Anchorage Sunrise: 4:59am Sunset: 11:11pm High Temp: 73° Low Temp: 43°
It's rare that I have TWO interesting events happen in the same day, but today I did! Today was the day of the client's Summer Picnic at the Anchorage Zoo! Yes, Anchorage has a zoo, with actual animals! The zoo is open year-round, but this is the first time I've gone (for some reason, looking at animals in sub-freezing temperatures has never appealed to me). Their choice of animals heavily favors cold-loving, local fauna; e.g. bears, moose, musk oxen, and ravens. For Anchorage, having ravens in the zoo is like the Portland zoo having an exhibit for robins. But who am I to criticize? For those visitors who have never seen a raven, it must be a treat.
My zoo picnic experience was about as good as it gets for such events. Stan and I carpooled there together, and promptly found an empty parking space in a very full lot. We arrived just as the gates opened for the sponsored crowd, so we hardly had to wait in line to get in. We located the picnic buffet line just as it opened, so we were among the first to go through (avoiding the HUGE line in place by the time we finished). During our tour of the zoo, we encountered the key client managers and chatted them up a bit, but didn't get trapped in any long, work-related conversations (and didn't even have to fall back on asking "Hey, is that a rabbit?" and running off when they look). Highlights were:
So within two hours we came, we ate, and we saw the zoo. About the only thing we skipped was the face-painting, but since there was no alcohol allowed, we were too sober to indulge. My only regret is that we didn't see any penguins. They must have all gone south for the summer.
- A huge brown bear (here's some trivia to win bar bets: brown bear, grizzly bear, and Kodiak bear are different regional names for the same species).
- An orphaned baby musk ox (who was way too cute, especially when we walked away and he followed us to the end of his pen. I would have taken him home if I could).
- The very impressive Siberian tiger, who lounged regally and rolled on his back like a housecat. Not to minimize the life-threatening aspects of Alaskan animals, but the tiger's fence was over twenty feet tall, with an electric wire around the top. No other animal there had anything like it, which tells me that the possibility of the tiger jumping or climbing over a 20' fence was real enough to justify the hot wire "just in case." I hope they keep him well fed.