Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lions and Tigers and Bears

No dead rats, this time, but lots of giraffes. I've been going to Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house in Napa Valley for almost twenty years now, and each time, there is some sort of activity to keep everyone occupied for the day after. Wineries are the obvious choice, and we've done that a few times. Obviously, this was less fun when I was under 21, but some of the wineries are kind of cool even for kids--one, I seem to recall, has a gondala ride up to the top of the ridge. We've also gone to visit the Calistoga Geyser, the Petrified Forest, even the Napa Valley Wine Train. For the last one, my grandfather had to go incognito in my baseball cap and my mother's sunglasses, since local residents officially disaprove of the train.

This year was no different, and my grandmother bought us all tickets to go to Safari West. It's a 400 acre wildlife preserve that breeds and raises a bunch of endangered African species. I'm not sure where they stand in the hierachy of such parks--they are a private organization that makes money off of tours and visitors staying in authentic South African tent cabins, but they seem to be accredited by all the right people, and eschew fancy lions and elephants in favor of more mundane elk and gazelle whatsits. With the exception of three cheetahs, its all herd animals. But I definitely liked the giraffes. Who doesn't like giraffes? Giraffes are great.

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