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Thylo's Travel Log!

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by ThylacineAlive, 24 Jul 2013.

  1. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys! Several ZooChatters that go away traveling have made travel threads for their adventures so I thought I'd post one, too. Not that my travels are as extravagant or foreign as some others.

    Since I'm young, for quite some time I generally just visited zoos and aquariums that were closer to me such as the Bronx Zoo and the Mystic Aquarium. But as I've become a much more serious zoo visitor, I've begun to travel more to visit zoological facilities. The first zoological facility that wasn't within close proximity to that I visited was ZooAmerica in July 2012. Sure, I was only there because we were visiting the amusement park and had only heard of the zoo after arrival, but I was still on that vacation to visit a zoo. Two days later, I had finally made it to the first zoo I planned a trip to visit: the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. That was a great trip and it really opened me up to the world of traveling to visit zoos.

    Then, just two weeks ago today (Tuesday), I embarked on my largest zoo vacation to date! I had traveled to Newport, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio in order to visit the Newport Aquarium and Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. That trip was also fantastic and brought me many new species (not that I've tallied it up just yet!).

    Now, tomorrow, July 24, 2013, I'm leaving to go on my next zoo vacation. Okay, technically this is just a family vacation but I'm planning to visit three zoological facilities so I'm counting it! I'm leaving early in the morning and flying down to Tampa, Florida. While in Florida I shall be traveling between Tampa and Orlando and, within two weeks of vacationing, I shall be hopefully visiting Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, SeaWorld Orlando, and Discovery Cove. I hope to keep those interested in my small but lovely travels updated on events and visits and answer any questions on the facilities I shall be visiting/visited.

    Now I understand that my travels aren't as big as Chlidonias going to Asia or Hix going to Uganda but I'm only 15 so these travels are the start of a greater zoological experience.

    Since my current travels aren't so big I made this thread as a place to talk about all of them as I go along as I do have plans for future travels that are quite realistic though they may still not be as big as Asia or Africa just yet and they may be few and far between.

    Since my travels are zoo travels I thought I'd put this in the General Zoo Discussion forum but, mods, feel free to move this thread to wherever you see fit!:)

    Thanks for reading!

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
    Last edited: 24 Jul 2013
  2. TheOnlineZoo

    TheOnlineZoo Well-Known Member

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    I realize that you are limited to what your family is willing to endure, but if you are in Orlando, the Central Florida Zoo is about a half hour away in Sanford and the Brevard Zoo is about an hour and a half away in Melbourne. And of course, there is the Disney Animal Kingdom.

    I was NOT impressed with the Central Florida Zoo, but the Brevard Zoo was surprisingly nice for a small zoo. If you happen to make it to the Brevard Zoo, see if they still offer the behind-the-scenes tour. It was not expensive and was very educational. I have never been to the Disney Animal Kingdom, but I have heard it is nice (and expensive).

    BTW, I really liked Lowry Park. You can get a preview of what you will see here: The Online Zoo - Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

    Enjoy your trip!
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    did you do that trip solo or with your family? If it was solo then good job to you and to your parents for letting you do it, but if it was with your family then you have great parents for taking you on a trip for that sole purpose!
     
  4. Phantom Gaur

    Phantom Gaur Well-Known Member

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    A couple more that you could check out because they are right in that area are Busch Gardens and Safari Wilderness. I went to both of them this past March when I did my trip from Miami up to Nashville. Safari Wilderness has Forest Buffalo.
     
  5. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I realized there are lots of great zoos and aquariums in the areas I will be in but unfortunately those three places are the only I'll be getting to. I do have family in Orlando, though, and places to stay so I do hope to one day get back down there and do a larger zoo vacation down there in a couple of years.

    And thanks for the link! You do realize, though, that both the zoo's "Reticulated Giraffes" and "Bengal Tigers" are hybrids, right? And, for the record, the bearded pigs are now gone, the Colobus guereza you photographed are actually Colobus angolensis, and your first Schmidt's Guenon photo is actually of a Wolf's Guenon. Besides that, thanks for the list! I didn't realize that they had Schmidt's Guenons there nor Lowland Anoa (or maybe I just forgot or something).

    It wasn't a solo trip but I didn't go with my whole family. I went with my Mother as she's the one that really worked the most to make this happen and planned it as a great surprised for me (and totally worth being my only Christmas present!:D). I do have to hand it to my brother and sister, though, as they were trapped in a White Plains apartment for the 5 days we were there. And I got the dates wrong, I left for the Cincy trip two weeks from yesterday, not today.

    I've yet to actually travel or even go to a zoo without at least one parent accompanying me but that may chance very soon. Before school starts again me and my friend were thinking of taking a train into New York City for a day and, among other things, go to the Central Park Zoo. If it happens, it will be my first time traveling a significant distance without an adult and my first time going to a zoo without one as well. And with my 16th birthday coming up in September, I hope to both get a job and at least my permit so that I can begin taking a more independent role in my zoo visiting.

    We originally planned to go to Busch Gardens but things didn't turn out as planned so the idea was dropped to my horror after finding out that they had species such as Cape Buffalo and Ground Cuscus! If I remember correctly my Mother told me that Discovery Cove gave us either discounted or free tickets to both DAK (it might actually have been that we know someone that could have gotten us free tickets) and Busch Gardens along with free tickets to Aquatica and SeaWorld. We are only going to be able to use the tickets for the latter.

    I've never heard of Safari Wilderness so thanks for the heads-up about it and now I know one place that has Forest Buffalo that's easier to get to then San Diego:) How many do they have?

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  6. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Really nice travel blog. You write really well - definitely better than I do.
     
  7. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Just to put things in perspective, when I was 15 the only zoos I had visited were Taronga Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Natureland Zoo (now closed), Birdworld (also closed), Currumbin Sanctuary, Fleays Fauna Reserve and Seaworld.

    Taronga was 10 miles from my house, one bus and a short walk away, so I had visited it several times. Apart from Melbourne Zoo the remainder were on Queensland's Gold Coast and all close to where my grandmother had a holiday home so I saw them with the family each Christmas.

    You're doing OK at this point in your life Thylo, relish the experience. In ten years (maybe five years) you'll probably be able to afford to fly out to California, or go for a trip to Belize or Costa Rica.

    Start off with what you can afford, and start making plans for the future!

    :p

    Hix
     
  8. TheOnlineZoo

    TheOnlineZoo Well-Known Member

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    It's been six years since I visited, so their collection could have changed quite a bit since my visit. Regarding the IDs, I have little choice but to trust the signs at the zoo. When I have reason to doubt them, I try to do some research (as I will now do for the ones you listed). But I take a photo of every sign, so I can assure you that the IDs on my site match the zoo signs at the time I was there. Whether the signs matched the species on display is a different issue. :)
     
  9. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that in 5 years when he flies off to Cali, Belize or Costa Rica, it will be for spring break rather than zoos. :D

    If he goes to an out of state uni, that's a few more zoos there, then there will be road trips with friends, maybe field trips etc. Exciting times, so this is just the start.
     
  10. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    Great thread Thylo, looking forward to hearing about your Florida trip.

    Did you happen to do any photography at Safari Wilderness? It would be great to see some in the gallery.
     
  11. Phantom Gaur

    Phantom Gaur Well-Known Member

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    @Thylo- Safari Wilderness is located halfway between Tampa and Orlando. It is one of two places owned by Lex Salisbury, former director of Lowry Park. I believe they had three female Forest Buffalo in a separate area from the regular safari ride so if they are in the woods then they aren't visible on the ride.
    @Ituri- I did take some photos. I will try to upload them soon.
     
  12. CambsVet

    CambsVet Well-Known Member

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    I was at DAK and seaworld a couple of weeks ago - you will have a wonderful time. I didnt think DAK was as good as when I went about 10 years ago (atleast from the zoo point of view). Seaworld is amazing and that was my third visit I think. I wouldnt bother going on any of the 3D/4D ride things to get to the animal exhibits as they arent worth the wait IMHO.

    Have a lovely time though and hope you get a nice tan:)
     
  13. TheOnlineZoo

    TheOnlineZoo Well-Known Member

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    I checked on these, and you were right on both accounts. Usually in cases like this I can blame incorrect signs, but both of these were my error.

    Both Wolf's and Schmidt's were in the same exhibit, but signs were posted for both. I obviously didn't investigate enough to sort those out.

    As for the colobus, the sign actually read Colobus polykomos angolensis, but there has apparently been some reclassification done in that group and Colobus angolensis now seems to be correct. I am not sure how I managed to get that mixed into Colobus guereza.

    I updated my page with both of these corrections. Thanks for your help!
     
  14. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the supporting words guys!:) And I'll make sure to have lots of fun! I already visited Lowry Park yesterday and should be visiting Sea World tomorrow.

    @TheOnlineZoo, yeah the two guenons are in the same enclosure and the zoo now lists their colobuses as C. a. polycomos (though I've never heard of that ssp).

    @PhantomGaur, I did pass a sign for Safari Wilderness on my way from Tampa to Orlando. I couldn't visit, though.

    And the Lowry Park visit went very well though a bit rushed since I was short on time and the little safari ride took up a long time. I did manage to see most of what I wanted to though three of the four listed duiker species, the Gerenuk, and both the kudu species were no-shows (can somebody tell me where they are!).

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  15. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I'm not too sure what part of Florida I'm in now but I've been staying in a rented house for the past couple days and have been having a blast! It has it's own pool!:D There's also a swamp in the backyard but all I've seen are a couple of small lizards back there. I've heard several interesting birds but not been able to see them.

    While I've been in Florida, I've seen several species of local wildlife such as American White Ibis, Laughing Gull, both Brown and American White Pelican, and two rabbits along with others (some of which I need to get identified but I believe one is an American Purple Gullinule!).

    I went down to the beach yesterday and, along with Brown Pelicans, American White Pelicans, and some Laughing Gulls, there were dozens of sea turtle nests that were sectioned off. I also saw my second wild rabbit. I almost saw a wild raccoon also but some kid made a noise that made me turn around exactly at the moment it ran right in front of me!

    For the record, I could not visit SeaWorld of personal reasons but, since we're going back to Orlando on Saturday, we'll try to go as we're not going to have free ticket again, now are we? We just need a ride really.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  16. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Last night I went out in the back and found an alligator in the little swamp! It was pretty cool to see a wild alligator, much more exciting than a captive one. I also went to the beach today (with my camera this time) and took some photos of the sea turtle nests, some burrows I found, the same wild rabbit as the last time I went to the beach, a yet-to-be-identified lizard, and two species of yet-to-be-identified birds! I saw a small raptor which I'm almost 100% positive was an American Kestrel and a wild Northern Cardinal, which was pretty cool. I hope to explore the area and the forest more on a day when I have more time.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  17. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    How amazing that you saw a wild alligator! I spent a few days in Miami back in 2001, and all I saw was mosquitoes.

    Don't forget to update your bird list on the big year thread. I noticed that you aren't numbering them. How many birds are you on now? (I keep a spreadsheet of my sightings on Google Drive. That way I can update it from any device, even a public computer, that has Internet access.)
     
  18. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Trust me, I saw many a mosquito on my hands as I took photos! All the bumps are worth it, though!:)

    I know, I've been putting it off for some reason. I kind of want to get some species identified first, though. The thing is, I still have wild animal pics from Cincinnati I haven't posted:rolleyes: I stopped numbering because I forgot what number I was on and failed to find it through a quick search. I should write it down once I find it, though.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  19. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Well I return to the beach today to go watching spotting again. I saw many, many birds but only could identify a few and managed to photograph very little of them. I headed down at around 4:40pm and it started out great! I noticed some new burrows that certainly were not there the previous evening. About 15 minutes in, I was photographing some gulls (some of which, if not all, were Laughing Gulls) when a horn blew and we were told that I storm was rolling in and we had to leave the beach. I was very disappointed that we had to leave until I reached the exit path and realized that their was a Gopher Tortoise in the middle of the pathway! I got some great pics and got to enjoy his/her company for quite some time while we waiting for the storm to blow past. Towards the end of the storm I saw my first Common Ground Dove of the day (I've been seeing many of them lately). When the storm past I set off on my way exploring the grassy dunes and dark, wet forests of the immediate area. While I didn't photograph much and identified even less, I had a nice, peaceful time in nature and had a nice time. As my family exited the water to leave, I got the nice treat of having a Snowy Egret fly right past me!:)

    Tomorrow I hope to head down to the Manasota Scrub Preserve nearby and, hopefully, see a Florida Scrub Jay.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  20. nanoboy

    nanoboy Well-Known Member

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    Not a bad day out.

    I am confused though: did you spend the storm's duration on the pathway with the turtle?