Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amazing Experience

See the man in khaki, leading the elephants? That is Darryl Hoffman, world renowned expert in elephants and large animals. He also happens to be the husband of my buddy Deborah and the father of Levi's friend Dylan. We got to spend the day at the zoo with them and it was the most amazing. once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I have pictures to prove it!

This is Tessa and her baby girl Tupelo, on their way to their daily bath. 
 We got to watch from right outside the enclosure as they started bathing them. Tupelo was more interested in our kids than the bath at this point. 
 She wanted to smell them and touch them, just like a human kid meeting other kids would do.
 All of the elephants receive training as part of their enrichment program. In fact, these elephants are treated like royalty. Their poop never even hits the ground. They have people around the clock just for pooper scooping. Every day they have special events planned for the elephants to give them enjoyment. They give them toys to play with, fruit frozen in large tubs of ice to eat, watermelons, etc.

They are just about to open a new section of the elephant area that will triple the size of their space and also give them a small lake to swim in.  There are trees and shade areas and large wooden scratching posts, too. These animals are very loved and doted on. 
 Oh yes we did! We got to go in WITH Tessa and Tupelo!!! You have no idea how huge these animals are until you stand right underneath one. Get a load of Ahren's eyes in the above photo. Her skin was soft and thick and textured like large orange peel.
 They are surprisingly nimble for such huge creatures.
 We also got to bathe them! Seriously, this was the most exciting, amazing thing, to be actually scrubbing an elephant and her baby!!
 That's Dylan in with Levi. Dylan was our tour guide for the day. He knows the zoo inside and out and proved to be an excellent tour guide. 
 Bubbly baby.
 Even my big kid was loving the experience.

Thank you so much Hoffmans for the experience of a lifetime!!!!!!


MJ's Mommy said...

Thank you, girlfriend, for letting little Miss MJ come along for the ride! What an amazing experience! She will carry this memory with her for life! Awesome! Love ya!

Reba said...

Do you know how very envious I am? What a very fun day. I really cannot imagine a better way to spend it!