I hope you are sitting down, because you are just not going to believe this! You know how Annabelle has always declared that anteaters say meep? Well, it turns out that they do say meep and sometimes they roar! But I'm getting ahead of myself in my story here.
We drove down to Nashville yesterday and checked into the Renaissance Hotel. We spent the afternoon wandering around downtown and had an early supper at the Hard Rock Cafe. Here's a group shot of us in front of the capitol building and Mike in front of a bass at the Hard Rock:
After supper, we returned to the hotel for swimming and the 2-hour marathon of "The Office" on NBC.
But, Bonnie, you are probably asking, why on earth did you go to Nashville in the first place? Was it for the country music?
I'm glad you asked! We went to Nashville for the anteaters. Yes, anteaters. Most of you know that Annabelle has had a thing for anteaters ever since she bought her first stuffed one in Moscow. We tried to visit the anteater in Amsterdam, but he (unlike us) had the good sense to stay inside during the miserable weather. We marveled at a baby anteater riding on his mommy (or would that be mummy?) at the London Zoo. We even dropped by the St. Louis Zoo to check out the anteater there, although I was too busy moving to Kentucky from Germany to ever blog about it. (If you're interested, you can go here to look at my unedited photos from that trip.) Annabelle even chose anteaters as her theme for the "fun fotos" they took at school this spring:
But Nashville? Nashville, as it turns out, is the mother ship of all anteaterdom. Yes, the Nashville Zoo has 13 anteaters and is world famous for their breeding program. Unfortunately, the anteaters aren't on public display, so the only way to visit these majestic beasts is by taking a backstage VIP tour.
Our tour began promptly at 9 this morning, when Cindy from the Education Department picked us up and whisked us away to the anteater barn. There we met Zookeeper Lindsay, who spent the next hour answering our every question and letting us admire her long-nosed babies.
I was hesitant to ask what sort of sound anteaters make, as I knew Annabelle would be crushed if they didn't say meep. Lindsay told us that they have been known to roar but that they also sometimes make a whimpering sound. "Perhaps like meep?" I asked. "Exactly," she said. What a relief!
We learned many other interesting anteater facts. Did you know, for example, that anteaters like avocado? And yogurt? And that sometimes anteaters like to check out the zookeeper's boot?
We spent some time at the end of our tour visiting with Oranjeboom, whose cage placard declared his likes to be "long walks in the Pontenal, avocadoes, and practical jokes." He dislikes "waxworms and days that I'm stuck inside."
After our tour, we headed for the gift shop, where Annabelle rounded out her anteater collection with 3 new additions to the family. Then we went to the carousel, the only one anywhere that features an anteater:
Almost as soon as we finished the anteater festivities, the weather turned dark and threatening. We spent a little more time exploring the zoo before making a mad dash for our car in the pouring rain. I did manage to snap a couple cool bug pictures and one of an elephant in a rather jaunty pose:
All in all, it was one meep of a grand time!
2 weeks ago