We took the kids to an awesome place called Safari West in Santa Rosa, of all places. It's a non-profit zoo like place that keeps African animals in natural settings. The tents are imported from Africa so help drive local commerce there, and the gift shop is full of indigeneous art, etc. It's really an interesting place! It's family owned, and the atmosphere is supportive and educational.
This is an addax.
This is the addax, grazing far up on the hill.
The hornbill, chilling before the Egyptian hens crowd him.
These cheetahs look so mellow now, but when they saw Sam, who is the size of their prey, the completely changed character and we were told not to let him linger or make eye contact.
These eland were the first animals that Peter, the owner of Safari West, owned. He used them to clear a huge patch of brambles so he could later keep cattle grazing on the land. He fell in love with the eland, expanded his collection of animals, moved them north to Santa Rosa, and opened Safari West.
These gentle giraffes are as friendly and gentle as they are tall.
Jake and Eleni put out their hands to make friends, and the others all started coming over.
Even shy Sam let the giraffes smell him.
This is a giraffe's eye view-that is Jake's baseball cap bill in the picture. We are in the top of the jeep.
Peter gave Sam some lettuce leaves
to feed the giraffes. What a treat! The giraffe tongue is dark to keep it
from getting sun burned while eating the leaves at the top, and unshaded parts, of trees on the savannah.
The kids couldn't get enough of them. They were really amazing.
This is some sort of horn-billed bird that just hops around the place, looking for friendly (or just messy) eaters.
Massai cattle, including one giving birth (literally!) while we watched. (Third cow from the left.)
The other cattle come to check out the new babe.
These cows didn't even notice anything was going on.
An ostrich, which is quite a fast runner, just grazing near some huts.
Eleni and the talking parrot. (Say Hello, Elaine!)
Coming down the path on the back side of the mountain, away from the huts.
They say this gazelle (?), whose horns are quite straight, may be the source of the unicorn legend.
They call the zebras the naughty neighbors there, with jokes about their stripes being prison uniforms.
Evidently, they are quite troublesome, and can do some real damage to runts and other animals, too!