwelu." Yeah, I know, I can't pronounce it either. Maybe that's why he seemed so peevish that morning.
I think I wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley.
Everybody kept a safe distance.
He's wondering where his womenfolk are.
They're over here. Hiding. They know Mwelu is in one of his moods.
This is really my only true regret of the trip. See, what happened is Mwelu walked over to the side of his enclosure to show his wives who's boss and I was filming the whole thing through a glass window set in rock, and just as I got bored and turned my camera off, Mwelu raised up and pounded his chest just like a gorilla is supposed to do and then he CHARGED the glass we were looking through and slammed himself up against it and everybody screamed and ran and I didn't get ANY of it on video. Nothing. Nada. Kaput. And then, when i got the camera turned back on, Mwelu wouldn't perform again. I think he was just playing with me.
Posing by the Halloween decorations. Heather thinks it's about to start raining, and she's right.
The CEO of Federal Express, Fred Smith, lives in Memphis and he's got a gazillion bucks and he wanted to make a gift to the Zoo, so now Memphis has its own replica of Yellowstone Lodge. Look, there's even a replica of Old Faithful out front.
Its pretty nice, actually. As long as the wolves don't start running loose.
And the grizzly bears. Let's keep the grizzly bears over there and us over here.
There's a grizzly now. But don't worry -- he can't get past the moat and the electric fence. Probably.
Just like being in Wyoming.
Now we're going to see a polar bear.
No, Cindy and Katia, not over here. He's in the water.
See? Over there. He's trying to get something, I think.
Ah. He wants to play ball.
It was entertaining to watch him above and below water at the same time.
I think he's bigger underwater.
Come to think of it, we actually will see lions and tigers and bears today.
Oooh, a white tiger. Beautiful.
And lions. See? I told you we saw lions.
Katia is waxing poetic this morning.
Katia says no, her brothers are Garrett and Gavin.
Look! It's the sea lion show!
That little one has a front row seat.
These guys will do anything for a sardine.
And these guys will watch them do it.
Here's a video of highlights of the show.
Show's over. No more sardines for you.
No trip to the zoo would be complete without a visit to the elephant enclosure.
Karen says, "Is it an African or Indian elephant?"
African, of course. Just look at those ears.
Awww. A dead panda.
No, wait. Maybe he's not dead after all.
Karen says he's just resting after eating all that bamboo. Hey, that reminds me of a joke:A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.
'Why?' asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
'Well, I'm a panda,' he says, at the door. 'Look it up.'The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. 'Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'
Well, the panda thought it was funny.