We went to the Calgary Zoo yesterday to help Foggy the hippo celebrate his 46th birthday. We got all decked out in our Stampeder's gear to show our support for the team and watch while they fed Foggy some birthday watermelons. The celebration was also part of the zoo's spotlight on Hippos for October and November.
Grady was so excited about a birthday party for a Hippo, his new favorite animal. He talked about it all day. He told his preschool teacher, he told his friends, he told the ladies at the A&W counter where we stopped for lunch. Basically he told anyone who would listen and even those who weren't that we we going to a Hippo Birthday Party!
Foggy and Sparky must have known something was going on as they were very visible and vocal for the time leading up the the event. We arrived about an hour early as I didn't know how busy it would be.
We got to see the zoo set up for the event and it was nice to see all the staff excited. I would say though that there was just about as many staff as visitors there for the event. I was hard to tell the best place to stand and the process of events etc as it seemed the zoo was more concerned about good media coverage rather than playing to all the kids to who had come to celebrate. But we still had great time!
The zoo's African Savannah building has been redecorated a bit to help spotlight the hippos. I really liked this life size hippo photo where the kids could really get up close and see how big these guys really are!
Another fun thing they had for the day was a hippo head the kids could put on and pretend to be a hippo. Grady loved it, I think he would have worn it all day if they had let him!
Of course there are other animals in the Savannah building so we stopped by to see them while we waited for the birthday party to start. We have had really great luck our last few trips to the zoo with lots of animals being out and active. And this trip Grady was feeling especially photogenic so I got lots of pictures.
This is Sparky the female hippo. She really knew what was going and was right up front waiting for her watermelon the whole time
And Foggy as he just came out of the pool, you can really tell that he is aging but still ready to enjoy himself. They say that hippos in the wild live about 40 years so Foggy is doing really well at 46! He is one of North America's oldest hippos living in captivity and has been in Calgary since he was 9m old!
On the left you can see Sparky getting ready for watermelons and the two Stampeders and one cheerleader that were lucky enough to dole out the birthday treats.
I would love to tell you that we at some point got a better view than hippo butt, but we didn't. Like I said it seemed the media was of utmost importance and although it would have been easy to roll some of the watermelons towards the crowd so that we could at least see hippo face they didn't :( And I would like to tell you the Stampeders who showed up and that we had a chance to meet them but they didn't introduce them and there was no opportunity to meet during the 45min that we stayed to watch.
Grady was very happy to meet Ralph the Dog. And I think Ralph liked meeting him. There was only about 5 people including ourselves who showed up in Stamps gear so Grady loved all the extra attention he got being dressed up. He was sad to not get to meet a real football player but got over it pretty quick when the zoo gave him a bag of candy on the way out as a thanks for coming. Even Hippos have loot bags at their parties!
Ralph giving great a sloppy kiss when he thought he was getting a hug!
And apparently the day was exhausting! Which I paid for that night by letting him have a nap because he stayed up until midnight!