Posts Tagged "Zoo"

The Hippos Are Coming! The Hippos Are Coming to Cincinnati!

Dear Kid,

How cute is this Hippopotamus face? Cuteness coming soon to the Cincinnati Zoo. The Hippos Are Coming! The Hippos Are Coming!

And as far as I can tell, there won’t be any tutus involved (extra points if you get the reference–extra, extra points if you know the name of the hippo diva).

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer (and we all know that if it’s in print it MUST be true, but in this case I sincerely believe that the reporting is accurate), hippopotami are returning to the Cincinnati zoo. You can read the article here.


Henry (he’s a 34 year old) is going to move in with a much younger female (17 years old) and the watching will commence.

Part of the watching will be public. As in the public can watch the water horses cavort and frolic. At least to the extent hippos cavort and frolic and I really don’t know how much of that they do.

Part of the watching will be private. As in the zoo people will be watching for important signs and signals—like bringing her home to meet his mother and shopping for a ring.

There is great hope (hippo hope) that the two will breed and produce a contest to name a baby hippo. You don’t have to start figuring out names quite yet. The hippos don’t move in until 5 months or so from now, and the gestation period for a hippopotobaby is 8 months. (When you think about it, 8 months is a very short time for baking such a large animal.)

The whole exhibit is state-of-the-art and greener than Kermit, which gives us another reason to be much happy that the HIPPOS ARE COMING TO CINCINNATI!

Love, Mom

Her name is Hyacinth Hippo. The clip is her and “her servants.”

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What You Don’t Know About Giraffes & Why They Are Going Extinct

Dear Kid,

Some of us have the great pleasure of feeling short most of the time. I’ve met 3 year olds who are taller than I am. (Fortunately, I have a big personality to make up for my lack of actual stature.)

Some of us have the great pleasure of feeling tall most of the time. I imagine that people like LeBron and Shaq don’t often look up (literally speaking) to see other people’s faces.

But even those who play bball well enough to go by their first name alone are dwarfed by giraffes.

PHtttttt! Typical Teenage Giraffe. DearKidLoveMom.comGiraffes are tall. As in really tall. As in the tallest mammal in the world. They are the gangly teenage growth spurt of the animal kingdom.

Not only are they tall, they stand most of the time. When you’re that tall, you flaunt it. You don’t even bother with high heels. Not that most manufactures make shoes big enough for giraffes (the diameter of their feet is 30 centimeters on average—that’s bigger than yours).

Giraffes sleep standing up and they don’t sleep much. They sleep less than college students during finals week, needing between 10 minutes (yes, you read that right) and two hours a day of sleep.

Giraffes are peaceful animals. When you only get 10 minutes sleep a day for your entire life, you probably just don’t care enough to fight with anyone else.

Giraffes don’t sleep much because they spend their time eating. A lot. And (a la moo) they chew their cud.

Giraffes are universally envied for their eyelashes, and in other galaxies are frequently mascara models. DearKidLoveMom.comLike snowflakes, fingerprints, and zebra butts, no two giraffes have exactly the same spot print. (You knew that.) Some zoologists think their patterns are for camouflage. Clearly, these people know nothing about fashion; who wears the same thing as someone else? It’s just awkward.

Speaking of awkward (have you ever really looked at how that word is spelled? Even its letter arrangement is, wait for it, awkward), a giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. So in a gangly, awkward, ridiculously vulnerable move, giraffes have to spread their front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water. This leads to many arguments between young giraffes and their parents about being sufficiently hydrated and watching for lions while drinking.

This part is really cool: because the giraffe is so tall (I believe I mentioned that part), when it lowers its head to drink it is moving about six and a half miles down-altitude. To protect its brain from crazy changes in blood pressure, it has valves to stop the back-flow of blood and elastic-y vessels that dilate and constrict to manage blood flow. NASA has done research on giraffe blood vessels (the better to build human space suits).

a giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground. So in a gangly, awkward, ridiculously vulnerable move, giraffes have to spread their front legs or kneel to reach the ground for a drink of water. This leads to many arguments between young giraffes and their parents about being sufficiently hydrated and watching for lions while drinking.

Being as how giraffes shop in the Big and Tall sections, they have hearts suitable for their big and Tall bodies. A giraffe heart weighs approximately 11 kilograms (even bigger than the Grinch’s post-expansion heart) which is used to pump 60 liters of blood around its body every minute at a blood pressure twice that of an average human.

The horny things on giraffe heads are called ossicones. They are unattached at birth so they can don’t injure the mama giraffe (for which the mama giraffes are most grateful). Later in life the ossicones fuse to the giraffe’s skull.

There are many subspecies of giraffe (zoologists care. The rest of us, not so much), and giraffes are already extinct in at least 7 countries in Africa. We should all care about that. A lot.

Giraffes are already extinct in at least 7 countries in Africa. We should all care about that. A lot. DearKidLoveMom.comHug a giraffe today.

Love, Mom

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Defining Dallas

Dear Kid,

I am on my way to Dallas.

Dallas, Texas, that is. Turns out there are 5 or 6 (depending on which website you check) cities in other states with the name Dallas, not to mention a few counties, and at least one very important guiding eyes dog.

Dallas is the 9th largest city in the US. It was once part of Mexico, and then from 1836 to 1846 it was part of the sovereign country the Republic of Texas. Mostly it’s part of the state of sports (primarily football, but we’ll get to that), We Do Things Big Here, and weird stuff.

It is illegal to modify the weather in Dallas unless you warn residents via local newspaper. It is also illegal to fish using electric shock.

We’ll be flying in to the DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) airport which is bigger than Manhattan Island and may or may not be home to the world’s largest parking lot. We will not be sprinting from the gate to the car rental and we will allow plenty of time to hike to the gate on our way home Friday.

German chocolate cake was invented by Sam German of Baker’s Chocolate Company. The recipe first appeared in the Dallas Morning Star in 1957. The cake is named after the inventor not the country.

Dallas was founded in 1839, by John Neely Bryan, a lawyer from Tennessee, who wandered into the area and decided to start a metropolis (20 streets).

At the State Fair of Texas (also known by me as the Fried State Fair) you can purchase fried beer, fried Coke, and fried Cadbury Creme Eggs. There is a 52 foot Big Tex statue at the entrance of the fair. Makes you want to buy a ticket right now, doesn’t it?

Dallas is known for oil, although there aren’t any oil wells in the city.

Dallas has a zoo which was founded in 1888 with two mountain lions and two deer. It’s a lot bigger now (both the city and the zoo).

According to Fortune magazine’s marketing research, more popcorn is consumed in Dallas-Fort Worth than anywhere else.

Dallas is known for invention and industry (in addition to oil). The frozen margarita machine was invented there (it was a repurposed soft ice cream machine), the integrated circuit computer chip was invented there (not frozen), and the ATM was invented there by someone who was tired of waiting in bank lines. Clearly, the modern world would not be possible without Dallas.

A piece of cake from President Wilson’s daughter’s wedding is built into the Woodrow Wilson High School’s cornerstone.

Where there is oil and margaritas, there is shopping, and Dallas has a lot (and by “a lot” I mean more places to shop per capita than anywhere else in the world). The first planned shopping center in America was developed in Dallas in 1931. At one end of the shopping scale, 7-Eleven was founded in Dallas; at the other end, Neiman Marcus opened there.

The Dallas Cowboys were originally known as the Dallas Steers. The name was quickly changed, however, when the team’s general manager decided he didn’t want a castrated mascot.

And sports. Texas sports. Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Hams (the original name of the professional baseball team), Dallas Stars (hockey), Texas Rangers, FC Dallas (soccer), and countless minor league/college/high school/club/misc teams. Lots and lots of sports. But mostly football.

And for the next few days, me.

Love, Mom

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TEDxCincinnati Summary Part I (Thane Maynard, Zachary Green, & Coach Reed)

Dear Kid,

Still trying to process everything from TEDxCincinnati on Thursday.

TEDxCincinnati 2015 DearKidLoveMom.comIt was an amazing event filled with unbelievable speakers on the Main Stage and demos of cutting edge technology in Innovation Alley. Here are a couple—more to come anon.

Thane Maynard TEDxCincinnati 2015 DearKidLoveMom.comThane Maynard from the Cincinnati Zoo came with a feather of a condor (about a zillion feet long) and a talk about how the world can help heal itself if we let it. (Think about how bones heal themselves—the earth behaves in a similar fashion.) He brought a cheetah with him—because he can. The most amazing thing happened when this gorgeous cheetah came out. There house went quiet. There was no cheering, no applause, just a soft breath from the audience. Everyone seemed to understand that as much as we wanted to give her a standing ovation, the cheetah probably wouldn’t appreciate it. TEDxCincinnati is a classy place. During the break between sessions, Thane brought Tether the ball python to Innovation Alley.

Thane Maynard, Pi, and Tether the ball python TEDxCincinnati 2015

Zachary Green is the founder of MN8 Foxfire. A volunteer firefighter, he designed (Created? Invented? Applied? Pick your own verb) a photoluminescent (glow in the dark) technology that allows firefighters to see better in blackout conditions inside burning buildings. He told his story about creating and using the technology and the difference it’s made in safety and better fighting disasters. He’s now applying the technology to emergency exits and stairs in public buildings to improve safety. Prior to TEDxCincinnati, we put a small piece of the material on each program. Zachary had everyone turn on their phone, light up the strip, and then shut off all the lights. The room glowed. Pretty amazing.

TEDxCincinnati 2015 program with photoluminescent material by Zachary Green and MN8 Foxfire.

Coach Reed Maltbie is the Exec Director of STAR Soccer Club (and a bunch of other important soccer coaching stuff). He spoke about the difference between needing to coach skills (pass the ball) and needing to use words carefully to create the kind of people we want to see in the world. He talked about the impact coaches have on the kids they work with and how it is not the sports skills that stick with us through life, but how we’re treated, whether we’re believed in that shape us for life. Yes, I wanted to record his talk and play it back for certain unnamed sports coaches. And no, I probably won’t.

The great news is that all of the TEDxCincinnati talks will be available for on-line viewing in about 6 weeks. Until then, you’ll just have to trust me that it was an amazing event, and check back in occasionally for overviews of some of the other speakers.

Love, Mom


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