My Birthday Surprise: Wildlife Learning Center!

For my birthday last Saturday, Cole surprised me with a private, up-close-and-personal tour at the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar, CA. You guys: IT WAS AMAZING! The Wildlife Learning Center is a home for animals that have been saved from the exotic pet trade (or were kept, stupidly, as pets) as well as animals rescued from the fur trade or animals who have been rehabilitated from injury or illness but would not survive if placed back in the wild. The animals here were very well-kept and not at all sad as we have seen at some zoos.

We did the Zoofari Tour with the added python because I really love snakes. You can also just pay $9 (adults) or $7 (kids) and go look at the animals. When we were there they were hosting a kid’s birthday party.

Our tour started out by getting into the enclosure with a serval, who we did not get to pet, but she was very well-behaved for being a wild cat. The tour guide gave her snacks and she was content for a few minutes while we took pictures but then she was no longer interested in snacks and was more interested in jumping down and checking us out. She was on a leash and so the guide told us that kitty was done being cooperative and it’s time for us to get out of the enclosure.

The lynxes were hiding so we didn’t get to see them and the red foxes were adorable and one definitely wanted snuggles but we were told he doesn’t know the difference between play-biting and actual-biting so we didn’t get to hang out with them.

Next we got to go feed the porcupines. HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS: PORCUPINES ARE AWESOME! I didn’t know they climbed and yet, there they were, climbing all over the chain link fence. They were so curious and wanted to keep sniffing around our feet. They would waddle around on their hind legs and grab the vegetables we were handing them. We didn’t get any video with them but in case you didn’t know, porcupines make the BEST sounds when they eat, for example:

I was dying. I was laughing so hard. I can’t get over how cute they were.

Next we got to meet and hold a tawny owl who was absolutely beautiful. I really love owls and plan to get an owl tattoo in the future.

We got to see all kinds of other animals: bald eagles, prairie dogs (who apparently went through a grumpy season and never came out of it), alligators, squirrel monkeys, tortoises, macaws, and many reptiles. When we were in the reptile room the guide told us that she can take out most anything we wanted so we were like TAKE OUT ALL THE CRITTERS but there were some people who were in the reptile room that were very much not happy that we were doing this. Actually, we were blocking their path to the exit and they didn’t want to walk by us while we were handling snakes and baby alligators and legless lizards.

We then went to a private area and they brought out a Fennec Fox for us to pet and he was so cute and so so soft. We then got to hold and take pictures with an albino Burmese Python, hooray! It grabbed Cole’s butt with its tail and gave him a squeeze.

The Wildlife Learning Center is also home to Zeus, an internet-famous screech owl. He is blind and has blood vessels(?) in his eyes that look like constellations. I had no idea screech owls were so small. He was very cute.

We then got to pet a sleeping sloth. The guide gave him a piece of zucchini. He bit it then fell asleep with it in his mouth. It was hilarious. He opened his eyes briefly when I pet him but them promptly fell back asleep, as sloths do.

After our tour, we went home, changed, ate lunch, then went to Disneyland.

This was one of the best birthdays, thank you Cole!

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