Saturday, September 5, 2009

Zoo Zaniness

DH took the day off yesterday, and we went to the MN Zoo in Apple Valley. Holiday weekends are great for going there, as everyone else heads out of town, so it's not too crowded. The weather was perfect - sunny, but not too hot. My son was in a good mood; he's 13, so good moods are not as common as they once were...

We were going to do a leisurely stroll through the Zoo, but there was excitement at every turn... Full moon effect? The otters were fighting over a branch, the monkeys were playing tag and diving into their pool, the tigers, wolves and leopards were out and active... and then there were the bears...

There's a Russian Grizzly exhibit at the Zoo The last time I was there, you couldn't even see a whole bear... just the butt as it was napping. It was twitching it's claws as it slept, just like my cats... only about a million times bigger! When we walked into the "lava tube" cave with the bear observation portal, there were 2 bears swimming in the pool, and one up on a hill. Soon, the hill bear charged down the hill straight into a tree, where it leapt up, climbed about 20 feet up, and sat. Note to self: climbing a tree won't get you away from a bear. He can climb faster, and his 7-inch claws make it easy.

The two swimming bears were very aware of the people watching them. I could almost hear them cataloging us by taste, as they watched us, watching them. "Hmmm... that one would be easy to catch... look! That one looks young & delicious! Which one would you eat first?"

Then... one found a stick. And the other wanted to play with the stick, too. No sharing was going on, and the snubbed bear started shoving. Stick forgotten, the first bear got into his face, and mututal intimidation moves started. Then some playful ducking sand biting... until one bit the other's face a little too hard and two tons of fur, teeth and claws started to really go at it! They fought for about 45 minutes... mainly 8 feet away, but at one point they were just on the other side of the plexiglass. My heart was hammering, seeing full-length and close-up, this kind of action! And I was hoping the plexiglass held! What an amazing experience!

More of my Zoo pics here:


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. If you get a chance to take more pictures of the precious bears, please send them.
    It would be appreciated. Thanks to precious Knut, lovely Flocke and darling L'il Smokey, I have become an avid bear fan. Thanks for these wonderful photos and cute bear story.
    Submitted by: Karen V. Stefanini, Beautiful Back Bay, Boston, MA

  2. Thank you for really beautiful photos. You have managed really to shoot the bear :-)