A wild welcome to New Orleans
It’s mating season at the New Orleans Audubon Zoo, as we and too many children so unfortunately discovered during our visit Monday, Aug. 14.
A pair of particularly frisky baboons and hump happy otters either had parents shielded their children’s eyes or pointing and laughing.
I felt sorry for all the parents who would inevitably find themselves explaining the birds, the bees and the baboons, a little earlier than they’d hoped. At least the otters looked like they were just cuddling.
With temperatures hovering at just under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many of the animals were chilling out seeking relief from the thick Louisiana heat.
Malayan Sun Bears played in the water, while the tigers and leopards dozed in the shade.
Having arrived in New Orleans at just past noon, we had four hours to kill before we could check into our hotel downtown.
This left us with plenty of time to meander through the exhibit and take in the sights and sounds.
I have always delighted in zoos, and, exhibitionist baboons and otters aside, today was no different.
Niecie, who had booked the tickets online, before we left even seemed to be enjoying herself as well as we wondered about the many strange and magical creates on display.
In particular, she wanted to get up-close and personal with an alligator. I’m not sure why she was so fascinated by these prehistoric death machines from my worst nightmares, but before long we were staring at the gaping jaws of a duck weed covered gator.
It wasn’t just the gators. Niecie seemed to delight in the entire reptile and amphibian exhibit. Perhaps she enjoyed the air conditioning that offered us a momentary escape from the heat.
The night before somewhere in Mississippi
The sun was shining when we arrived at the zoo, a far cry from the downpour we’d received the night before as we pulled into Lefleur’s Bluff State Park just outside Jackson, Mississippi.
The rain was coming down so hard when we came off the exit we crashed through a puddle of water several inches deep much to Niecie’s surprise.
We’d expected rain. We hadn’t expected the heavens to open up on us.
Upon arriving, we discovered our campsite was just yards from a rain engorged river. A few more inches of rain and we could find the water filling out tent in the middle of the night.
It was warm, in the high 80s, and the air clung to us like an inescapable blanket. Sleep wouldn’t come easily tonight.
With the light fading, we hoped for the best and set to work setting up the tent. With heavy rain was forecast for the rest of the night, and so I erected an additional rain fly using one of the 8×10-foot tarps Niecie had picked up before the trip.
The tarp allowed us to shield both entrances of the tent from the onslaught of rain still to come and allow air to flow freely to and from the tent as we tried to get what little rest we could.
I know now why they call them the dog days of summer.
As I pounded the last stake in the ground by the light of my headlamp — Thanks mom for the headlamps by the way they’re great — Niecie was finishing up dinner.
Niecie’s one-pot sausage spaghetti was just what we needed after a long day on the road. After a warm meal on an even warmer day, we settled into our tent where we attempted to find sleep.
Unfamiliar with the choking humidity, the best I could manage was short naps 15-20 minutes at a time. Niecie, a child of Georgia, rejoiced in the familiar heat and heaviness of the air and slept soundly through the night.
Sun shone through the tents thin mesh windows as Niecie and I stirring from our sleep.
While she wondered off to the shower I was confronted by the sheer beauty of the riverside camp.
More to come
Check back tomorrow to learn more about our trip to The Big Easy.
Enjoy this post? We think you’ll enjoy these too.
- On the road to The Big Easy — Day 1
- Eating up the miles — Day 2 on the road to the big easy
- Dreams of Adventure our plans for 2017
Please comment and share
- Have you ever been the Audubon Zoo? What did you think?
- Have a favorite activity to do in New Orleans? We want to know about it?
- Where should we camp on our journey back to Wisconsin?
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