Tag Archives: animals

Enjoying the Zoo near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE

20 Oct

A Flatland gorilla stares back at visitors while sitting perfectly still at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Flatland gorilla sits in a shady area on a hot fall day while visitors watch at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Primates are interesting creatures. Much like their “human” counterparts. They are expressive and inquisitive and sometimes just annoyed. I noticed on a visit to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE how the Flatland Gorillas would ignore the inquisitive humans looking at them in their enclosure only occasionally looking at them. Many times they sat just beside the paned windows just out of sight. Looking possibly for their own bit of solitude away from prying eyes.

But that’s hard to do in a zoo environment I would think. Even inside people tried to get up close and engage these creatures. And a new member of the gorilla family made it even more apparent that we are fascinated with wildlife.

A parent Flatland gorilla and its youngster lay quietly on a hot fall day while visitors watch at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A staff member of the Henry Doorly Zoo talks with the baby Flatland gorilla as it moves about in its enclosure in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A baby Flatland gorilla works at getting its balance at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In a way you can’t blame these creatures for wanting to avoid prying eyes. And I find it interesting to watch the entire scene while people watching. The lengths we go to see something in our lifetime we will never see in a natural setting. To enjoy the majesty of these animals the lives they represent but do not live themselves. I am not certain what in human nature makes us wonder about such things. But I know I will continue watching, pondering questions I can’t possibly answer but still intrigued the thoughts.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Flatland gorillas sit in a shady area on a hot fall day while visitors watch at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Human Nature isn’t just for Humans in Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo and the Great Plains Zoo

2 Oct

A Siamang gibbon looks at a visitor while trying to nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I am always amazed at the human-like nature that some animals seem to portray. But then again, maybe the animals think that of us humans, behaving in a manner they themselves exhibit. I visited a couple of zoos near Siouxland recently. It wasn’t an extremely hot day on either visit, but it was quite humid and the temperatures were creeping upwards and I arrived at the zoo toward the end of a feeding period, so maybe a nap wasn’t completely out of the question.

A black and white Colobus monkey peeks at visitors watching it take a nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A black and white Colobus monkey peeks at visitors watching it take a nap at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days I myself might be better off with a nap and just enjoying the moment, although these creatures only have so much room to roam about in. They do the best they can. And taking a break and relaxing should be high on their list. Something I might keep in mind myself down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Bornean Orangutan tries to get comfortable on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Bornean Orangutan lays quietly on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Francois Langur yawns before getting down to the business of taking a nap on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A Francois Langur relaxes before taking a nap on a hot fall day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Zoo Time near Siouxland, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

30 Jul

Visitors walk through the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE has a number of different types of environments where various species are displayed, giving visitors a sense of the climate these animals inhabit as the zoo continues to build out these habitats.

A Cape Thick-Knee stands guard next to its chicks at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bird stays nestled in a bush in the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But still it’s not the same as being in the original space from where the species, if not this particular animal, hails from. But with fascination visitors are drawn to see these magnificent creatures, great and small. I don’t find it morbid, but intriguing along with others who spend a day walking, watching and admiring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A gorilla looking for a little solitude as it eats an afternoon snack at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A baby gorilla gets a little TLC from zoo staff at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A seal cooling off on a humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Portrait of a parrot at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE Thursday, June 13, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lions and Tigers and Bears near Siouxland, Great Plains Zoo, Sioux Falls, SD

18 Oct

A Kodiak bear sits in repose at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A black bear relaxes in the afternoon sunlight on a coolish day at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This fall I made a trip to Sioux Falls, SD, just outside of what some might consider Siouxland, and again visited the Great Plains Zoo there. It was a cool day, temps somewhere in the 50’s and overcast for the most part. On a visit to the zoo a year ago it was much warmer in the fall and the animals for the most part then stayed indoors. But on this particular day they were out and about, enjoying the sunshine and their confinements as much as they can.

A red fox curls up in the sunshine on a cool day for a nap, ignoring visitors watching at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A brown bear seems very aware of his surroundings and what’s near at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The zoo is educational and is very good at describing its residents and particulars about their individual lives. It also has an area devoted to educational pursuits.

Stuffed animals reside in the Delbridge Museum of Animal History at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Near the tiger enclosure there was Chinese calligraphy on the walls of a building which blended in nicely with the shadows created by nearby trees. Adding a quiet kind of ambience to that corner of the zoo. It was a peaceful day and even the animals seemed to sense that. Watching and marking time. Tomorrow is yet another day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Asian characters on an exhibit seem to blend into the shadows as shadows themselves at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Amur tiger paces in his compound at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A red wolf looks out at visitors looking into his compound at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mountain goat enjoys his perch atop Redrock Mountain at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rare breed goat watches passers-by from a perch at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boy smiles as a rare breed goat eats some treats he left for them at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young Snow monkey is not having any of it from an older sibling at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Day at the Zoo near Siouxland, Great Plains Zoo, Sioux Falls, SD

4 Oct

I took another trip to Sioux Falls recently, geographically just outside the boundaries of what many consider Siouxland, but only an hour from Sioux City. I know zoos are educational and provide a glimpse of life many of us would not normally see, but at the same time am sad that these animals can not roam the terrain where originally they come from.

That said, the Great Plains Zoo is a nice facility and this particular visit it struck me that part of the zoo structure reminds me of territorial amy posts or forts built in the Dakota Territory that incorporated both Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming and Montana I believe.

Part of the zoo exhibit barriers resemble early American frontier forts in its construction at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A board walk takes visitors above the African plain for that part of the Great Plains Zoo exhibit in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This area of the zoo contained animals that were African in origins and the animals roamed about in grassy areas, except for giraffes that day. An employee informed me that with recent rains the grounds area became too muddy and the giraffes were confined to an area deemed safer for them. But on a cool day as temps hovered in the 50’s and 60’s the animals were out and enjoying the sunshine.

A Grevy zebra dances a little jig while eating at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bird in the African safari exhibit peers up at a visitor at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some had hunkered down for nap or at least a rest while others paced through their compounds.

African wild dogs snuggle together in the afternoon sunlight on a cool day at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Eastern black rhinocerous walks impatiently around its compound at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It has rained quite a bit it seems for early fall in the region. And created difficulties for all including farmers and area communities where the possibility of flooding from overflowing rivers and creeks pass through many. But it also seemed to create small islands of grazing area for the bison at the zoo as they all stayed in one area to feed during a time when the sun came out.

I know I will return to the zoo again, just to watch the animals and to enjoy the quiet that can be found there and appreciate what is there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American bison graze in a fields at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, SD Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An outing of out Siouxland, Henry Doorley Zoo Omaha, NE

11 Jul

A recent outing for a Summer Photo Safari class I teach through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program took us to the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha, NE. It also happened to be the opening day for the NCAA College World Series held in Omaha and one of the hotter days at that point in summer that it was an interesting day of shooting.

People enjoy zoos. As hard as it is sometimes to see the animals caged and pacing or simply ignoring the humans staring at them, people are still drawn to go and see the animals that only see in pictures in a book or magazine.

A young girl poses for a picture inside a viewing area as a Lowland Gorilla sits outside in the shade during a hot day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes people receive lasting impressions as they are able to interact with some of the animals and it makes an impact.

A visitor gets a personal experience as she feeds a giraffe at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Children the antics of one of the Lowland gorillas at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the heat that day definitely made an impression and people took advantage of mist stations along the way to stay cool and have some fun at the same time.

A family cools off under a misting station on a hot and humid day at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

By and far though I found the best way of staying cool was to visit the indoor exhibits which were as fascinating as the outdoor ones.

A visitor takes photos of fish swimming overhead in the Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But I think it’s not only the guests visiting the zoo that enjoy it as do the individuals who work with the animals and care for them and bond with them on a daily basis much like many of us do with our own pets. Sometimes visiting and seeing something exotic doesn’t necessarily have to take one to the other side of the world, but it is a nice first step in that direction.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parrot gets cozy with its trainer at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, NE Saturday June 16, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Summer Time Fairs in Siouxland, Sioux Center

14 Jul

With the middle of summer approaching and the temperatures heading north, it is county fair time in Siouxland. The Sioux County Youth Fair is underway this week with other area fairs beginning as well. The fairs generally run a week with a large emphasis on the 4-H kids and their livestock or smaller animal exhibits as well as crafts and other skills learned.

Young 4-H’ers show their animal projects competing for blue ribbons and best of show at the Sioux County Youth Fair at the fairgrounds in Sioux Center, Iowa, Wednesday July 12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As a youngster who grew up on a farm, my brothers and I participated in 4-H projects. Those times have changed as there are now fewer small farms and in some respects less “farm kids” who participate. 4-H shifted its perspective a number of years ago and began to seek “city kids” more actively to participate. It is a good organization much like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts teaching youth to follow through on projects and participating in character building activities.

Those who exhibit animals have to keep substantial records of the care given as well as demonstrate knowledge about that particular animal breed. It can be time consuming but one learns so much from doing. I like to see the kids exhibits and watch them show their animals, which brings back memories of my own participation. Some of which I can laugh about today, but then, not so much. And it’s nice to see the continuation of 4-H and the kids enjoyment in participating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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