September 14, 2011

Tiger World

Last Saturday we went to an animal refuge a few miles north of us called Tiger World.  They are a small non-profit that dedicates their time to caring for and taking in unwanted, unneeded, abused or neglected wild animals.  It's a peaceful and quiet place with many gorgeous animals in habitats that you can walk right up to!  There were several tigers as well as some lions, bears, wolves, monkeys, turtles, birds, and several other exotic species I can't think of right now.  Some of the enclosures were small, and while it's always a little disheartening to see these big wild animals cooped up in tiny cages, I truly believe that Tiger World is a good organization who is truly dedicated to the rescue and preservation of their animals.

When we told Austin we were going to see some tigers he said, "We're going to Clemson?!"  Man, that boy sure knows how to make his daddy smile!  Not until we got there did he realize we were going to see actual tigers and not watch a football game.  We spent several hours just wondering around and watching the animals.  Many of them were sleeping to which Austin continuously yelled "wake up!"  Owen was pretty amused and didn't even attempt his baby Houdini tricks of wiggling free from Ryan's arms and remained content while being held and looking into each enclosure.  Austin, who has never been extremely taken with animals of any kind (and would probably rather watch the Clemson Tigers play football), got a little bored of seeing cage after cage of animals just sitting there or sleeping...but livened up a little when we happened upon the bears.  We were lucky to walk up on the two grizzly bears, Brutus and Cleo, right after they had their baths.  The trainer was still there and was extremely nice and willing to get the bears to show us some tricks.  Brutus the bear was very entertaining  as he showed us his teeth, stood up on his hind legs and begged for clumps of dirt the trainer had in his hands.  Brutus was my favorite.

After the bears we saw the giant turtles.  If you ask Austin what his favorite part of Tiger World was, he will probably say seeing the turtles...or the peacocks...or walking over the bridge that led to the turtles.  Owen loved chasing the ducks...and climbing in the chairs...and picking up rocks off the ground.  Yep, just what I had hoped to accomplish by taking my boys to an exotic animal let them see ducks and turtles and walk through loose gravel and over log bridges.  At least Ryan and I really enjoyed seeing the rare and endangered species...

Even though the boys weren't as excited as I had hoped about seeing the lions and tigers and bears (oh my)!  It was still a very fun and successful trip which we topped off with a picnic among some geese and peacocks and about 12 gazillion flys.  Apparently, however, Austin and Owen would be just as amused watching football or visiting a farm or even a pet store.  Maybe in a few more years....

Ready to see some Tigers!

Austin vs. Peacock 

Walking off among the geese... 

Owen spotting his first tiger!

Austin telling the tiger to get down off that house 

Taking a break in front of the bears 

Brutus showing his teeth 

Big Brutus!

I'm free!!

Mr. Turtle....Austin's favorite

I think this monkey was trying to escape so he could claw my face off.  I called him a pretty monkey in a high pitched voice and I don't think he was too pleased.  Probably because he is a baboon and tired of people constantly mistaking him for a monkey...

Snack time! 

When Austin saw this tiger he said he looked sad... he gave the tiger statue a kiss to make him feel better....since he couldn't give the actual tiger a kiss.

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