Feb 15 - Rainforest Pyramid; Pelican Island

Trip Start Jan 08, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Today it was a nice day temperature-wise (22 degrees), but very foggy.  We couldn't even see the gulf from the sidewalk 10 feet away.  The forecast was also for thundershowers, so we decided to head to the Rainforest Pyramid.

They just completed $25 million in enhancements to the building, following damage from Hurricane Ike.  It's a 10-story arborium, but with birds and exotic animals.  What's different is that the birds and monkeys are all loose - no cages - which made for an interesting encounter for Roger and me. 

There is a canopy walkway in the tops of the treetops, and Roger and I were watching tamarinds and Saki monkeys in the trees below.  One of the staff happened to be in the area, and she said to be aware that the monkeys often jump out of the trees, but not to worry because they don't attack or anything.  Oooookay.  At that moment, one of the Saki monkeys jumped on the railing right beside me.  I let out a yelp and jumped back.  He went scurrying down the railing, jumped off, and ran across the walkway right beside Roger.  Then another Saki did the same thing.  Jeez, scared the living daylights out of us!

We also saw a giant Amazon river otter (the size of a medium dog).  He was having a hoot playing with a plexiglass tube toy that was in his enclosure - pushing it around, slipping it on his arm, spinning around it.  At the Chinese alligator swamp, we happened to see the staff feeding them a big dead rat.  Yuck.  There were waterfalls, neat features like Mayan ruins, lots of exotic plants, and many other creatures (parrots, bats, lizards, etc).  It was a pretty cool place.

After the Rainforest, we headed to Pelican Island.  The island is linked to Galveston Island by a causeway, and Seawolf Park is located there.  It's a day park, with fishing piers, picnic areas, etc.  The thing that amazed us was how habituated the pelicans were.  We got out of the car in the parking lot, and there were two pelicans sitting there.  We went to walk past, and they just looked at us.  I got closer, and they still just looked at us.  Weird. 

We continued on and saw two guys fishing off the pier.  They said the fishing wasn't that good today and, what they did catch, the pelicans came and stole right off the hook!  While we were there, the one guy caught a little mudshark.  They're spiny and have stiff fins, so the guy took it off the hook and threw it to the pelicans.  Well, what an ordeal.  One pelican after the other tried to swallow this thing, but because it was so pokey, they couldn't get it to slide down. We felt so bad for them - it seemed like the fish was getting caught in their pouch skin and we were afraid they were having trouble.  But they would half spit it out and try again, so we knew they were just being stubborn.  :oP

We also saw dolphins jumping just off the shore.  The fishing guys were concerned that they might get tangled in their lines, so they pulled their rods in and waited for them to leave. 

We headed out to another set of piers that goes way further out onto the water, looked around a bit, then headed back to the car.  We checked on the pelicans again, and they were still trying to swallow that damn mudshark.  We hope they're not still there trying to eat it!

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Lorraine on

oh dear, that poor pelican. he'll have a sore throat in the morning ;o( Those Saki monkeys are odd looking eh? Looks like they stuck their face in the catsup? LOL Gawd, I hope the fog lifts so you can better enjoy your last day 2moro? I think you head for San Antonio on Friday?

roganna on

Forecast is for sun and 70 degrees today, but it's grey and cloudy out there. I hope it clears. Yes, you're right, it's our last day here. Tomorrow we're off to hook up with Gil & Lois in San Antonio.

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