Saturday, October 26, 2013

Santa Ana Zoo

Who needs Disneyland when we can go to a zoo with 50 monkeys?  The Prentice Park Zoo was given to the city 60 years ago with the condition that it is to house 50 monkeys at all times.  That was the impetus for John and I to make certain that we stop at the zoo before leaving Santa Ana.
Pictured above is a cotton- top tamarin monkey, there are also other varieties of tamarins- as well as gibbons, capuchins and spider monkeys.  Speaking of the latter, we were intrigued watching them snack on their food.  They seemed to have a compulsion to wash their food in a tub of water before eating it.  We spent a great deal of time at the monkey cages, but the zoo does have other interesting animals as well as birds.  It seems that even in small zoos as this one we seem to find one animal which we do not remember seeing in other zoos.  This time we saw a binturong, a small mammal in the civet family which has the appearance of a cross between a cat and a bear.  I could not get a good picture of him.
I got excited when I saw the green-cheeked parrot, which is pictured above.  It looked like the ones we had seen Sunday while hiking in Irvine Park.  The zoo has a small collection of parrots which they have found injured in the surrounding towns of Irvine, Tustin, as well as Santa Ana.  Some of the wild parrots which are found in southern California were once caged birds.  The number of green-cheeked parrots were down to 3,000 because of poachers collecting them- that has changed since Mexico protected them with their  Endangered Species law.
To some extent the zoo is also a botanical garden, it has many tropical plants and trees which are labeled.  Pictured above is the silk floss tree which is currently blossoming.  In its seed pod are white cotton- like fibers which are attached to black seeds.  Before the advent of synthetic materials, the fibers were used to stuff pillows.  The beautiful flower with its seed pod is pictured below.  We have learned in our travels to never pass up a zoo, no matter how small it is.  About every time we visit one we are glad we stopped- and the Prentice Park Zoo was no exception.

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