Monday, July 30, 2012

Alligator Farm

Week 61:  As I told you last week, we were trying to wrap up the summer with a few more fun activities...this week was the Alligator Farm (but I will tell you more about that later)!
The week started off as any other normal week - trip to the grocery store, playing with friends and playing outside!  I finally got the pool back in working order and the kids have been loving it and swimming as much as possible!
Friday, we headed out to the barn for horseback lessons. Ed was able to come out to the barn to watch lessons, and Mary Virginia put on a great show! Bailey wasn't feeling well, so MV rode Indy this week - and she rode most of the lesson with her eyes closed! Her trainer was trying to work on balance and this was her technique to teach MV. I will admit that I was scared to death...watching her ride such a large horse with no reigns and her eyes closed and in her 2-point, but she blew me away! She is so focused and she loves these horses!
 Saturday, we embraced Louisiana!  I bought a Groupon a few months back for an Alligator Farm Tour in Hammond and we have been putting it off for a few weeks because of the heat and the weather...the kids were so excited to get to finally see some alligators.  I was not too sure about this place when we pulled up, but once we walked into the farm, WOW!  There were only a few moments when I felt a little nervous while in the farm:  one, when the guide told us that there were a few alligators (5) unaccounted for, but that if we came in contact with them, he would take care of them (mainly by throwing the one Alabama fan on the tour to the gator) and the second was when he told us that the fence surrounding the large pond was there for protection, but if the gators really wanted out, the females could easily climb the fence and the males could push right through it in a matter of seconds!  I am sure that I don't have to tell you, but we kept the kids VERY close (not that we could do anything if an alligator came through the fence)!

 MV was posing in front of the gator that she named "No Claw".  This was one of the female alligators in the pond with the "big" alligators.  This pond housed the alligators that have been at the farm since it opened 50 something years ago!  MV loved this alligator, she had lost a part of her tail, a claw and a finger in a "turf war".
 This is one of the males watching us, watch "No Claw".  It was not very far from the fence and he kept an eye on everything that was going on.  I am not sure if you can see it in the picture, but there is another very large male alligator right behind him (about the middle of the picture along the top edge).  According to the guide, he only would have about 1500 lbs of pressure when he chomped!
 This is our guide, putting on a little show for us feeding the alligators.  What you cannot see is "No Claw" is sitting up on the concrete pad to his right and the male gator from above is also to the right.  Now, in the picture you can clearly see two alligators reaching for food, but there are at least 5 alligators in this picture.  There are also more to the right and then more in the lilies behind the front row of gators!  It was unbelievable! You could watch the lilies move and know the alligators were moving around out there.
 John Bay looking incredibly bored, but he loved it too!
Further around the pond, we met "Crush".  He is 16 feet long and King of the Pond.  He guards his area and according to the guide, he will "allow" some of the males and females to come hang out, but "when he says the party is is over!"  He also has "his" females living around the area (if you look really close, you can see a wooded area in the top right and there is a female alligator up there guarding her nest).  Now, to show you how large Crush is, you can see his head on the left and on the center right you see a portion of the tail (this is the middle of the tail).  He was HUGE! 
John Bay needed a bathroom break and when we started to head back, this is what we found!
By far, this was MV's favorite part of the trip (and no, mom, she did not hurt the gator by sitting on it or by holding his mouth).  Edwas even able to hold the alligator! (This is our guide sitting with MV and Ed.)
After an amazing day at the Alligator Farm, we met the B&G group out for dinner at Zippy's.  I feel sorry for any other customers in the restaurant - we took over the patio and with all of the kids it was a little crazy!  We had a wonderful time with friends and we will be sad to see some of our friends leave, but we wish them the best back in Birmingham!
We had such an amazing weekend, I can't wait to see what we can do to top it next weekend!

1 comment:

  1. The Youngblood's will skip this when we come to visit! eeek! Cute pictures!!!