There seem to be three central zones of exploration at the wildlife sanctuary: there's the aviary, where one can feed ducks and geese and visit birds of prey; there's the indoor nature center full of exploratory nooks and specimen drawers and live animals in smaller containers; and there's this last area, a trail complete with mainly mammals.
It's hard for me to tell the difference between a coyote and a wolf, particularly when whipping by at higher speeds. Even fairly still, I had to squint and scrunch at the above two, and I think much of that is the thickness of the coyotes--they're wonderfully plump living in their pens, and the fierce flung antics are really play as opposed to the more natural competition.
We were lucky in our visit: the wolves began their haunting choral howl. I video'ed some of it (and some of the birds of prey having a meal) and hope to compile those three and share soon. Maya was thrilled, and she also overheard one of the workers call one wolf Luna: What are all the other names, Mama?
What I'm struck with, as a parent, is the absolute pleasure of observing your child observing. Maya was able to tell me names of many of the turtles: painted and snap, and we learned more: wood and others. She overheard someone else calling the snapping turtle a dinosaur turtle and we talked about why that might be.
Five is such an amazing age, isn't it? The curiosity and language are explosive and are leading to actual conversations outside of the why-and-answer. Discussions and imaginings. I'm learning so much too--learning so I can answer her questions, but learning, again, how to ask questions. What that was like. Parenthood truly leads to a lot of just getting it done, but it also forces you to slow down and embrace too.
I love that this was our last look before we had to return home. Hello, world, we'll see you again sometime soon, because she's asked it already: Can we go back again? And again and again, my love.