Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trip to "Hueco" - Mammoth bones, geocaching & the zoo!

On Thursday of this week, Uncle Jon took the day off from work and went on a little daytrip with us up to Hueco - or Waco as it's more commonly spelled. I learned on this trip that Waco is named after the Hueco Indians who settled in that spot along the Brazos river, so I had to mention it in this blog post! :-) The main purpose of our trip was to visit the newly opened Waco Mammoth Site.

Here's Courtney along the trail that leads from the welcome center back to the dig site.

Columbian mammoth bones were found at this site back in 1978. For the past 30 yrs they worked to excavate most of the mammoths, so the site wasn't open to the public. Now they've built a shelter over some bones that are still in the ground - it's pretty cool, you're looking at a REAL excavation site!

Here's a close-up of some of the bones. We learned that Columbian mammoths were different than Woolly mammoths - they were larger, and didn't have the thick hair since they lived in warmer climates - Woolly mammoths were farther north.

Uncle Jon and I found this site to be pretty darn cool - first time we'd seen an actual dig site right where they discovered it! But, the interest level lasted for maybe about five minutes with the kids. So that was our visit!

Uncle Jon has taken up a new hobby - geocaching. Turns out there's this whole secret world of hidden treasure - there's probably some that you pass by everyday and don't even know about! How it works is you learn the coordinates of a cache from the geocaching website, and program it into your GPS. You go where the GPS leads you - hunt around for the treasure - sign a little log sheet and put it back for the next person to find. Jon checked to see if there were any hidden near the mammoth site, and sure enough there were! Here are the treasure hunters off on their quest...

Signing the log...

Carter and Uncle Jon are the Geocaching Kings! Or Kings of the Mountain! Or something.

The mammoth site is only a couple miles away from the Cameron Park Zoo. Since the whole mammoth visit and geocaching was finished pretty quickly, and we had done the two hour drive up to Waco, we decided a zoo visit was a grand idea too! The Cameron Park Zoo is really nice - I highly recommend you visit it. It has a lot of shade (key in Texas!), a majority of the animals can be seen by little people without having to lift them up to see over fences, and it's a good size - nice, but not so big that the kids are beyond exhausted when you're done (well, except mine were - but we started at the zoo kind of late...) :-) Here's Carter near one of the first exhibits - Lemur Island - but he was checking out the turtles!

Carter sitting on a komodo dragon - well ok, a komodo dragon STATUE!

Say WHAT?! This REAL komodo dragon isn't as big as the one I sat on?!?

Near the orangutan exhibit, my little monkeys tried to swing like the apes...

Mommy loved being this close to her favorite animal...

Courtney decided she needed a little rest...

...but she got her second wind just in time to do a little pow-wow in the teepee...

...while Carter checked out the bison.

Another thing the kids loved was this cool slide that goes right through the otter tank!

Here's my little bug trying to be a butterfly, but not quite getting where her head is supposed to go.

Still not quite right, but cute!

And finally, Carter hanging out in the snake tunnel. I told him to "peek" out of the snake's mouth for the photo - apparently he thought "peeking" meant "winking".

Hooray for Hueco!

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