When planning for this trip I wanted it to be really relaxing, so I just chose one “excursion” and decided to leave the rest of the schedule open. The one place I chose was Palmitos Park, a zoo more or less, but with performing animals. Who doesn’t love performing animals? (Don’t answer that. #blackfish.)
We caught the bus first thing in the morning, which was just around the corner from where we were staying. It was really nice not having to worry about a car on this trip. We did a lot more walking and some bus riding, but we didn’t have any trouble getting where we wanted to go.
The bus ride up to the park was it’s own kind of adventure, the views were scenic and the roads slightly resembled an amusement park ride.
A few weeks before our holiday Eli had written an essay about parrots. The essay topic asked which animal he would be if he could be any animal, and he chose the parrot. (Because they can talk and fly, obviously.) Around that time he became obsessed with parrots, and Palmitos Park specialized in exotic birds, so I knew he would appreciate it. As a bonus, they had a performing parrot show, that was possibly the highlight of the trip for Eli, and the highlight of the day for the rest of us. (Well, in close competition with the dolphins.)
The parrots were hilarious. Apparently Eli knew that parrots are really smart, but it was news to me. They rode bikes, did puzzles, rode a scooter, went down a slide and many other adorable miniature things. It was really cute and entertaining.
The park itself was really gorgeous. It reminded me of the San Diego Zoo, although slightly more of a desert feel.
Oh man, these tortoises moved so slowly and Richard had this tortoise narrative going on that had us all cracking up.
Lots of other animals too…
Another one of the shows featured birds of prey, and this bald eagle, “Yukon” stole Simon’s heart. Every bald eagle for the rest of his life will now be called “Yukon” I think. It was neat to watch them fly down the canyon, then circle up higher and higher until they flew right back to the trainers.
After that we saw a few more birds, ate lunch and then made our way to the dolphin pavilion.
Eli’s favorite, the scarlet macaw.
The dolphin show was so fun. When it was over we all agreed that we would happily sit there and watch the entire thing all over again. Maybe it was the warm sunshine, or the fun music, or just the impressive tricks of the brilliant animals and their engaging trainers, but we couldn’t get enough.
We caught this guy and his buddy right at feeding time. He would hang there with one arm and feed himself with one foot, while letting the other arm and foot just dangle, as if to say “Ain’t no thang.” He was also fighting with his buddy for the mangos, and you could tell he was the more assertive one.
We saw a boa constrictor eat a couple rats on our way out, but I was in no mood for taking pictures. Bleck.
The bus ride down the valley went quickly and the kids were itching to swim in the pool that we shared with a few surrounding bungalows. We had it all to ourselves, which made sense because it was SO COLD. It was colder than the ocean water. We all got in, but not for long. Mostly we just laid in the sunshine will the kids dipped their toes.
I. like. big. bellies an-I-can-not lie.
After swimming we dressed and walked back down to the beach to find a restaurant for dinner. We tried some tapas and had a nice relaxing meal. By the time we finished dinner it was dark, so we stopped again at the grocery store for breakfast food. We put the kids to bed and then Richard and I listened to the first episode of the second season of Serial, and reminisced about being in Hailey on the day that news broke that Bowe Bergdahl had been released. We were sitting in a cafe eating breakfast and watching the faces of the locals as they saw the news on the T.V.s on the wall. In spite of everything that lead up to that moment, it’s hard to forget what it meant to those people.