... and then we pet a koala

So we fun kids had a whale of a time at the Columbus Zoo {there are no whales at the zoo, but saying "elephant of a time" just sounds weird...}! As luck would have it, Drew has become good friends with Jack Hanna, the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo {also the cool guy showing promotional animals on late night tv shows}, & we were fortunate enough to be given a "VIP tour" of the zoo. To the point that we, three 24-year-olds, were escorted around the grounds in a golf cart as plenty of stroller-pushing moms & cane-wielding octogenarians gave us scowls as we passed. It was awesome.

So a VIP tour at the Columbus Zoo entails a very informed docent named Susan taking you to a few habitats so that the keepers/handlers of specific animals can give you 30 minutes of their valuable time to tell you about their animals & answer all your Drew's questions. We learned about gorilla hierarchies, the wonder of the recently discovered okapi {recently being in the last century}, the expensive diet of the koalas {$50k delivery of eucalyptus anyone?}, & the sad reality facing the survival of the polar bear.

^^ Meet Colo, the first gorilla to be born in captivity. She's nearing the age of 58, which is quite the milestone considering the average age for gorillas is in the 30's...^^
^^ This spunky lady would be my gorilla hero. She broke the whole "no one contradicts the head gorilla (male)" thing, by marching right up to him & knocking the water hose he was using away because she was thirsty. Now apparently that would usually result in some sort of conflict, but the head honcho was so amused by her actions that she's now considered his mate ^^
^^ Meet the okapi. Wouldn't you guess that he's related to a zebra? Nope. He's actually the cousin to one of my favorites, the giraffe. This dude has a wicked long tongue {the picture shows probably half its length} & up until the turn of the 20th century, no one knew his breed existed simply because they are the definition of covert. Olly olly oxen freeeeee!^^
^^ Did I mention we pet a koala??? I guess I did in the title, but just making sure ;) By the way, their fur is super dense^^
^^ & let's not forget how awkward we all felt standing in the koala habitat while all the normal zoo-goers are staring at us through the glass. Awkward.^^
^^Fa-la-la-la-la... I'm just basking in the sun, hoping for a bottle of Coca-Cola to come my way...^^
^^& then there's the domestic animals trying to earn their own habitat to live in. Tough life for a cranky pants^^
^^Perhaps my favorite story of the day, on the first day of this dude's habitat opening... nay the first 20 seconds... he escaped by jumping a giant ravine up onto boulder on the other side & down into the zoo grounds. Oh, & the males can't jump as high/far as the females. Thankfully, the zoo hadn't opened to the public yet that day & {needless to say}, he & his friends now have a net stopping their excursions to tour the other continents.^^
^^ Don't they just scream mischievous???^^
^^ The flamingo wins the Sassiest Zoo Animal Award easily. But the real question is: is that duck suffering from an identity crisis?^^

& thus concludes our photo explosion tour of the zoo {I knew you were wondering "Will it ever end??"}. Thanks Drew for taking us to see all the cool animals & for putting up with the repetitive introduction of "This is Drew. He's friends with Jack" to show us a good time :)

*13.64% of these pictures were taken by my phone. All the rest are thanks to the talented Drew Napier, friend of Jack Hanna {haha}.