Elk & Bison & Cranes...Oh My! | A Nebraskan Safari

A couple of Fridays ago, JD took the day off work to lead us on an adventure to our nearest wildlife safari - Omaha's Conservation Park. We packed a picnic and our littles and headed out to see the creatures native to our beautiful state, along with stretching our legs and imagination through a lovely track of nature. (Doesn't your soul and body feel so revived when brushing through green and wild things? I'm sure the most esteemed Lucy has a perfect sentiment to attach to that.)

I could never claim to be a wildlife photographer (especially when all I use is an 85 mm! No zoom for this mama...), but I did enjoy capturing the beasts and feathery friends we came across. The bison were only too happy to oblige us, and were so ecstatic to see us that they gave us a tussle and rubbed horn to hood, leaving a nice 8 inch scratch for a souvenir. I knew they were big but never realized what massive and powerful animals they were until they were inches from the car - and attempting a hug. Eek! Couldn't roll the windows up fast enough! Our Volvo Battle Wagon status felt less like a fortress and more like a paltry barrier of metal between us and real wildlife. Certainly a moment to remember, along with a new found respect for this shaggy mammal.

Let's go for a drive through the park...



Elk
or as Alice would try to convince you, "reindeer"

Fun discovery; I took these years ago (okay, 2008) on an old camera - you know, the ones you had to take to a lab and get developed and wait eons to see if you got any good ones...




I kind of dig the grainy style! Might have to get one for Alice and let her play photographer so we can go develop them like we used to :) It would be fascinating to see the world through her lens.

Now back to your usual programming...



White Pelicans


reflection


Sandhill Cranes


American Bison




"hellooooooooooooo"
This one was ready for his close-up. I wasn't!


The way the gates opened and closed, it felt like we were traveling in and out of Jurassic Park. Eerie!

After that, we arrived safely to the park area where we could hop out and prep for lunch. JD made a fresh loaf of bread that morning, so we had peach jam that I had made a few days before, cheddar, butter, apples, peaches, and pistachios. T'was a pretty perfect picnic :)
(And yes, we almost always picnic with a cutting board, paring knife, bread knife, and towels - must-haves for day trips!)


  



sombrero!
Milo stole Alice's floppy hat ;)


That's one of the last gummy smiles I caught! He's got a jagged row of teeth on both top and bottom now.

After fueling up, we headed out on the trails...



owls
so stinkin' cute!


kestrel


I lucked out with the way the sunlight fell on him while everything else was obscured in shadow.




Elk Lookout in Wolf Canyon


"Cinnabuns" the bear





"I wonder what that puddle will do if I hop in it..."




"most satisfying"


Frog Lake



thistles & goldenrod



"Licorice" the bear



my boys



boots


throwing twigs into the stream - always fun


this guy
Oh, Milo - I love you.
You and your silly sideways tongue.


Maaaaa
Pygmy goats at the Hands-On Corral


mustering gumption




These chickens cracked me up with their furry legs! (They kept reminding me of baggy jeans...gangsta gallo!)


look-out
Crane Meadows Viewing Tower
It was windy, so Alice insisted on holding her hat down the whole time.



my little family of reindeer :)




Eagle Aviary
This guy was pretty rough and mangy looking, but an eagle nonetheless.



bronze baby bison



kindred spirits
Alice's kitty ears always turn into bull horns...or should I say, bison horns?


cutie-pie alert!
Milo, seriously, you're killin' me with those baby blues.


an Alice-kiss for Mr. Big Bad Bison






Pretty much in love with this little family of mine.

Thank you, God, for partners, peanuts, picnics, puddles, and parks full of beautiful creatures.