You say safari, I say Photoshop

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Other times, the photograph needs an explanation. Such is the case with the photo evidence from our visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the zoo’s facility in Escondido where animals such as elephants, giraffes and antelope species have a lot more room to roam about. The idea is it’s like you’re on a safari. We walked among the lemurs, rode a tram to see a cheetah and rhinos, and fed nectar to beautiful rainbow lorikeets. Mostly, the day went as planned, but I’m not gonna lie. There were a few Griswold moments.

Leaping lemurs! 

Leaping lemurs! This photo was totally worth $20. It's going to be our Christmas card this year.

This photo was totally worth $20. It’s going to be our Christmas card this year.

Here we are cavorting with the lemurs! I don’t know what it is about attractions, but super-imposing animals into photographs has become a thing. They do this at SeaWorld, where the photo looks like you’re holding a baby penguin, and also at the San Diego Zoo. Outside the entrance to Lemur Walk they make you stand a certain way, cradling your arms or throwing your shoulder back just so, then one of the hired photographers takes your family’s picture and hands you a photo card with a bar code on it. Lo and behold at the end of the day when you go to the photo booth to see your portrait, it’s as if you’ve been cast into a non-cartoon remake of Madagascar. Naturally, it’s so cheesy you shell out the $20. It should be noted that the real lemurs inside the exhibit do not pose like in the picture. Mostly, they sleep up in trees.

You lookin’ at me, kid?

Bennett stares down a lorikeet.

Bennett stares down a rainbow lorikeet.

We moved on to Lorikeet Landing to hold these colourful birds. The things is, they won’t hop onto your arm unless you buy some nectar to feed them. So here’s Bennett trying to pet a lorikeet that kept hopping away from him. Finally, he put his arms down and the bird looked at him as if to say, “So, um, where’s my food dude?” It goes without saying I immediately exited the exhibit to purchase two dose cup-sized servings of liquid sugar. I think it keeps the lorikeets sane (or at least stops them from pecking your eyes out).

Redneck safari

Bennett channels his inner bumpkin boy on the Africa Tram.

Bennett channels his inner bumpkin on the Africa Tram.

To say that Bennett can sometimes be difficult at the most inopportune times is an understatement. The kid excels at it. So there we were not three minutes in to our 30-minute tram safari when Avery and Bennett start fighting. More specifically, Bennett decides to repeatedly push Avery for no apparent reason. I separate them by sitting between them and then I try to distract Bennett by pointing out the rhinos and elephants and giraffes.

Bennett: “I have to go pee.”

Me: “You’ll have to wait.”

Bennett: “I’m hungry.”

Me: “You just ate lunch. Look at the animals.”

Bennett: “I don’t like this shirt.”

What can you say to that? But Bennett had a plan. He took his shirt off and completed the safari in true NASCAR-fan style. Later, at the splash park, he ran around until his shorts and underpants were sopping wet. I guess I should be glad he didn’t have a tantrum somewhere for good measure.

But all of these silly incidents are what we’ll remember most when we think about the safari park in years to come. What’s more, we’ve got photos that perfectly illustrate our weird and wonderful safari adventures.



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