Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let's Take Pictures at the Franklin Park Zoo!

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Giant Red Panda!

Recently, I returned to the Franklin Park Zoo to tour with some friends who had never been. I took lots of pictures (which you'll see in this post) and of course did a lot of sketches (saving those for the next post) and met lots of interesting people (oh, they'll be in both posts.)

So first off, this giant hay sculpture which greeted us upon entrance to the Zoo. It's here to celebrate the arrival of the newest additions to the FPZ family: a pair of Red Pandas. It's also bound to scare children.

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way.

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Amusing sign

Okay. So, the last time we went to Franklin Park, a large portion of the Zoo was closed off so that the movie "Zookeeper" could be filmed there. As you may imagine, the Zoo has a pretty ambivalent relationship with the movie. On the one hand, certainly attendance has gone up. On the other, how sick do you suppose they are of fielding questions like, "But where are the elephants?" and "You don't really feed the gorillas chain restaurant food, do you?"

Speaking of signs that raise unsettling questions...

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Amusing sign

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Amusing sign

So how often do people wear high heels in the Zoo that it's enough of an issue to warrant mention here? And ye Gods, squirt guns?!? Man, I thought the grown-a** adults banging on the glass or clapping or yelling at the sleeping animals were bastards! (Especially since one such character acted all p*ssy like *I* was in the wrong for asking them to quit it. I'll say it again and I won't apologize. There are times when you wouldn't want to witness people getting messily mauled by angry animals and then there are times like this...)

But we're not here to watch humans acting like bastards; we're here to be mammals looking at dinosaurs!

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Gouldian Finches

As I mentioned before, the Franklin Park Zoo has a truly awesome Aviary. Apparently, and this is based off the testimony of older relatives who visited often when they were younger, this is the oldest part of the Zoo. Currently, it houses everything from Tawny Frogmouths to these Gouldian Finches. I wonder how many people don't know these little fellows were NOT entirely made up by that printer ad campaign?

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Oh, crap...

Okay, who taunted the gorillas?

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Bummer sign

Aw, wah. I was looking forward to seeing these guys again. I love that FPZ houses an excellent selection of my favorite animals, none of which are particularly popular.

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Amusing stuffed animals

Which is to say, this is the place to get a plush version of your favorite unpopular endangered species.

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - Moulting(?) Peacock

These Peafowl were free-roaming throughout the "children's" zoo, which seems to me like a disaster in the making. Now, is this fellow moulting or just growing in a new train?

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - OMG!!!

This Ostrich walked right up to the fence to size me up, it seems. I calmed down quick enough to sketch like crazy and take some reference pictures.

10.22.11 Franklin Park Zoo - OMG 2!!!

Et voila, Ostrich feets! Note to self: use this next time you draw tyrannosaurus feet.


Sketch of the Day!


10.22.11 - Franklin Park Zoo


Albertonykus said...

Love the dinosaurs (and obscure stuffed animals). Laughed out loud at the sketch of the day!

Anonymous said...

"Aw, wah. I was looking forward to seeing these guys again. I love that FPZ houses an excellent selection of my favorite animals, none of which are particularly popular."

Were both hornbills off exhibit or just the female? In any case, I hope they're OK. They're 1 of my favorite FPZ animals when it comes to just watching them go about their business.

"Which is to say, this is the place to get a plush version of your favorite unpopular endangered species."

Is that an AWD btwn the Red Panda & the Anteater? I'm surprised they're not more popular, given how popular dogs are in general.


Marc Vincent said...

I love Bucorvus hornbills too, especially the Southern species. I've noticed that both species seem to carry around detritus like grass or bits of wood in their beaks and strut up to the edge of their enclosure with it. For some reason. At Marwell Zoo, one individual walked alongside me as I walked away from its enclosure, which was sweet...

Warren B. said...

Fantastic post.

"It's also bound to scare children."

It scares me.

"Join us for a tour around Franklin Park Zoo where the movie Zookeeper was filmed!"

You have my condolences.

Gotta say (because this entry reminded me, and I don't know if anyone else would be potentially interested in my babbling) the Belfast Zoo has a pretty good aviary, bird park, and rainforest house (with birds) too. Mostly neglected by visitors in favour of big mammals, but they have some spectacular birds. Turacos, mynahs, several species of cockatoo, Scheepmaker's Crowned Pigeon! etc. etc. No ground hornbills, but some of Von der Decken's.
Oddly I was last there a month ago, also to look at ostriches for dinosaur feet. Beats the raptor-talons and penguin-flippers in some palaeoart. Couldn't get as close as you did, though. Excellent photos!

Oh, and plenty of 'do not bang the glass' signs, too...

Sketch of the Day: Oh man! There's a TV ad here in the UK that makes me fantasize that exact outcome. I hope it shows up in this link (though on the other hand I don't like to inflict it on anyone).