Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our Sweet Little Zoo

The title may throw you off a bit---Drew and I don't actually own a Zoo.  I am referring in the title to the sweet little Zoo in Austin.  It is nothing like most Zoo's.   It is pretty small, intimate, but also beautiful.    And the Zoo is a sanctuary for rescued animals.  Their mission is as follows (copied from their website): The mission of Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. At our rescue and sanctuary zoo, children and adults alike can appreciate our Hill Country setting and enjoy a close-up experience with our rescued animals. Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a private, non-profit zoo, with over 350 animals across a hundred different species. Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a forever home for our rescued animals.  So, as you can imagine, the Zoo is very different from what you might normally expect at a typical Zoo.  But, I love it.   Since the weather was perfect, we planned a morning at the Zoo on Saturday.

You can get REALLY close to the animals here.

I didn't have a zoom lens on the camera.  I used a prime lens.  I was actually this close to this little guy!
  I was pretty excited (maybe even more excited than the kids) to be visiting here.  The last time we visited was last fall.  It was almost exactly one year prior.  It was the weekend before we found out I had cancer.  I had no idea cancer treatment lurked around the corner.  So, it was a little surreal being back there, and thinking about my completely different mental, physical and spiritual state this visit.

The setting there is truly wonderful.  There are huge trees everywhere.  I don't think they even removed one when constructing the animal sanctuary.  Also, the location is in the hills.  So, the train ride there is like no other.  You get to see beautiful hill country views as you ride along.

Not thrilled that daddy stuck her in a tree.  Maybe only Luke will be my tree climber.  
Luke spotted a picnic table and decided we needed to have a picnic.  It looks like he is in pretty deep thought here.
I loved watching all of Abbey's expressions as she looked at each of the animals.  Her expressions and personality is priceless.  She makes me laugh out loud every single day!

looking at a pig.

I love how she watches Luke experience the animals in these next two photos.  You can tell she already looks up to her big brother and loves him dearly.

One other wonderful thing we found out on our visit here.  We had expired (long expired) "google offers" vouchers that we purchased for half price admission last year.  With the past year that we have had, we never found an opportunity to make it back.  So, we brought the vouchers along, figuring we would just get credit for the amount we paid.  Instead, they told us that they always honor the vouchers, no matter how old.   Isn't that awesome?   So, since we felt like we got free admission, we bought some animal feed (and treated the kids to a train ride).

Luke wasn't interested in having the animals eat from his hand.   But Abbey, our little fearless animal lover, was thrilled to get to feed the sweet animals.

I love this funny dude.  No kids wanted to feed him though.   That made me want to feed him more.  Instead, I took a photo of him:

Precious moments.  Precious memories made.

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