I can touch them?!

When my grandma told me she'd booked an African Wildlife Experience for us to go on, that was the first thing I said... "I can touch them?!".

I was, of course, talking about the animals. Ever since I was a kid I've loved anything to do with animals and wildlife. The first question I'd ask when entering someone's house was "do you have any pets" and I'd honestly preferred the company of animals to humans. So needless to say, a day where I could cuddle up with some unusual wild creatures was my idea of heaven. 

However, before my very exciting African Wildlife Experience began, I had to pay some dues in the form of a very cold and windy day trip to Blackpool. The UK's answer to Coney Island really isn't much fun when you're over the age of 15 and under the age of 65, but was a nice opportunity to spend the day with my lovely Nanu and we did go to the top of the Blackpool Tower, which I hadn't done before. We were also rewarded with a pretty stunning sunset at the end of the day.  Above is an out of focus photo taken of my grands and I by her friend and a snap of the many, many seagulls waiting to steal chips from an unsuspecting tourists' hands.

So, back to the important bit... The animals. As soon as we got to the farm, we were ushered into a side room by our guide, who happened to be holding a gorgeous young Caracal called Shaka. Caracals look a bit like a smaller version of the Lynx, but they're not actually related to them. Some people do in fact own these as pets, which I can imagine would be quite a handful. They're not your average cat and this one isn't even fully grown.

As it was the African Wildlife experience, obviously all of the animals we experienced were native to the continent. Next up were the baby Meerkats.

Oh. My. Gosh. These little guys were so adorable (you'll see a pattern forming here) and they immediately snuggled up and went to sleep as soon as they were in my lap. I took quite a few #MeerkatSelfies with them, you know, to continue the tradition. (It all started with the 'Goat Selfie' in Greece).

After I managed to pry myself away from the sleepy Meerbabies, we fed some Ring-tailed Lemurs (think King Julian from Madagascar) who weren't very cuddly at all. They did enjoy a bit of mango though, and having them cling on to my fingers with their little Lemur hands was enough for me.

Much to my delight, we got to go in an enclosure with a couple of Servals next, which are another breed of big cat. They're the second fastest cat after the Cheetah and are another popular breed for people to have as pets. I'm sure they look cool but behind the scenes they must be tearing up people's houses!

So, that was my day with the animals. I was basically just over the moon that I got to be up close and personal with them (as you can see from my face in the photo at the beginning of this post) and I would've happily spent all day there but alas, the experience only lasts an hour. Luckily there were only 4 of us in our group instead of the usual 8, so we got to spend way more time with the animals than most.

The African Wildlife experience was at Hoo Farm in Telford and my grandma bought the tickets on Amazon Local... Just in case any of you are interested in going after reading this post!

Memorial Day Weekend.

If you've ever been in the States for Memorial Day Weekend or have American friends/fam, you'll know that it's kind of a big deal. And by big deal, I mean 3 days of pool parties, barbecues and drinking.

Personally, I was just happy that Ty had a 4 day weekend (military perks) and we could do fun things like going to the zoo...

Wildlife World is literally 5 minutes from our place, so I've been wanting to visit there for a while. I'm a bit on the fence about zoos, as I'd much rather see animals roaming freely in their natural habitat rather than cooped up in cages, but I do appreciate the conservation aspect that some zoos provide. It's so hard to tell which ones are doing good and which aren't though.  

Either way, I put my judgements aside and we braved the Arizona sun for a few hours to say hey to the animals.

Side note: It's getting bloody hot here and days aren't even at their highest temperature yet. Everybody's warned me that AZ summers are no joke and while I believed them before, feeling it for myself is a whole different story. It's not unbearable yet though and I'm quite enjoying the balmy evenings, however, getting burned by the seatbelt isn't fun.  I hear that London's still pretty rainy though, so I'll enjoy the sunshine and warmth while I can.

Anyway, I digress. So the animals... The zoo had a whole load of animals; Lions, Tigers, (no bears), a lonely looking Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Ostrich, Antelope, loads of birds... I'm not going to list them all because it's starting to sound like Noah's Ark. The only thing really missing were the Elephants, which is probably a good thing as it didn't look like they'd have enough room for them. 


The place is an aquarium too, so there were also sea-lions and penguins and a lot of aquatic life. All in all, a nice place for an afternoon out with kids or as a couple. I'd recommend it if you're in the Phoenix area.

The rest of the weekend was spent BBQ'ing it up with different sets of friends. On Sunday we spent the evening with Michelle & Richard, who let off a few fireworks to mark the occasion. I had a bit of fun playing with the shutterspeed on my camera to capture the fireworks and sparklers. Definitely haven't mastered it yet, but I thought the light looked pretty cool in these pics.

I think it's nice that American's usually know what their holidays are for. Brits are so used to just having a 'bank holiday', or the day off being something to do with the Royal Family. The only ones I really know the purpose of are Remembrance Sunday and Boxing Day.  

So with that being said, happy Memorial Day to all my American folk. I hope you enjoyed your weekend and paid homage to all the fallen armed forces members in the best way possible.