Let's Do the Zoo
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV
Misc Frogs V
Pet World Visit
Exit Stage Left. Before getting to the second floor and the behind the scenes equipment, we walked past other exhibits. If you like scarlet macaws, you'll be impressed by the near dozen or so of these magnificent birds. There was a nice flock of them strutting around, preening themselves and each other.
Plenty of Room. Lots of wood to chew on and plenty of branches to roost on. Oddly enough, we didn't see any of them flying about. And because they were behind glass, we couldn't hear their ear-splitting squawks. When you can arrange a cage the size of two living rooms, maybe they have nothing to squawk about?
Then the Arctic Room. From China, the red panda above looks altogether different from the black and white bamboo eaters we usually see. Never having seen one before, we had to ask "What the heck is that funny looking raccoon?"
About the Size of a Raccoon. The Zoo owns a pair of these red pandas and has the necessary permits to breed them. Then we went out to the reception area and took the elevator upstairs.
At the Far End. Here's the top of their jellyfish columnar display -- lit by a black light. At least six feet across (maybe eight, I forgot my tape measure), the column makes an excellent display. Unfortunately, the shape of the column made it impossible to photograph. Too much flash reflection.
The Jellyfish. So we had to content ourselves with pictures of the individual jellyfish. They show up very nicely under black light.
Alien Looking. Looks quite a bit like the space ships that extricate people from the earth prior to probing them.
From the Top. Various size jellyfish live in close proximity. These are not harmful to humans or each other.
Up Close and Personal. Without the black light, they look like this -- even more jelly-like than when in the water.
Bountiful Breeders. These filter disks contain thousands of eggs each. With beau coup water changes the adults, eggs, and various size youngsters tolerate incredible crowding.
Lots of Juveniles. If memory serves, Kirk said this 55-gallon tank contains thousands of juvenile jellyfish. They live in refrigerated water. Kirk squeegeed the tank front so we could see these guys. Kirk trades the excess young jellys to other Zoos for their stock. It's illegal for the Zoo to sell them or other critters, but they can barter with them.
"Home-Made" Equipment. If you buy the jellyfish rearing tubing and other equipment from the factory, Kirk says it would set you back about $5,000. His do-it-yourself version came in at about one-tenth the cost.
The Chiller. His water chiller, of course, was not home-made. The hook ups, filters, and water changing system were.
Micronite Filters. Water travels thru this bank of micronite filters and comes out much heathier than live seawater. This is actually two banks of filters, so half can be cleaned while the othe half continues on the job.
Internal Workings. About three-feet long, these micronite filters closely resemble the filters in the Marineland Magnum filters. Note the Saltwater mix boxes.
Add Salt to Taste. Kirk says they go thru 5,000 gallons of saltwater per month.
Like Rocks? Mbunas from Lake Malawi love rocks. They live in them, love in them, and reproduce in them. The African cichlid babies hide in them (at least the smart ones do). The alpha males claim a stake on their favorite rocks, and we enjoy their interplay.
Mbunas Love Rocks Even More. These mbuna youngsters instinctively know that they are rock dwellers. You can see their entire domocile at Let's Do the Zoo.
From the Top. You get a their different view of their 700-gallon microcosm from here. The public has to content itself with a view from the front. By the way, African cichlids love our Des Moines water.
Meanwhile, Back Upstairs. All Kirk needs is a Tesla static generator to complete the mad scientist look of the lab upstairs. By flipping a few valves, he can make substantial water changes in his huge saltwater aquarium.
Personal Entrance to the Saltwater Exhibit. Just in case you were not suitably impressed by the size of their huge saltwater aquarium, here's a top view. When Kirk dons his frogman suit and breathing apparatus, he enters the tank thru the top. Special unbreakable handholds were built into the tank to make entrance and egress possible. Usually two people clean the tank at once. No expensive trips to the Virgin Islands necessary, Kirk can SCUBA at will. Gratis.
Just a Reminder. In case you forgot the huge saltwater tank in the Zoo's Aquatic Room, here's a reminder. We couldn't take close up photos because the tank had been scrubbed right before we arrived. It still looked murky from the cleaning. Maybe later.
Special Lights. Five 5,000 watt lights illuminate the tank. Saltwater can be highly corrosive -- especially bubbling saltwater. It eats metal. Each light has reinforced hangers to make sure they won't fall into the water and electrocute the fish (and Kirk).
R/O Water. Kirk's reverse osmosis water system can produce 5,000 gallons per day. He uses it in the various saltwater tanks, after adding the Instant Ocean mix, of course.
Easy Water Changes. Flipping these switches to change the water sure beats working with a siphon and a five-gallon bucket. Whew, that's enough of the techie stuff. We let Kirk get back to his real job and decided to take a look at the Zoo's koi pond (which turned out to be harder than expected).
Chilean Flamingos. Leaving the warm building we walked past the Chilean flamingos. They were chilling. The chilly March weather and chilly March water did not seem to faze them a bit. Looks like these three not-so-little Chilean flamingo chicks enjoy the chilly water, too.
Lazy Peacock. Cold ground didn't seem to stop this peacock from loafing on the cold grass next to the path. He didn't fan his tail at us, but he did perk up. Peacocks are natural born show boats. We were still on our way to the koi pond (which was locked off on this shortest route).
Cold Weather Fan. We tried to get into the koi pond thru the petting zoo area. No such luck. But we bumped into some other critters on the way. Since this guy's relatives run around in the Andes, our cold March felt like down home to him. Nice profile. Very friendly rascal. He probably thought we'd brought llama snacks with us. No such luck for him, too.
Caution Advised. Never trust a llama that looks directly at you. Ticked off (and not so ticked off) llamas like to spit more than a Copenhagen snuss chewer. Luckily, this guy was out of snuss. The three gates to the koi pond from here were locked as well. In the old days we'd have leapt on over. But since we've become more civilized (and maybe a couple pounds heavier), we decided to come back when the Zoo returns to Summer Hours and unlocks the gates to the koi pond.
Lazin' in the Sun. On the way out, we
spotted this otter loafing in the sun. Otters normally play more than the
Energizer Bunny. It's hard to catch one loafing. Seemed like a good
idea to us, so we continued out to the parking lot and headed on home. Do
the zoo yourself. You'll enjoy it. LA
3600 Sixth Avenue
Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues
Des Moines, IA 50313
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Pla Kat
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI
Pleco Costly VII
USD Gold Flake
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III
Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Jaguar Spawning II
Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon