There are probably very few of you who aren’t familiar with April, the giraffe. For those of you who may not know her story, here it is in a nutshell:
April and her mate, Oliver, live at the Animal Adventure Park in New York state. The local residents knew that April was expecting a little one, and last winter, they began calling the park (during its off season) to inquire about her condition. The park’s owner, Jordan Patch, decided to install a simple web cam to allow her nearby fans to keep check on April. The media caught wind of this and announced that April was due to give birth “any day”. Giraffes are pregnant for around 15 months, and the park staff didn’t know exactly when April was due. So it seemed that the entire world waited forever for her to give birth.
A Facebook friend of mine posted the link to April’s web cam in late February, and I became a follower. I wasn’t glued to the computer, but I did check in frequently, and happened to be at home that Saturday morning, April 15, when April gave birthday to her baby boy, later named Tajiri.
A few weeks ago, Motor Man and I began entertaining the idea of traveling to the park (as part of my birthday celebration), so I could meet April, her family and the staff.
The morning of our visit, I awoke very early and was so excited, Motor Man said to me: “Little girl, is this your first Christmas?”
We have seen several interviews with Jordan, and we are impressed with how at ease he is speaking publicly. We also admire him for what he’s doing to spread knowledge about different species of animals, not just giraffes. I was thrilled to meet him; he’s so personable and willing to have his picture taken with any guest who asks. (You just have to catch up to him: such a busy guy!)
Soon it was time to head to the giraffe exhibit and meet April.
Is my excitement showing?
Our friends that have seen this next picture are surprised when I tell them that she never touched my face…she just curled her tongue around that carrot stick, and it disappeared.
Check out that tongue!
Motor Man was ready with the camera when April agreed to pose with me.
And then, there was adorable Tajiri (“Taj” for short). He was running around the giraffe yard to the delight of all his fans. Notice the windows in the barn: those are in the space that April and Tajiri share. April looks out of those when she’s inside; Taj has some growing to do before he’s able to do that, although he’s already 7 feet tall.
April and Taj are out in the yard during the morning, then they’re coaxed back into the barn, so “dad”, Oliver, can enjoy some outdoor time. In this picture, Oliver is on the left, peering around the corner from the stall. Since Oliver is a bull and Taj is still young and small, they aren’t allowed to be in the same area. They do, however, touch noses through the wire separating their spaces in the barn.
Here’s Oliver, making his appearance in the yard. That’s Corey, another of the keepers that we came to know through the web cam. Corey juggled the giraffe family from barn to yard, etc. Notice that the staff members don’t get too close to Oliver.
Motor Man didn’t rush me at all, so we spent about four hours at the park, and although we saw some of the other animals, most of my time was spent at the giraffe exhibit. I couldn’t seem to drag myself away…
AAP is such a nice place, special people, special animals. I’m so grateful to Motor Man for making our visit happen.
~These Days Of Mine~