Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Today we went to the Long Island Game Farm with a group of homeschooling friends. We hadn't been there in years, since Ben was riding in a stroller, so it was nice. It's funny how many things are so close by and yet we don't take advantage of them for years at a time...I guess it's just nice that we have options.
Anyway, if you haven't been there, it is a cross between a zoo and a farm (someone who heard me speak of it asked in horror if we were going there to hunt! LOL) There are "wild" animals like giraffes, zebras, cougars, kangaroos, monkeys, coatimundi, lemurs and alligators, but then there are pigs, chickens, ducks, llamas, deer, goats, donkeys, sheep, horses, cows, rabbits and the like. There is also a carousel, a train ride and a tea cup ride, pony rides, a discovery center with shells, antlers, turtles etc. as well as some shows--a big cat show, a talk about alligators, feedings at various exhibits.
Julia and Emma loved holding the ducklings! We were there for about an hour all told. And they also liked the duck enclosure where the adults lived--you can turn on a shower for them and they all come over, quacking and ready to get wet. Another big attraction is the fact that many of the animals can be fed, either by hand or through tubes, where you put pellets in and they are so conditined that they suck it in before it ever reaches the trough! It's funny to go into Bambiland, as they call the deer pen, and have forty deer descend upon you for the food. They are so tame, and yet they sure do love to eat! You see a lot of kids excited to feed the deer who then freak out when they become the center of the crowd...
We headed down a woodland trail from the Discovery Center late in the afternoon and spent some time in front of a huge enclosure with parrots in it--they danced if you sang and tried to imitate noises we made. Then further down we saw some spider monkeys and headed over. I noticed there was a pulley with a cup on it that would go to the top of the enclosure, where a little platform box stuck out in the air. The idea was that the monkeys could get into the box and reach the cup to take out the food. We still had some pellets in our cup, so we tried it. The monkey was excited when he heard the clink in the cup and saw it ascend--but when he saw the pellets, he threw them down in disgust. I guess if I had a hundred people a day try to give me those pellets, I might object too!
There was a group already there with two moms, a grandma and several kids. The grandma got excited when she thought the monkey would eat the pellets for us--but when she saw he didn't, she said that they had tried too, and a keeper going by told her they loved grapes. Of course, none of us had grapes. I watched the kids for a bit, calling to and watching the monkeys, and then realized--I'd brought oranges for a snack!
Well, it was the cutest thing to see these monkeys eat the oranges! I ended up peeling all five--section by section I doled them out, some for us and some for our furry friends. The smaller monkey sat in the platform part of the cage, hooting for the cup to be pulled up. He'd grab the orange out and pick it apart, peeling the pith off and throwing it away just as we do, and breaking each section into two or three pieces to daintily pop into his mouth. I felt sorry for the larger one, who either couldn't or wouldn't fit into the platform, so I experimentally tossed a section towards the cage--and he reached right out and grabbed it through the bars.
I had a tense moment when a keeper came by and Ben excitedly informed him we were feeding the monkeys oranges-- I thought we might be reprimanded for feeding them unapproved food. But he just said thanks so much--oranges are good for them, and he didn't understand why the farm didn't sell bananas and grapes to feed the monkeys, since they loved them so much....whew! Anyway, we were all disappointed when we had no more fruit to give away, and went on to the alligator show. It was a fun afternoon!