|Exotic animals at the Global Wildlife Center|
|Wagon tour of the Center|
We approached the Visitor's Center, thinking we'd buy tickets for the 1 p.m. tour and eat our PB&J sandwiches by the koi pond while we waited. It turned out the noon tour leaves at a quarter after, though, so we dragged the kids out of the gift shop and boarded the last in a string of covered wagons. Thinking we were on a train, Charles bounced about shouting "All Aboard!" while August clung to me in fear of all the new people around him.
As the "train" lurched forward, though, and we entered the animals' realm, they both were overcome with pure and utter joy. Armed with our bucket of feed, we were shoveling cups of food into the animals' mouths, while August was literally squealing with delight. If I hadn't held him back, I'm almost positive the child would have jumped right in the middle of those four-legged grazers.
A strong wind blew throughout the thrilling ride, and by the last ten minutes of the hour and a half tour, the boys were (for once in their lives) exhausted. That in itself is a rare feat to accomplish. We topped the trip off by feeding the giant koi and catfish living in the picnic area's pond while scarfing down our sandwiches.
|Bogue Chitto River|
As we turned the last curve to exit the park, the toddler awakened and we used the opportunity to hike the gorge trail that had been beckoning to us since we first saw it. A path of leaves and pine needles led the way through the woods to stairs leading deep within the gorge. At the bottom, a boardwalk snaked around through a much wetter landscape, and lizards fled our every step. With lightning speed, Charles actually caught one and vowed to never let it go. Fortunately, the animal was resourceful and squirmed his way free. As the tears came rushing down, we decided the outing was over, and headed home to recoup and plan for the next adventure.
|Stairway into the state park's gorge|