Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Boy and His Rhino

For the second installment of Little C's 2nd birthday, I need to first lay some ground work. As I mentioned, C is in a jungle/zoo animal phase. I suspect his adoration of the creatures stems from us going to the Zoo very, very often.

My parents gifted us with Zoo membership last year and it honestly has been one of the best gifts we've ever received. We live very close to the Zoo so it makes for a quick and easy outing when our toddler needs to get some energy out. Plus, it's educational and there is plenty of space to run or explore. And since we are members we don't feel pressed for time or the need to see the entire Zoo in one visit. It rocks!

At some point on one of our visits Little C became captivated by the rhinos. The Denver Zoo is home to two Black Rhinos and every time we go we have to visit them first and we spend a great deal of time just staring at the big grey animals. Little C refers to them as the "two buddies."

We bought him a toy rhino once we knew how much he loved them and that thing has gone everywhere with him. His sleeps with it, takes baths with it, takes it on outings with him. And as silly as it sounds, I even took "Rhino" with me into the delivery room so I could have a little bit of C with us while welcoming P-Nut into our family.
So, you get the idea. C-man looooves rhinos!
One day while we were at the Zoo, in the pachyderm house, staring at the rhinos, for only the 118th time, we saw a family go into the rhino habitat and feed them with one of the zoo keepers. Hubs and I immediately looked at each other and said, "we HAVE to do that for C's birthday!"
After a number of phone calls and chatting with the rhino's keeper we arranged a "meet and greet" so Little C could get up close and personal with his beloved rhino.
It was AMAZING! The rhino's name is Mushindi, "Mush" for short. He is so docile and it was incredible to be that close to a 2,000 lb animal. C was a bit timid at first and would drop the rhino's food before reaching his mouth. Can you blame him...
Here are more photos of our visit. I did not zoom in on any one of these shots. We were that close!
The rhino keeper was teaching us how the jaw and mouth work

C dropped the food before getting it into Mush's mouth

Dad had to show him how to do it first.

Mush's skin is very rough.

C liked his furry ear.

The whole fam with our new friend Mushindi


P-Nut wanted in on the action!

The top flap of the rhino's mouth is like a hand so we were encouraged to give him a "high five." Little C loved this!

Look how tiny his hand is compared to that huge head!

Mush comin' in for a smooch!

Hey there, big fella!

And those are just a few of the awesome pics! Little C is still talking about how he got to touch a rhino and feed him. Hubs and I were so pleased with how everything went and we are so glad C wasn't too scared to enjoy it. That was our biggest fear. But our fearless animal lover had a blast!
Now we have the fun task of explaining to a toddler that the next time we are at the Zoo why we can't feed the rhino again... should be easy, right?

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