On Tuesday, we used a Living Social voucher to go visit the nearby Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refuge for a school field trip. We had the place nearly to ourselves, and Jenny was happy to give us an insider's tour to learn more about the animals and their backstories. Zulu, here, was the first critter to come up and say hello.
The mules and Chewy the camel followed along shortly behind Zulu. Chewy was rescued from a habitat in Central Florida where he was beaten up by other male camels, so his previous owners sent him to the Outpost.
Jenny brought out apples for the kids to feed Chewy. He was HUNGRY, and he munched down the snacks gratefully.
Zulu is ready for his close-up.
Afterward, we were given Alligator Nuggets (basically, meat held together with blood - yum!) to feed to the gators.
Our arrival inspired a feeding frenzy, during which it was revealed that far more rescued alligators were living in the Outpost than we could originally see. Holy schmokes!
Kenya the brown lemur was our next visit. His story, as you can see here on his sign, is rather sad. All of his teeth removed?! What the what!
The lack of teeth makes his tongue stick out all the time, and his dietary requirements changed, too. Poor Kenya.
The Scarlet Macaw and... uh, the other birdie-boo, made good pals. LOUD good pals.
I tried to get a better picture of the macaque, but my camera wasn't cooperating. Okay, it was operator error, but so what?
Sabal, the Florida Panther residing at the Outpost, was stunningly beautiful.
The birdie-bird on the left, the yellow guy, was new to the Outpost. They haven't determined his temperament yet, but they would like to pair him with the fella on the right soon.
In the reptile exhibit, we first encountered soft-shelled turtles.
The Burmese python was juuuust a little big. Just a bit.
Venomous rattlesnakes captured Chloë's attention for a bit...
A confiscated Gila Monster
This 'gator, Godzilla, doesn't play well with the rest of the gators, so he has his own habitat. We didn't get to feed him bloody meat nuggets. Darn. ;)
I liked the various paintings on trees in the Outpost quite a lot, so, here.
Next, Jenny led us to the alligator wrangling pit, so we could hold a baby specimen.
Jenny kept the baby alligator where... I would not dare to do so.
All of the kids got a chance to hold the baby. His mouth was taped, just in case...!
Our next visit was to the wolves. There were two habitats. Jenny had something exciting in store for us here!
All of us were given a chance to feed the wolves chicken pieces on the long campfire-like sticks. They, ah, wolfed them down quickly. See what I did there?
Jenny took us across from the wolves to meet the Siberian-Bengal mix tigers. They were monstrously huge! We had a few fun surprises in store here, too.
Jenny taught the kids to hold their hands flat against the cage, with nothing sticking inside, lest they - y'know - lose a finger or some such. Chloë got licked by the female tiger, and this was such a huge thrill to my cat-loving curly girl!
The "kitties" were still hungry after their little bit of meat that we gave them, but we moved along after being assured that they'd have plenty to eat quite soon. Walmart provides all of the food for the Outpost, which is rather great of this otherwise-eh corporation, right?
The Florida Brown Bear was quite dangerous, having taken a few fingers as souvenirs over the years, so we didn't get to feed him. He was interested in saying hello to us, though! Jenny told us he likes treats, like the occasional sprinkled doughnut, so we may stop over and bring him one this weekend.
Peaches was quite talkative and said hello to us approximately 39 times. Give or take.
After that, it was time to head home and talk about what we'd learned. The experience was great, and we were invited back anytime - particularly if we had carrots, apples, fresh meat, or anything of that ilk to share with the rescued critters. I heartily recommend a visit if you're in the area!