Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘bears’

Chillin’ Out at the Columbus Zoo

Zoo Entrance with just snow flurries upon arrival.

Zoo Entrance with just snow flurries upon arrival. That soon changed.

Have cabin fever? Put on your warmest clothes and visit the Columbus Zoo for an entertaining, learning experience. Upon arrival,  a few snow flakes bounced through the air, but before long the zoo was blanketed in a cover of white.

Even on a crisp, cold winter day, the zoo had many visitors, although just a small portion when compared to a summer visit. Many animals were inside display areas or tucked away in barns just waiting for the summer season to arive, but there was still much to enjoy.

Snow covered Asian Quest very soon.

Snow quickly covered Asia Quest.

While the present Columbus Zoo opened in 1937, Jack Hanna, graduate of Muskingum College, developed the zoo into one of the best zoos in the United States. Hanna served as director from 1978-93 and still serves as director emeritus. Today over 9,000 animals live there.

This young elephant was inside bars during petting and feeding.

This young elephant was inside bars during petting and feeding.

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium provides something for everyone through five main areas: North America, Asia Quest, Australia & Islands, Congo, and Heart of Africa, the newest exhibit, which was closed on this visit. Still numerous displays make a visit worthwhile and memorable during the winter months, without the usual stops at the many gift shops and snack stands along the way.

While it’s impossible to mention all the adventures this winter day, here are a few gypsy highlights.

Hank, the largest elephant in a North American zoo weighed in at 15,600 pounds and measured 9’5″ tall. That’s one big elephant! People had the opportunity to pet and feed one of the smaller elephants, who kept looking for more treats.

Two Siberian Tigers lounge on top of their cave.

Two Siberian Tigers lounge on top of their cave.

Outside on Tiger Walk, several Siberian Tigers lounged in the snow, while one snuggled up in a corner of a stone cave. They watched movements carefully, probably ready to pounce at the slightest provocation.

Discovery Reef's Aquarium provides a break in the day.

Discovery Reef’s Aquarium provides a warm break in the day where you can sit and watch the fish among the coral reefs.

On a winter day, you might want a break from the cold, and a chance to rest your legs. Several possibilities exist. The giganitic Aquarium at Discovery Reef provides bleacher seats to watch the antics of the fish in a 100,000 gallon salt water aquarium. When you observe all the different species of fish from around the world swimming peacefully together, it seems there might be a lesson for those watching.

Close by, manatees also entertain as they pull lettuce and cabbage as a tasty treat from the surface of the water. Or perhaps you might want to slither over to the Reptile Building to see the snakes, lizards, and even turtles.

Two polar bears roll in the snow.

Two polar bears roll in the snow.

Visit North American’s Polar Frontier, which opened in 2010, to watch polar bears enjoy the new fallen snow. They like to be clean and dry as dirty fur provides little insulation, so they take a bath by rolling in the snow. Imagine the polar bears thought the weather perfect.

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Of one thing you can be certain, every day’s a different experience while at the zoo. You never know what the animals will do next. Go to the zoo any season of the year!

To visit Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, take I-270 around Columbus, Ohio and use Exit 20. From there you will see signs directing you to the zoo. You’re sure to have a great day!

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My Gypsy Christmas Tree

Gypsy Christmas Tree

My Gypsy Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Thy leaves are so unchanging.

Alien from Roswell, NM helps bear trim the tree.

Alien from Roswell helps bear trim the tree.

My favorite Christmas decoration is the Christmas Tree. Each ornament brings back special memories made over the years.

As a child, my memories of Christmas always centered around a pine tree. Under the tree, wrapped packages magically appeared each Christmas morning. One of the first presents I remember was a chalkboard with the alphabet written around the edge – just in time for first grade. My parents obviously encouraged my writing at a very early age.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Those were the days when dad would take me in his pick-up truck down Hopewell Hill to a hillside of trees where we would pick out the very best one. Dad would saw it down, carry it down the hill, and place it in the back of the pick-up.  All the way home my eyes would be out the back window, making certain that tree remained on board.

Although mom wasn’t a big fan of decorating, she would put on the lights, then let me decorate the part of the tree that I could reach. Perhaps you can see why the Christmas tree became an important, fun part of the holiday.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

Over the years, ornaments have been accumulated from various places. Once I began my Gypsy Road Trips, when I came upon a spot I truly enjoyed, my search for an ornament began.

Now my Christmas tree looks like a Gypsy Tree with ornaments from all over the United States. No pattern or special design adorns this tree, just pleasant memories. Sometimes it takes a week to decorate as each ornament brings back happy times spent on the road. Oh, there are still a few from long ago and even some received from students in my classes, but most of them are travel treasures.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

As you can probably tell, bears have a special place in my heart and they are seen in many of the ornaments hanging on my tree. There are definitely too many to share at one time, so perhaps next year you will be treated to more of the special memories hanging on my Gypsy Christmas Tree.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. May you find peace and happiness under your Christmas tree.

As Santa would say as he drove out of sight,  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

My Gypsy Tree lights up the evening.

My Gypsy Christmas Tree lights up the evening.

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