I’m so excited to kick off the New Year with brand-new blogs! I have to admit it has been awhile since my last entry. To be honest, since graduating college my life has seemed to go into turbo drive! 2012 was an incredibly busy year for the animals and I: We embarked on a 54 date tour across the United States, geared up for “Today Show” appearances, and filmed three separate projects in Africa. I’m happy to announce though that I plan on documenting much more of 2013! Take a look at some of my favorite highlights in January:
The best part about spending New Years weekend in Seattle? Visiting the Woodland Park Zoo. This zoo is one of a small handful of zoos in North America that feature jaguars. Their exhibit was top-notch: complete with heated caves, lush vegetation, and large pool with underwater viewing.
Mixed-species exhibits make up a good portion of this 92 acre park. These Patas Monkeys share a large African Savanna habitat with giraffes, ostriches, zebras, and gazelles. Heated rocks throughout the exhibit keep the monkeys warm during cooler temperatures.
Here is my best attempt at trying to get a good picture with a Dwarf Crocodile! Reptiles galore can be found in the zoo’s Day House Exhibit.
Even the gorillas were trying to keep warm during our visit! Nina (pictured) loved to flaunt her pink at zoo visitors.
At 45 years old, Nina is the troop’s matriarch and proud grandmother of several offspring. Interestingly, the zoo keeps her on birth control to prevent her from becoming pregnant.
I loved the zoo so much I came back the following evening for Wild Lights! The African Waterhole scene hands-down was my favorite. For more information about the Woodland Park Zoo check out www.zoo.org
A few days later it was off to New York City for The Today Show. What made this trip so memorable was that my sister Micah was able to join me for the first time.
There is a lot of prep that goes into segments for national shows like Today. Picking the right animals is easy. From there I do my research, figure out on-air order, and connect with the animal handlers.
There was quite a crowd outside Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza! Several celebrities made appearances that morning including Dr. Oz and Betty White.
Behind-the-scenes, handlers safely unload the animals into the building. During this time I’m able to interact with each animal and figure out their on-air transitions for the segment.
After a few camera teases, its showtime! Click the link to watch the segment in full http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50385682#50385682
After the show we had the afternoon free to do some classic NYC sightseeing. Cruising around New York Harbor near Liberty Island was unforgettable.
I love to travel and feel so incredibly blessed for opportunities like “The Today Show.” I can honestly say though, there is nothing like being home! For the first time in months I went back to the zoo where I spent a good portion of of my childhood: Zoo Boise.
It was a chance to meet up with some old friends; like Mr. Mac the Aldabra Tortoise.
Zoo Boise was the first zoo in the country to develop a conservation fund where a portion of each admission goes straight into funding conservation projects around the globe. They help animals like lemurs in Madagascar.
My favorite animal at the zoo: the Komodo Dragon. We were even lucky enough to see a feeding. Their dragon is clicker trained to go in an enclosure behind-the-scenes where he happily awaits his meals. This allows the keepers access to his exhibit for cleaning and enrichment purposes.
I don’t know a better way to wrap up our visit than this: Interacting with one of the zoo’s two serval kittens. Both were hand-raised and are part of an animal ambassador program. For more information about Zoo Boise visit www.zooboise.org
What a perfect picture to wrap up January! This was taken right outside our animal facilities on the Snake River.
More to come....