Aunt Diana, the Animal Whisperer

Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
Trip End May 14, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, January 21, 2010

After work on Wednesday, we drove over to Venus, TX to spend the night with Kelsey's Aunt Diana and Uncle Buzz.

First thing to know about Aunt Diana is that she's a phenomenal cook. She invited her entire local family over for dinner, and to meet us in the process. She prepared potroast, which is Kelsey's absolutely favorite meal (it wasn't even pre-arranged). The meat was tenderized and marinated with Dr. Pepper--yeah, soda. Fantastic. Dessert was made-from-scratch chocolate cake. Specifically, it was boiled water cake. I don't quite understand how it's made, but once all the dry stuff is mixed, just pour boiling water over it and stick it in the oven. Somehow, it turns out incredibly soft.

Uncle Buzz let me wear his cowboy hat and hold one of his guns. Kelsey couldn't resist taking a picture.

He also had us try some Dublin Dr. Pepper. It's a special brand of Dr. Pepper made only in Dublin, TX. It's made from pure cane sugar. Hopefully we'll pass through Dublin sometime real soon.

Well, all in all we had a wonderful evening. We met all of Diana's animals--two birds, a fish, two cats, and a dog. The dog is funny--he's a lap dog and very cuddly, and his name is Yeller. The only thing is is that he doesn't know how much space he takes up. Yeller doesn't know he's a Golden Retriever. He was particularly fond of me that night, so I had to say goodbye to my personal space.

* * *

The next day was our day off, so we were able to spend some time with Aunt Diana in the morning and afternoon. She wanted to take us to Dallas to visit the Dallas World Aquarium. She said it was like "One minute, you're in the middle of downtown Dallas, the next minute you're in the middle of a rainforest."

She was not exaggerating.

Even the outside of the building looked like it was being consumed by rainforest. And when you walked inside, you were swalled up in this world they created. A huge three-story waterfall emptied into a pond where exotic birds wallowed, turtles paddled, and even manatees lumbered below the surface.

Amazonian birds flew flreely throuhgout the building. And terrarium peekhold windows dotted the walls, offering glimpses into the little world of little (and not-so-little creepy-crawlies that best not roam freely.

I got to feed a little mini toucan (I'm not sure of it's real name, but you can see the picture).  There were just some blueberries on a table, and it flew down to me and ate them out of my hand.
You can spot monkeys darting between branches of trees, and even a sloth lounged just out of arm's reach. There's a 360-degree glass tunnel through shark-infested waters, and you can go to the bottom level to see the underwater manatees and huge Amazonian fish behind glass.

After visiting the aquarium's jaguar, we concluded our visit with lunch at one of the cafes.

Absolutely wonderful visit--I highly recommend the aquarium to anyone visiting Dallas.

Our wildlife adventure didn't end in Dallas, however! On our drive down to Huntsville Thursday evening, we passed a livestock ranch with all sorts of, well, livestock. It was so stunning, we had to stop the car. All in one fenced-in area, there were deer (antelope?), buffalo, llamas, rams, a few moose, even an ostrich! We took pictures, but I've decided to not attach them because our camera couldn't zoom in enough (camera phone... you can see the image closer in real life than you ever could through its lens...) Just take my word for it. Very cool.

Okay that's it. Off to Huntsville! G'night.
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