As you, my readers, may know, I am a culture-and-animal lover. Because of this, I love, love, LOVE to travel. I want to travel to Fiji, Asia, Europe, and all around the world!
It is my dream to explore known and unknown nature. So, going to the Dallas Zoo’s Hakuna Matata spring break camp was definetly a dream come true for me!!!
As I promised, I am writing about my wonderful experience.
At the camp, we learned a lot about food chains and food webs. We discovered that food chains are a process of how different animals eat each other to gain energy. A food web is different food chains connected. In the Lion King, (one of my fave movies), they talk about The Circle Of Life, and how everything is interconnected.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (which are a good type of cockroach) stopped by our class. They make three hissing sounds: For defending territory, warning, and mating. They also have hooks on their feet to hang upside down. An African monitor, or lizard, visited us, too!
We played an awesome game were we all played “Rock, paper, scissors, shoot” to move up the food chain scale. It was so fun! Here is my drawing of an US Food Chain:
Our wonderful teachers talked about the Zoo’s Species Plan, which helps animals from different zoos breed and have strong and healthy young. Different zoos switch animals so they can breed, since they have different features, or genetic makeup. A wide variety of different combinations of genes is the best for good babies.
At the Safari Basecamp, we saw an African elephant’s skull, foot, and teeth. They were HUGE! We learned that elephants get six pairs of four teeth in their lifetime, since they wear teeth out when they eat bark, twigs, nuts, and fruit. I loved to see the elephants. When they are born, they weigh around 250 and 350 pounds, while adult females can weigh 8,000 pounds! Males could be about 16,000 pounds! We also learned they have long-lasting bonds.
We saw a Rock Hyrax, and I was surprised that this mole-like rodent could be related to an elephant. In the same exhibit, there was a small deer-like Klipspringer. A Klipspringer has a rubbery texture on hooves to jump from rock to rock. It also has keen eyesight to spot predators.
The chimpanzees were climbing and playing (I was able to spot one at the very top) and we discovered that they use nature-made tools, much like gorillas, which we also saw. I was fascinated to learn male gorillas are called silverbacks. Both apes are much like humans!
In the Lacerte Children’s Zoo, we went to the amazing nature exchange, were we could exchange things we found in nature for other natural objects!
My sister once did a report on Mandrills, so it was awesome to see them live. Males are bigger and are more colorful, and will yawn in front of predators to show sharp teeth.
I was delighted to see my favorite animals, the Lesser and Caribbean Flamingoes. Caribbeans are more colored. All flamingoes eat crabs and fish in order to get their pink color, though babies are fuzzy and grey when born.
For the first time ever, I saw an Okapi, a zebra/giraffe, with a long, sticky, tongue. It was so cute! Because of their striped and plain parts of their body, they can easily hide. We had to be very quite so it wouldn’t run away!
We saw white-cheeked gibbons, swinging from branches up to 50 ft. apart, around 35 mph! I was amazed when I learned they are actually apes, because they have no tail, their arms are longer than their legs, and they travel beneath branches.
It fun to see the hogs (hi, Pumba!), looking for roots with their snouts and pushing logs around. The Red River hog is nocturnal, so it’s usuallly more active during that time, while the Warthog is a day animal and it can run up to 34 mph due to its long legs.
At the Lemur Lookout, I was excited to FINALLY see the black and white ruffed lemurs came out, which hang upside down to drink and eat nectar and fruit. Their body is 20 inches long while their tail is a few inches longer. The ring-tailed lemur (King Julian) has scent glands which they rub on trees to mark their territory. Collared lemurs are brown, so their coat is great for camouflage.
The Central American Spider Monkeys were quite a sight, leaping to trees. Their tails are unique, like fingers prints, and can hold their bodies! Can you believe their tail can grasp things as small as a sunflower seed? These intelligent monkeys rub lime and/or fig leaves on themselves as repellent.
We saw the penguins during mealtime, eagerly eating fish. I discovered they are camouflaged specially so they are not hunted. From the top, they are black, like the water. From under the sea, light is white, so their bellies are white.
We were not able to see the Meerkats, but I learned that they babysit while others find food, or guard the territory.
We saw two types of Tamarins, Golden Lion and Cotton Top. The Golden Lion Tamarin digs deep in the trees to get bugs and grubs. The Cotton Top Tamarin makes many different sounds, soft chirping, howling, and whistles. I can’t believe that they have their own language!
The lions were majestic while they napped. We saw some females pouncing on each other for fun. A zoo keeper told us that if we don’t help, they’ll go extinct in the next 14 or 15 years, so I am determined to do something to help.
Our teachers were very kind and taught us a lot. They explained many things that I did not understand, so they were very helpful. I loved learning with them! I love how our teachers told us to respect everyone, including the animals.
I also made a lot of new friends! We made easy and fun fold-up lions and food chain cootie catchers. I got an awesome Spring Break T-shirt, too!
It was an amazing experience and I hope to be back “zoon”!
BTW, I have an awesome video I made on iMovie on YouTube so please check it out below!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a good Spring Break! I encourage you to join me, and visit the Dallas Zoo!