Namine’s favorite animal lately is the zebra, so naturally that’s what she wanted to visit first. On our way there, we stopped to admire the flamingos. I took a picture of one that had its foot wrapped; Jessica told me about how flamingos’ feet can get chapped, and how their keepers have to apply a salve and wrap their feet.
Jessica remembered that the stingrays and shark hands-on exhibit had come back to the zoo, so she suggested that we visit that after we saw the zebras. Namine decided right then that she’d rather see the stingrays first. Jessica and I exchanged a glance; last year, Namine had liked the idea of petting the stingrays, but when it came down to the moment, she had wanted nothing to do with it. We suspected it would be the same thing this year. We were wrong.
Namine was at first apprehensive about sticking her hand inside the large tank with the large creatures. But after observing both Jessica and me doing it, she decided she wanted to as well. Her arms didn’t reach that far under the water, but she did manage to pet a couple rays.
Jessica went and got some stingray food — which, were I of a more sensitive constitution, would have been pretty gross — and I helped Namine hold it under the water for the rays. (We were warned by zoo employees to be careful not to feed the sharks. Unlike the rays, they could do some real damage to people’s hands.) Unfortunately, even with my help, she couldn’t reach far enough under the water for the rays to eat. So I took the food — I use that term loosely, as it was little more than some kind of raw (like, “maybe still alive” raw) aquatic flesh — and fed the rays twice.
I might have made a strange noise or two when they took the food. It felt pretty weird — well, I’ll let Namine tell you all about it.
At the end of the day, it’s common for us to ride the train. Surprisingly, Namine changed her mind while we were in line. She decided she wanted to ride the merry-go-round, instead. I was happy to oblige.