Haifa Zoo

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Today I let Arlan and David take me to the Zoo in Haifa. I'd never gotten around to Haifa before, and I was duly impressed with how pretty some areas of the city are. The gardens of the Bahai temple are the centerpiece of this beauty, and I look forward to taking a tour there with Dad in a couple weeks. I also noticed a museum of Japanese art that I hope will tempt Mom. The zoo itself a pretty standard animals-in-cages sort of affair, but well-executed in a lovely valley full of shady trees. As people who raise snakes, David and Arlan were most interested in the snakes and, to a lesser extent, other reptiles. The reptile house didn't disappoint, and especially featured snakes that are native to Israel, as well as turtles, tortoises, crocodiles, iguanas, lizards, a monitor, a skink, and so on. The grounds had peacocks roaming free and various farm animals in wooden pens, including a friendly billy goat with his two nannies. The tiger was magnificent, but she seemed a little thin and paced quite restlessly around her pen, which seemed a couple sizes too small for her. The leopards seemed a little more serene. I especially enjoyed the nocturnal animal exhibits. There was a pair of barn owls that sat up on a ledge almost as still as statues, peering down at us like gargoyles. The eagle owls were of grand proportions and had gorgeous eyes and ferocious talons. The bat display gave me the most effective show of the little beasties that I'd ever seen. It was illuminated with a red light that seems to be invisible to bats, so they were active and happily showed off their aerial acrobatics. Speaking of acrobatics, the striped lemurs danced so expertly among the trees that they seemed to be giving a performance. There was a monkey cage directly adjacent to a cage full of colorful roosters, and that struck me as an odd juxtaposition. It was a fun afternoon, and we topped it off with a trip to a fancy bead store to fuel David's latest cottage industry of producing necklaces and earrings.