While Molly and Rusty were hiking with the school’s Adventure Club, Tyler, Ozzie and I went on an adventure of our own.
Just down the road from McConnells Mill State Park is Living Treasures Animal Park. This park has a special place in my heart, as it is home to so many sweet memories. Our first visit here was with Gracie as a baby. We have visited it with my sister and her kids, my parents, my brother, my grandfather and many friends. Over the years we have created many sweet memories at this special place, and Thursday we created a few more.
It has been over a year since we visited Living Treasures. We were long overdue for a trip to our favorite animal park. Having just the little boys with me afforded me the opportunity to spend some special one on one time with the two youngest and give them the chance to create some special memories together as brothers.
We arrived as the doors opened and I bought animal feed for both boys to feed the animals. The fun thing about this park is the many opportunities to interact with all the animals more intimately than you can at a zoo.
The animals that you can pet and feed by hand include deer, cattle, alpaca, goats, and the giraffes.
The giraffes are some of our favorite friends at Living Treasures.
Currently there is a new addition in the giraffe house. Baby Calvin, a one month old calf, was recently born at Living Treasures weighing in at 145 pounds and standing 6’3″tall. He is now making daily appearances with mama a few times a day.
What a doll he was!
Bigger animals are fed through feeding tubes that drop their treats into a food dish that they eagerly wait beside, hoping for a handout. This system allows kids to interact with the animals up close without the risk of losing fingers.
The monkeys and apes at Living Treasures are fed with a bucket system. Visitors can place carrots or special monkey pellets in a bucket attached to a chain, and the monkeys can pull the bucket to the cage and fish out their treats.
Other animals, like the alligators, can only been viewed from a safe distance away.
Two of our favorite exhibits in the park were the aviary, where guests are invited to feed the birds, and the petting zoo, where the goats and baby animals are housed.
At the aviary the boys had a wonderful time feeding their bright, feathered friends. Never have we experienced that level of interest from the birds. Being the first visitors of the day paid off, as the birds all had empty stomachs and were eager to eat. The result reminded me of a certain Alfred Hitchcock classic.
It made for a lot of squeals and giggles, and some awesome photo opportunities.
We experienced a different sort of swarm when we entered the petting zoo area to feed the goats. They too acted as though they hadn’t been fed in months and were all over the boys and their buckets.
The best part of visiting this area of Living Treasures, however, is the baby animals. Here we were able to feed and pet two baby camels, and various baby cattle. Oh, how sweet they were. Oh, how tempted I was to smuggle one home!
Especially this sweet thing, that looks like a hoofed version of a Basset Hound.
There were also a few baby pot belly pigs that reminded us of our own Pot Belly Pig, Harley D. Hog, when we first brought him home as a bottle fed baby.
All too soon, it was time to leave and pick up the other kids from their Adventure Club outing. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to create some special memories with my two youngest.
It is a day I will treasure.