Thursday, July 24, 2008


I've been mentioning ZBoy's camp sporadically all summer. I thought I'd give you a look at this fun and unique environment.

This was created 50 years ago as part the "Junior Museum" program, which was funded by the government. These museums were learning museums and usually contained a zoo of some sort as well.

The education buildings and the playground. The playground was rebuilt last year and is a VAST improvement over the previous equipment.

Buildings Playground
The structure includes a mini-climbing wall, painted with Florida scenery.
Climbing board Paper StarWars

The museum also includes an 1800's farm. I have always LOVED the house. It's raised up on pilings. The front building has a desk and a couple of beds, and a loom in it. Behind it, connected by a raised walkway is the kitchen building. It's marvelously cool even in the middle of a sweltering summer. I've always wanted a house like this, but I don't suppose they're up to code built like this...
There's also a barn that houses a cow and the other shot is of the wrap-around porch on the sleeping quarters of the house.
Barn Porch
It is a true farm, with pigs, mules, a cow, goats, sheep, and chickens. There is also a large kitchen garden with vegetables, herbs and cotton!

Right behind the playground is - a swamp!
It's fenced off so alligators can't join in the fun and games.

It's also part zoo. We get visiting animals for a few months at a time. We've had tigers, bears, lions... right now we have Patas monkeys from Africa.

Patas Monkey face

They actually share the same kind of body as greyhounds!

The males literally have blue balls.
This isn't a great picture, but this one took quite a bit of pride in showing his off.
patas monkey Blue balls

There's also a little open sided pavillion with a wall of snakes. It's a safe way to get up close and personal with some of the venemous denizens of our wild areas.

I like to go sit there and watch them while I'm waiting for ZBoy's camp session to end for the day.

It was hard to get a picture of the rattler. He moved constantly. And because they were behind glass, I didn't want to use the flash to "freeze" him. Consequently, the large diamondback is mostly a blur. The pygmy rattlesnake moved a bit too, but not nearly as much as the big guy.
Rattler & Pygmy Rattler

There's also a cottonmouth (water moccasin). He's pretty big, and I think quite elegant.
He doesn't move around much, so it was easier to get a picture of his face.
Moccasin Intelligent face
One of the major differences between these snakes (to me) is that the rattlers always look pissed, but the moccasin looks eerily intelligent. In the wild, a rattler will run away if given the chance. But a moccasin seems to be a real predator. Perhaps it's because there's no rattle, so people don't get any warning until they are literally face-to-face. Also, the moccasin spends a great deal of time in the water where people don't always expect to run into snakes, so it may seem more aggressive than it is. I'm not an expert.

Anyway, that's a little glimpse into the camp environs that my son has been attending this summer. I'll try to go a little early today and take some pictures of the animals on the nature trail for you. We've got some really beautiful, impressive ones!


SwampAngel65 said...

Looks like an awesome place! ZBoy is one lucky dude!

Liane Michel said...

The last time I went to the Junior Museum was with Jessica's class field trip, five or so years ago, and the people at the Jr. Museum wouldn't allow us to pet any of animals (who by the way expected to be petted and were confused by the lack of petting attention) because weeks prior a child in some state far away from us contracted an illness after touching an animal in a petting zoo.

I was totally pissed off. Pissed off that my child... that children today will not experience the same Junior Museum that we did.

karisma said...

OMG! A water moccasin is a snake? OMG, excuse me while I faint! I am going back to fun monday the other week and people talking about them, I thought they was fish I tell you! OMG! yuk yuk yuk! He is one Ugly boy!

stepping over the junk said...

Oh my gosh, that is so cool. The only animals at my girls' art camp this summer was bugs!

*red* said...

Oo! Oo!! I went to a summer camp that had snakes once! Only, this was a religous summer camp and the people were dancing and "talking" to the snakes. Ummm, yeah, I was 9 and quite alarmed at the whole experience. ;)


nikki said...

OOoooo! OOoooo! Can I go to camp with Zboy too?! That looks like way too much fun.

ablondeblogger said...

Oh that looks like so much fun!!! And those snakes are skeeery!!

HoosierGirl5 said...

That looks like a fun place, Sayre. You picked a good spot for Z-boy's summer. I love the picture of Z-boy playing..I'm glad he still plays. So does Aaron.


Anonymous said...

Even as big as my boys are I would still like to take them. I have nice memories of the museum as well. I love the idea that is still around.