Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday- Bally Vaughn Game Park

So after all of our exploration and learning, we rewarded ourselves to a day of fun on Friday! We all headed off to the game park. Luckily it was a gorgeous day! We pulled into a gorgeous gate and got onto a truck with 2 rows of seats in the back. We drove past some fields and out into an open area that reminded me of National Geographic. Fields, old crooked African looking trees, a herd of zebras and 3 huge elephants, a beautiful, clear blue river flowing below the cliff and green..everywhere.

We walked over to the tree overlooking the edge with a table set up with tea cups for our afternoon tea later on. First, we rode elephants. It was sooo scary! We had to hold on really tight to the elephant trainer & the other person in front of us in order not to fall backwards off the elephant when he stood up (they kneeled down to let us get on their backs). They rode us around the area and the elephants made me laugh. They were all about 18-19 years old and the trainers called them stubborn teenagers because they liked to stop and eat alot. He would yell, "Eli! Eli! Go Eli!" and the elephant would stomp it's foot and hand the trainer rocks and sticks with its trunk for treats. It was such an experience. The elephants definitely had personality.

While we were waiting for the other group to have their turn on the elephants, we got REAL close to the zebras and got some great pictures. We also shared tea outside under the cool looking tree and walked down the trail to the river where we got on big canoes painted like zebras! We canoed up and down the river and got to see all the beautiful scenery. But we were warned not to fall in or we'd be infested with parasites. Gross. Luckily we didn't fall in!

After our canoing experience, we headed back to the truck and took a tour of their zoo area. They had monkeys, lizards, chickens, a BIG fat smelling pig, among other animals. The coolest part of that was seeing a wild monkey wandering around torturing the monkeys that were still in the cage. And Bud impersonating a baboon and making the baboons go CRAZY in their cages trying to figure out where the baboon call was coming from! Funny.

Then it was lunch time. We drove through large open fields filled with wilderbeasts (sp?), zebras, zonkeys (zebra mixed with a donkey), giraffes, cape buffalo, and antelope. We finally reached a gorgeous thatched building with a very nice table set up inside all fancy for lunch! our surprise, wild baby lion cubs came out to play! The owners of Balli Vaughn found the cubs abandoned by their mother so they took them home to feed until they are able to be back in teh wild on their own. They were adorable to play with but still had VERY sharp teeth. At one point, the man that worked there told me and Alicia to put our fingers in their mouths...I was like, "Are you serious? I know their babies, but they still have TEETH!" But, sure enough, the cubs were comforted by sucking onour fingers and one cub actually fell asleep with my hand in it's mouth! they were so adorable and I wanted to take them home!

The rest of the afternoon we spent trucking around the park looking at all sorts of animals and learning all about how they live in their environment. They all seemed to have very specific reasons why they act and live a certain way--very contrary to the term "wild". God is so creative, so perfect, and so GREAT at planning our world so exactly. It was amazing to watch these creatures, all so very different, living together. I learned alot that day.


Cape Buffalo--scary things. They got VERY close to us too!

Papa lion. his name was Brutus and he charged at the flimsy little fence that separated him from us. I think we ALL had our lives flash before us, but it was worth it to get these REALLY close up pictures that look like they belong in National Geographic!! He was magnificent.

Zebras and Wildabeasts co-habitating.


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