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Tag Archives: animals

A Sunday Morning Nature Hike

One steamy Sunday morning, Nyan and Daddy set off on a jungle hike to a place called the MacRitchie Reservoir. It’s a series of trails along the shores of a man-made lake. It was hardly roughing it: the place is a 20-minute taxi ride away, all the trails are wide, well-maintained boardwalks, and the place was mostly heaving with other people having the same idea. Still, it was a nice escape. 

This being the Singapore jungle, yes there were monkeys.

And plenty of turtles in the near-shore areas.

Pretty great scenery and a good little break, complete with fresh air and (modest) exercise.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to River Safari

River Safari is this sort of zoo-aquarium hybrid. It’s mostly outdoors, a smallish animal park with displays of the animals that live in some of the world’s great rivers. It’s right next to the Singapore Zoo, and it’s fairly compact and makes for a nice three-hour visit. One day during Nyan’s spring break in March, we grabbed Nyan’s friend Edris and headed out. 

There was lots to see – and yes, there are exhibits that include birds and monkeys (which technically live alongside some of these great rivers, I guess that’s why they are included?)

Did Nyan and Edris enjoy themselve? They did! Check out the excitement in these pics:

One of the main attractions of River Safari is the Panda House, which is home to two Great Pandas. (As far as we can tell, there is zero connection to any river here — we imagine that China offered Singapore a coupe of pandas for the Singapore Zoo, which would be the natural place for them; probably some internal politics among the local wildlife conservation scene led to the pandas going next door to River Safari instead. But anyway…)  

The boys were excited:

We had some great views of the big fellas:

The pandas themselves were either napping or chewing on giant piles of bamboo. Living the panda life, basically.

(Added in August 2021: It was just announced that, back in about April of this year, these two lovebirds, er, love pandas became in a family way, and gave birth to a bouncing baby panda in August! How cool is that!)

Back to River Safari. There’s also a brief boat ride that took you through the Amazon river.

And of course a stop for lunch.

It was a really fun day!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Of Forts, Friends and Feathered Friends

Nyan spent some time in January building a couch fort. It became a favorite place to chillax and read (or play video games):

We spent a lot of time with pals in January, as usual. There was a playdate with Oscar, Noe and Edris:

Fun times with Haowie:

And of course, sleepovers and other fun with Jayden:

And we went on many bike rides along the coast. On one of them we came across a pair of hornbills up a tree. Very cool!

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A Visit to See Dinosaur Bones

Who knew there were real dinosaur bones right here in li’l ol’ Singapore? We had kinda heard about a museum with such a display, but hadn’t done anything about it until recently, when we made a Sunday afternoon family trip to a natural history museum out in the west of Singapore. And sure enough, it has has several dinosaur skeletons on display!

Check out them bones:

It’s a pretty cool place even aside from the dinosaurs, with lots of animal and plant exhibits:

And a dolphin skeleton too:

Oh, and plenty of space to dance:

Nyan’s favorite part was in the special exhibit on Christmas Island, which detailed how the island is completely overrun by red crabs at spawning season each year. They had an interactive light display on the floor, showing crabs crawling around; you were supposed to avoid them, but Nyan decided it would be more fun to stomp on them:

The museum is in a pretty cool building, with lots of plants and space:

And more space for dancing:

The museum is part of a university, and we strolled around the campus afterwards. Found a grassy field for students to hang out at; Nyan thought it’d be fun to run down the hill.

The simple pleasures in life for a city kid! 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Another Trip to Chicago

We punctuated our trip to Iowa with a quick roadtrip in to Chicago to see some dear friends. Most notably, Pearl – Nyan’s first canine love.

Of course, whatever continent he’s on, you can always find Nyan with his nose in a book.

Though he did manage to squeeze in some ping-pong.

And he hung out with Pearl in front of a Christmas tree:

And helped Todd and Linda decorate their tree:

Todd and Linda happen to be renovating their house, so we got to take a tour of the very unfinished new master bedroom, and poke around the construction site. Nyan made himself useful by moving handfuls of gravel from one pile to another.

A fun trip, a short trip. But a long drive – which found Nyan doing what he does best on a long drive: dozing.

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Posted by on January 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Dogs

As you may know, Nyan has never been too fond of dogs. He’s long had a healthy skepticism of them, a skepticism that often has spilled over into outright fear. It hasn’t helped that, living in a high-rise in one of the world’s most densely populated cities, he doesn’t have a lot of chances to have long interactions with the furry fellows.

Happily, that changed in September when visiting Phil, Jill and their three boys in Chicago. They have a lovely little rescue dog named Pearl, who’s quite mellow and sweet. Nyan has met Pearl before but never really clicked, but this trip, something came together in his head and before we knew it, Nyan was all over the friendly pooch.

Here he is, walking and cuddling Pearl like they had always been best pals:

Cuddling his new pal:

It wasn’t just Pearl though. He brought his new-found love of canines back with us when we returned to Iowa City. Check him out here with Aunt Maggie’s pooch:

And then there was the Beast, a.k.a. Lily, one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. She’s Cousin Mia’s pooch, and Nyan loved Beast too.

Okay, so it took a minute. But once they warmed up to each other, it was all love.

Happy to report that he’s still into dogs now that we’re back in Singapore. No fear of them at all. Such a nice change. He’s even mentioned, a time or two, getting a dog himself. Uh, we quickly change the topic. Dude, we live in a not-huge apartment on the 20th floor – not so great for a dog.

Still, pleased as hell that he’s finally into dogs. Our boy is coming along nicely.

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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A Sunny Day in Santa Cruz

On our mini-holiday in Northern California last month, we spent one day driving south along the shore on Highway 1. We’d intended to get down to Big Sur, but it was lunchtime before we even made it to Santa Cruz, and the geography was clear: making it to Big Sur was going to mean pushing it really hard and not having much time to relax and enjoy ourselves.

So we decided to scrap Big Sur and spend a little time in Santa Cruz, including a leisurely lunch on the boardwalk and just wandering around in the brilliant sunshine. It’s a lovely coastal town, and the scenery is only enhanced by the weird way the fog forms a sort of wall just inland.

The best part, maybe, was the large flock (school? group?) of sea lions (or seals? not sure of the biological differences here, to be honest…) hanging out on a little shelf under the boardwalk.

Very cool. Loved the sounds they make too. And Nyan was totally transfixed too:

So no, we didn’t make it to Big Sur in the end. Didn’t even make it down to Monterey. No complaints at all though.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Two Days at Jurong Bird Park

A few months ago, Nyan spent a couple of Sunday afternoons with his pals at Jurong Bird Park. It’s basically a zoo that’s all about birds. It’s run by the same people who run the Singapore Zoo, and it’s pretty much just as high-quality as the zoo. Lots and lots to see and do.

Here’s Nyan, Kyle and Ava (Kyle’s cousin), holding hands on their way in to the park.

Random photos of the kids at the park:

One of the features is a bird show at an amphitheater, featuring birds flying through hoops, and a parrot singing Happy Birthday, and more.

And check out this random bird at our lunch site. That’s the bird whistling and saying Hi in a female voice. Pretty cool.

It’s a beautiful park, set in the hills and dense jungle of western Singapore, and there’s even a waterfall inside one of the exhibits, which is huge and fenced-in so all the birds can fly around but not fly away.

Here are the kids, running through the jungle away from the ‘monster’ (who we’re pretty sure was the videographer, a.k.a. Daddy. Hmm):

What’s a bird park without penguins? Here are Nyan and Kyle checking them out, and Daddy trying to keep them from stepping where they weren’t supposed to and falling off the ledge. The bit at the end of this video, where things go a little haywire, is when Kyle suddenly jumped into Daddy’s arms. Then Nyan quickly followed suit.

Besides birds and penguins and monsters, Jurong Bird Park has snacks…

…and coin-operated toys…

And maybe best of all: it has a pretty huge water play area, complete with slides, fountains, and a full playground.

Nyan is not too convinced about the water slide at first, but once he makes it down, he sure is proud of himself:

And finally, we saved arguably the best for last. Jurong Bird Park also has a few turtles, for whatever reason, just slowly strolling along inside one of the exhibits. Our hero decided to try to pet one. Brave little guy!

The bird park was definitely a fun couple of afternoons, and definitely highly recommended. We’ll be back.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Nyan Thomas Feeds a Giraffe

Nyan took Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa to the Singapore Zoo last week. We happened to get to the giraffe enclosure right at feeding time – and for a few dollars, they handed us some carrots and let us feed the critter. Nyan was… well, he was less than impressed. And who can blame him, really – I mean, take a look at that long, black, snake-like tongue. Kinda creepy to a three-year-old.

Bonus: later, we came across a strange hairy monkey – seriously, dude was like a giant mustache that was swinging thru the trees – who jumped onto a fence post and checked us out. Nyan was still a little leery, but less so, and even managed to give a wave to the little fella.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Photos

 

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River Safari

Back in late August, Nyan’s school took all the kids on a field trip to a place called River Safari. It’s next door to, and related to, but somehow separate from, the wonderful Singapore Zoo that we visited back in May, when we’d been on this little island for all of about three days, River Safari is kind of an aquarium: there’s a long path that takes you past various exhibits showing the marine life in the world’s biggest rivers (Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, a few in China, etc.). And there’s also a couple of giant pandas. (No, pandas don’t live in the world’s biggest rivers, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the connection between rivers and pandas might be. But hey, it’s giant pandas! So who really cares if they don’t really belong here?) Overall it’s a pretty cool place, not as sprawling or comprehensive as the zoo next door but definitely worth a visit.

The younger kids had to be accompanied on the field trip by an adult, so Daddy had to got to come along. Daddy was waiting in the lobby of the school’s building when all the kids marched out; here’s a video he took before Nyan realized Daddy was there:

 

And here’s the bus we took, and Nyan on said bus:

It was about a half hour drive to River Safari, and then we had to wait around a bit as tickets were picked up and distributed. The kids entertained themselves by playing around with various statues and generally exploring things.

 

The little boy in the photo where Nyan is investgating the storm water grate is his pal Kyle, seen in these photos and in the video with Kyle’s cousin Eva:

 

As we mentioned, River Safari is all about marine life, including fish, crocodiles, manta rays, birds and more.

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And of course, there are two pandas. Though we only saw one (and you may seen these pictures and video in an earlier post):

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There was a lot of walking and running all over the site:

So much so that, on the bus ride back, Nyan zonked out, fast asleep. (Of course, Nyan being Nyan, he spent the first 25 minutes of the half-hour ride looking out the window, asking what everything was, trying to get out of his seat belt to run around, etc., and then conked out as the bus was almost back to the school. Great timing, kid!) But no worries – it was a great day filled with friends, fish and pandas (huh?).

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Photos, Video

 

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