Tag Archives: april the giraffe

Animal Adventure Park

Less than 36 hours after our family reunion ended, Motor Man and I were motoring north to upstate New York.  We were, once again, attending a gathering of Animal Adventure Park fans at the home of the famous April, the giraffe.

In case you aren’t April-obsessed (like some of us), here’s the scoop: April had another calf (Azizi) in March, and she and “Az” are now sharing barn and yard space with her 2 year old son, Taj. Meanwhile Dad Oliver has a new mate, Johari.

We arrived at the hotel late Monday afternoon and attended the Meet and Greet that evening. Funny story:  through a Facebook page devoted to the animal park, I “met” a fellow April lover, Carol, who lives in Virginia Beach. That’s about 45 minutes from where we live. Carol and I message on Facebook nearly every day, and have been planning to meet for lunch.  But that just hadn’t worked out.

So, we each drove 8 1/2 hours (her with her niece, and me with my Motor Man) to meet in person in Binghamton, New York. She’s just as much fun as I thought she’d be.

The following day, everyone headed to the park to see “our” giraffe family, as well as the other animals there.

April may be my favorite of the giraffes.

Hi, sweet April

And not-so-little Taj. I was one of the millions who watched his birth live via the web cam.

Baby Azizi was in the distance, so we didn’t get a good picture of him.

But, we did see Dad Oliver, tongue out and just waiting for that carrot.

And this is Johari, fairly new to the park.  She arrived in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

That evening, we attended the dinner for the group.  There were upwards of 250 of us, and nearly everyone was dressed in something giraffe-related.

Motor Man took a picture of Jordan, the park owner, with two of the “Virginia” girls.

When Motor Man and I asked Jordan for a picture of us, he commented that he has the same giraffe shirt that Motor Man is wearing.

It was another wonderful time celebrating the animals (especially the giraffes!) at Animal Adventure Park.  Everyone comes away from the park with the same thought: that it is a very special place. The animals are healthy and well cared for, the property is clean as can be, and much thought is given to the comfort and enjoyment of the guests.

If you ever have the chance to visit, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. You, too, could would become a giraffe fan.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

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Random Five Friday

How about a little randomness?

1.) Last weekend, Marshall attended a “Monster Mania” movie convention.  I’ve mentioned before that he likes to go to those and meet some of the stars he sees in movies. You may recall that I posted a couple of years ago about him meeting Robert England,  who played Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies. Last weekend, he met Christini Ricci, “Wednesday” in some of the Addams Family movies. (Just between us, he had a crush on her in the 90’s.)

He’s also a big fan of the Soska twins. Sylvia and Jen. Last weekend, he participated in a “bloody photo op” with them. The Soskas began the bloody photo ops to bring emphasis to their work involving blood donation, definitely a worthy cause. I told him later that he was the happiest looking bloody man I’d ever seen. (Not sure if you can enlarge the picture, but he has “blood” all over his face.)

2.) Yesterday morning’s sunrise, taken with my cell phone.  When I posted this on Facebook, my friend, Donna’s comment was: “Tangerine delight!”.

3.) Yesterday was Sundae’s “gotcha day”. She adopted us 8 years ago.  She’s feeling better, but still is not making it easy for us to give her the meds. At least she isn’t holding a grudge.

4.) You’ve probably heard that April, the giraffe, is expecting another calf any day now. Yes, I’m a fan, and have been watching the live cam quite a bit, hoping to see the birth as it happens. We’ve been to visit April twice at her home at Animal Adventure Park in New York and are planning another trip this summer.

5.) Some of my former classmates from school are meeting tomorrow for lunch to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  We’ve dubbed our group “The Surry Girls”, and we have our greenery all ready. Will you be wearing green this weekend?

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

Just Because

My niece, Barb, and I are friends on Facebook, so we usually message each other at least a couple of times a week. We also meet every other week for lunch and to catch up in person with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

We exchange gifts for Christmas and our birthdays. And, every once in a while, there’s a little “for no reason” gift, just because.

You may recall my interest in April, the giraffe, beginning two years ago. April lives at Animal Adventure Park in New York, and became known worldwide when she was about to give birth. I was among the 1.2 MILLION watching when her calf was born on April 15, 2017. When Barb and I met for lunch a couple of weeks later, she gave me this tiny stuffed giraffe, which she ordered from Animal Adventure Park .

Last week, when we met, Barb gave me another one of those “little” gifts: a photo book she’d had printed of some of her favorite pictures that I’ve shared on Facebook. On the cover: the title “All You Need Is Love” and a picture of my Motor Man.

Among the pages in the book: celebrating Motor Man’s birthday.

My two favorite guys in the whole world and one very spoiled cat.

Our other very spoiled cat…and Motor Man and me sharing a silly moment .

And, to close out the book, one of my favorite pics of us, taken by our friend, Donna.

Thanks, Barb; I treasure this “little” gift from you and look forward to our lunch and visit next week.

“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver….”    ~Seneca

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Our Destination

Motor Man and I celebrated our anniversary in…… Snowshoe, West Virginia.  Most folks go there to ski or snowboard; we went there for a sleigh ride. That’s the way we’ve celebrated our anniversary several times in the past.

When we arrived at the stables, this was one of the first sights to greet us. Just look at that snowy muzzle.

You just know I was enjoying this scenery.

You may remember that I’m a fan of April, the giraffe. One of her little quirks is throwing hay over her back. We call it “April showers” or “hay showers”. Some of that hay usually ends up on her head.  I was immediately reminded of that when I spotted this sweetie.

And this is Flash, the gorgeous guy who pulled our vintage (1878) sleigh.

Flash is a 12-year old Friesian/Morgan mix.

And our driver was Skip, who, along with his wife, Peggy, owns Autumn Breeze Stables at Snowshoe.

The weather was probably the nicest we’ve had for any of our sleigh rides so far: 30 degrees and beautiful sunshine.

Such a fun experience. It’s obvious that Flash loves his job.

If you are on Facebook and would like to see Flash “kicking up his heels”, visit the Autumn Breeze Stables at Snowshoe’s page and check their video. It’s really fun to watch.

Oh, and here’s a short video from our sleigh ride. (There is sound. Skip is referring to a man-made lake on the left, the water from which is used to make snow for one of the ski areas.)

 

Thanks, Motor Man (and Autumn Breeze Stables) for a fun anniversary celebration.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

Another Adventure

You may have guessed by the blogging break I took last week that Motor Man and I were away on a trip.

Once again, we visited Animal Adventure Park (AAP) in Harpursville, NY, home to the world famous giraffe, April.  Our first time meeting April was last summer, and I really didn’t have any thoughts of returning. But, I’m a member of a Facebook group whose common interest is all things AAP, and especially their beautiful giraffe family. The group planned a visit to the park last week, and Motor Man and I wanted to join them. There were around 225 of us, including some from Canada, England, Australia and all over the United States.

AAP is located in Broome County, which was experiencing torrential rains while we were there. One evening while we were at dinner, cell phones began sounding an emergency flash flood alert.  Thankfully, the Park isn’t in an area subject to flooding.

So, you may recall that April gave birth last year (in April) to a son, Tajiri. He’s not a little boy any longer. Here I am with the “guys”: Dad, Oliver, on the left, and Taj on the right. You just don’t realize how tall giraffes really are until you’re in a building with them; keep in mind that, in this picture, both of them have their heads bent down (waiting for carrots).

And our sweet girl, April…

…who is VERY sneaky about grabbing an entire handful of carrots.

And a kiss from Taj.  (Well, okay, he WAS just looking for carrots, but I can pretend that it was a kiss…)

The owner of the park, Jordan Patch, is an amazing young man, who has time for EVERYONE. I can’t imagine how many photos he’s been in since April brought such fame to AAP. And he’s smiling in every one of them.

Our visit included a Meet and Greet with others in the group the first evening, then a day at the park. If I tried to name all the species of animals there, I would surely miss many of them. But, just for a few (in addition to the giraffes): kangaroo, water buffalo, alligators, llama, caribou, African lions, sloth, zebra, lynx, wolves, bears, bison, camel, tortoise, porcupine, exotic birds, domestic farm animals….  All very well taken care of and loved by the staff.

This was one of my favorite non-giraffe pictures of the day: a squirrel monkey attempting to pick flowers from just outside his enclosure.

“Visit Binghamton” was live as the Park opened that morning, and Motor Man and I have a brief appearance and actually put in a plug for Virginia. “Our part” starts just a little after the 6 minute mark if you’d like to fast forward:

 

Dinner that night was in a pavilion tent at a beautiful venue, Traditions At The Glen. We had a wonderful time, but it POURED rain while we were there.

Motor Man and I (and probably hundreds of others) had a picture with Jordan.

The rain had, thankfully, subsided somewhat before time to leave.

It was a very quick trip, but another wonderful experience. We definitely would recommend Animal Adventure Park to anyone. It’s a beautiful, clean facility with an incredibly friendly staff.

I’m so glad Jordan decided to put up that tiny web-cam last year to document April’s pregnancy. I never thought much about giraffes before that; now I think they’re fascinating. And because of that web-cam, hundreds of us became acquainted online and now many of us have met in person.

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard…..April is expecting again: due next spring.

Another road trip, Motor Man!

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthdays Through The Years

As happens around this time each year, today is my birthday.

And while thinking of what to post about today, I’ve been remembering special birthdays of mine through the years.

During my childhood, there weren’t elaborate parties…usually just a cake (made by Mom) and ice cream with family.

One year, a school friend was invited to join us, and she gave me a bottle of lilac scented bubble bath.  Now, the bubble bath was nice, but what was really special was that bottle.  It was just a plastic bottle, roundish on the bottom, but the neck was really long.  This was around the time that my niece and I loved watching “I Dream Of Jeannie” on tv. And through our world of make believe, that empty bubble bath bottle became our “Jeannie bottle”.

The next special birthday was the year I turned eighteen. That year, I received the best present EVER: I graduated from high school ON my eighteenth birthday.  As someone who hated school, I was one happy girl that day.

Junior year pic; I didn’t care for the senior one

My twenty-first birthday was spent at the beach at the Outer Banks.  And I thought my mom would probably like to talk to me on my birthday. Those were the days before cell phones, so I went to a nearby phone booth and called to talk to her.

Not a picture from that trip, but the same era

A few years later, on my birthday just twelve days before Marshall was born, I was having complications with the pregnancy, so I celebrated that one in the hospital. No problem at all: my sole purpose in life at that point was doing whatever was necessary to get him here safely.

Eleven days after that birthday spent in the hospital, and just hours before Marshall arrived

The birthdays since have been spent in various ways…. low-key and celebrating with family and friends.  Motor Man usually treats me to a special outing around the time of my birthday.

A few years ago, when he asked what I’d like to do, I suggested taking a wild horse tour.  At that time, we didn’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle, so we booked a private tour with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. It was so educational and fun: we were hooked. This little one soon joined his mom who had strolled down that path to the left.

Three years ago, we went parasailing in the Outer Banks (wait, that was on HIS list, not mine).

Two years ago, we went for a steam engine ride with special friends Bev and Bill and Pam and Dave.

And, last year, Motor Man took me to meet April, the giraffe.

This year, we don’t have any trips planned.  Yesterday we went to the Outer Banks to see “my” horses , and I’ll share more about that on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, today, I’m celebrating with my two guys, and the coming days will be more gatherings with friends. I am so blessed to have a loving family and special friends in my life.

As I’ve said before, I believe the older you get, the longer birthdays should last.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Triskaidekaphobia Random Five Friday

How about five randoms for this Friday, the 13th? Did I stump you with the title of today’s post?

1.) While looking through photos on my computer, I happened upon this one, taken in January, of the early morning sky.  There is a LOT going on in this picture, so much so that it was difficult for me to determine whether I needed to straighten the image or not.

2.) Marshall was at our house Monday morning, and spotted the harbor seal at the marina. We stepped out on the deck, and I whistled to get the seal’s attention. Marshall asked if I were prepared with fish to feed him if he decides to pay us a visit.  And Marshall had a suggestion for a name, should we determine (?) that the seal is a female: “Lu-seal”. My friend, Pam, also suggested “Ce-seal-ia” or “Seal-ine” as in Dion.

3.)  April, the giraffe’s son, Tajiri, celebrates his first birthday on Sunday. Animal Adventure Park, home to April, Taj and dad, Oliver, is planning a birthday party for him that morning at 10. It will be shown on the April the Giraffe web-cam. You may remember that Motor Man took me to AAP last June as part of my birthday celebration. I thought Taj looked like a stuffed animal in this pic.

4.) Every two weeks, my niece, Barb and I meet for lunch, and we did that yesterday. We always enjoy our visits; we chat about what’s going on in our lives and sometimes share memories of family members no longer with us. It’s a tradition that we started after my sister (Barb’s mom) passed in 2015, and one that means a lot to me.

Barb and me….a ‘few” years ago

5.) This weekend, our little town is having its first “Pickers’ Market, which is scheduled to be a monthly event. My friend, Donna, and I are planning to attend to see if we can find any treasures. The weather looks to be great.

Care to share your randoms?

* Triskaidekaphobia: the fear of the number 13

~These Days Of Mine~