Tag Archives: animals

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

Taking a look in Siouxland, Sioux Falls, SD

18 Sep

Some days I can drive about in Siouxland and enjoy the drive and enjoy the scenery, but nothing moves me enough to take a photo. And that’s okay, but I sometimes feel I need to do it. A recent trip again to Sioux Falls and another trip to Falls Park was a pleasant day. A chance to eat a picnic lunch at the park and then a few photos, this time enjoying the ducks that were enjoying the water. Some did a good job treading and one got so caught up in looking for food that it didn’t notice at first that it was headed toward the small falls there. Some days one should just enjoy what’s there, and if you get lucky and capture a nice photo, all the better.

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature in Siouxland, Rural South Dakota

8 Aug

Some days just don’t turn out as you expect sometimes, but then again, one should just enjoy the moment for what it is as to what you would like. I took a trip up to Vermillion, South Dakota today to eat a small restaurant that serves Asian food. It has a buffet that while small is always good and affordable. But today is the day that this restaurant is closed. So I had lunch at another place which serves good food, but I believe is a bit over priced for its offering.

That said, the drive up was gorgeous. Blue sky, white puffy clouds. I got a late start. I decided to continue being healthy and went to my gym then showered, talked with a neighbor and took off. I didn’t reach Vermillion until after 1 p.m. But focused on the lunch I didn’t stop to photograph any of the scenes on my way up with the light playing off corn tassels in the fields and the white clouds accentuating the blue sky. I did have my polarizer with me and thought the afternoon was going to be great for shooting photos.

After lunch, I squeezed off a few frames in the downtown area, then went for a walk around the surrounding neighborhoods, looking for a vantage point overlooking the Missouri River. And as I was walking, the clouds began moving in. The weather was changing and the overcast grey clouds was pushing away the white clouds and covering the blue and my plans went awry. The day didn’t become picture perfect as I had expected, but on my way home I didn’t feel the day a complete loss. One just never knows how something may turn out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016.       (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Horses grazing in rural South Dakota Monday, August 8, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Friends come and go, in Siouxland

8 Feb

It’s true that as one journeys through life one makes friends, changes friends and loses friends. Life just works that way. And the same is true of our four-legged friends as well. I have a couple pet cats currently, and previously have had a number of pets that have called my place home. And then there are the visitors.

Recently a neighbor moved to another part of town and the family’s cat made the trip with them. When I first met Clyde, I thought he was a neighborhood stray. A little cautious but friendly always roaming about at night. The was during the winter months and some nights it was extremely cold.  Then  about 6 months later I learned he belonged to a family that had moved into the neighborhood. The family seemed to have a hard time getting Clyde to come home. He would always come visit my house, especially if he thought he could get a meal, which he always did. He would sit by the door and meow. When he wanted out, he would wander about the house, making certain I saw him and then head for a door. My cue to get my butt over their and act like the butler.

The family moved last December, and I must say I miss Clyde’s visits. Not the most affectionate cat, but he would let me pick him up and pet him and rub his tummy when he was laying about and napping.

But since that time, and somewhat overlapping, another cat has shown up and been getting a meal every now and again, Pumpkin the stray cat. I saw Pumpkin maybe a year or so ago during warmer weather. He came around a few months, I would feed him outside and then content with something in his tummy, he would find a spot nearby and take a nap. This fall and continuing into winter Pumpkin would show up around 6 a.m. and meow outside a back door. I would open it and he would stick his head in then slowly make certain all is right and then come in to find his bowl, much like Clyde did when visiting. Not quite a docile, Pumpkin allows me to pet him, scratch his head and ears and meow at me when he wants to exit.

It’s a tough life, but butlers are hard to come by and they have to be trained just right. I think I am learning. Meantime my own two feline friends watch from a safe distance as I befriend these freeloaders and the younger one sometimes hisses. But neither Clyde nor Pumpkin has shown any indication they really want to fight. They just want to eat and find a safe place to take a nap. When I hear the winding of a cat turbine engine, I get up, find the offending culprit and start saying no. And so far, detente has been very pleasant. But I am cautious. I don’t allow the stranger cats into my house until some time has passed and I feel they are safe and not going to cause mischief or other issues.

So to Clyde I bid adieu and to Pumpkin I say bonjour.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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