And we're back! Francis and I went to the National Harvest Festival at Silver Dollar City a couple weeks ago and bought a triangle loom from those nice people at Dewberry Ridge, and I took last week off to do more weaving than writing. If we keep up with the weaving we might need to start ANOTHER website! Anyway, the week before Branson, we went back to Stanton. Of course we were there for Meramec Caverns, but we were also there because we FINALLY had time to visit the Riverside Wildlife Center. I've been meaning to stop here for years!
I'm never sure if a roadside zoo is going to be usable for the blog. I think you guys appreciate that I only post awesome things to do, and if something doesn't meet my awesome standard, I just skip blogging about it. Francis jokes with me that if I was mean or rude, I would have a much bigger following after five years, but I'm content to have a small following who come here for fun and interesting stuff. Of course, sharing this blog with your friends keeps me motivated to stay on the righteous path, wink wink.
While some controversy and arguments would gain me traffic, I am very pleased to report that the vast majority of the animals at Riverside Wildlife Center are rescued animals, MANY rescued from homes where someone tried to keep them as pets. If animals cannot survive in the wild, I think we can all agree that we'd rather have them well cared for in captivity.
Did you know emus are used to guard herds because they make a loud drumming sound when they perceive a threat? It really does sound almost like a bongo.
It's not the prettiest zoo you've ever seen, but the people who run the place are very friendly and enthusiastic, and genuinely care about the animals. They are definitely not getting rich off exotic wildlife. The tour guides work mainly (entirely?) for tips.
Our tour guide, Kevin, indicated that it was a part time gig for him, and we were pleasantly surprised that the tour was so much more than, "So, here's a gator." He knows a lot about all of the animals and is proud of the good rapport he has with nearly all of them. Turns out he lives on the property and is "neighbors" with the lion.
I'll get to the gators in a minute. First, the inside habitats, where they have lemurs, snakes, spiders, a turtle rescued after Katrina that is so old they can't even count anymore, and an iguana.
Kevin sings to the lemurs and one of them will answer him!
GATOR TIME! Some of the alligators live outside. There's a female who is in charge, and lets two of the males live with her. The next two pictures are the boys.
And their lady friend. Isn't she pretty, all smiles for the camera?
Back inside, some small friends.
They had just cleaned this habitat the day before and the smell was ungodly. Alligators stink. You don't want them as a house pet.
And finally, some amazing action cam of all those juvie gators. Is this the creepiest sound you've ever heard, or what? That's someone getting too big for their britches.
Riverside Wildlife Center is located on Highway W in Stanton, MO. If you go west on 44 to the Stanton exit, just follow the signs for Meramec Caverns and you'll pass it before you get to the cave. I'm afraid I don't remember the admission price, but it was somewhere around $10-15. They are now open year round!