San Antonio Zoo

Lance didn't have to work on Wednesday, so we decided to keep him busy. We got him to drive us all (except Jordan, who did have to work) to the zoo. On the way he stopped to show us the Japanese Tea Garden. This beautiful area was the brainchild of City Park Commissioner Ray Lambert. In 1915 he had big ideas, a few designs, and no money. He managed to get a few donations and some prison laborers, and created something wonderful. During WWII it was briefly called the Chinese Garden, but after the war it was rededicated as the Japanese Tea Garden. A recent facelift has restored all it's beauty. An open pagoda-like area, built of flat, stacked rocks, stands at the front.
From there you get a good view of carefully-arranged paths and banks.
That green expanse of water holds a lot of big, friendly, and always-hungry Koi.
On the other side of the big pond is a tall waterfall. The bridge that crossed over to it curves across the water in three arches, topped with upright rocks which give it a slight resemblance to an Oriental dragon, slinking across to the other side.
Next we headed on to the zoo. Near the zoo entrance are the Flamingos. These pretty things fascinated me today. They either wadded their necks up in impossible positions,
or stood tall, stretched up to their full height, like they were trying to impress someone. 
The otters were the most fun to watch; they effortlessly slipped in and out of the water and tumbled about like fat puppies. 

Big cats are always breathtaking. I loved the look of the Jaguar, a big, muscular cat with a beautiful coat. 
Liam was happy to see him, too. Only the glass separated them but if it hadn't been there, I'm sure the cat would have just leapt away, into the trees. 
They have two tigers who are sisters in a very large area. They were restless because the lions next door were roaring loudly as they shuffled for priority during lunch. 
The zoo has a lot of monkeys, snakes and mammals, but one of the best exhibits was the underwater section. Jellyfish are really pretty, if they cannot sting you.
The dwarf crocodiles were surprisingly photogenic; probably because they are so good at remaining perfectly still.
And the tiny seahorses were so cute. I know these are more work than I want to do, but I sure would like an aquarium like this one. 
From those tiny little things to the big, ponderous hippos. They weren't doing much, just resting underwater. Once every few minutes she would raise her head a bit, take in an easy breath, then submerge again.
Back outside we found ourselves in another area populated by water birds. Lance decided that Liam should get a better look at them, so he hoisted Liam up so he could stand on the wall. And then....
Fortunately a nearby staff member got a net and fished his shoe out of the pond. 

We fed the Lories, too. The zoo has a pretty sweet deal with this; people like me pay $1.50 for a tiny cup of nectar to feed the birds. When I walked into the Lory area, several birds landed on me, pried the plastic lid off the cup, and quickly drank all the nectar. But I gladly paid up, just to be close to this sweet little thing.
Liam is the perfect age to enjoy the beautiful Merry-Go-Round at the Zoo. He held onto the pole, and Mom held onto him, just in case.
And before we left for the day, Liam climbed aboard the big lion pride statue at the front. Uncle Randy was nearby to lend a helping hand. 

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