Recently we went on a family vacation with the chu's to Costa Rica. My DH and I had been there for our honeymoon. We were back in the country we fell in love with four years earlier, but this time with friends and our little Stinky. It was the best way to spend our anniversary.
A few weeks ago Stinky and I were sitting at story time in the library when Ms. Nancy pulled a butterfly puppet out of a box and asked the audience of two year old if they knew what the animal was. As the children quickly responded I thought back to our trip we had returned from only a few day before. Not only had Stinky seen a butterfly, but she had held a butterfly, she had been surrounded by 100's of butterflies, and she had watched one detached from it's little cocoon and fly away. She had experienced butterflies. At that moment I was very grateful for the experiences we provided for our child. I thought back to all the animals Stinky saw, touched and experienced in nature. She lived it instead of watching it from behind a fence or glass. She had lived for two weeks in their natural world watching, listening, and touching all that they are.
This lovely iguana wanted our lunch. We had a picnic down by the ocean and he was relentless in attempting to get our food. He had no fear, he would scurry towards us, we would shoo him away and then he would come back. Sometimes he even brought his friends. Stinky watched, sometimes a little nervous, but most of the time unfazed. She had seen many lizards like this on our trip. Every morning they would be sun bathing outside the condo we were staying in.
We took a walk through a national forest and decided to skip the expensive tour guide. Instead we looked for animals on our own. One tour guide was hunched over with two tourist staring at something. I asked what they were looking at and he said they were staring at an over sized rodent. As I stepped back, I look up and just over their head was a 13 foot boa constrictor in the tree. I pointed the snake out and the tour guide jumped back a little surprised. They had no idea they had been standing under this large snake. It was amazing to see such a huge snake in the wild just relaxing on the tree. This by far was my favorite animal sighting.
We saw many sloths. A little boring as they don't move much, but interesting to see just hanging in the trees.
Our crocodile excursion was amazing. Everyone was surprised that we took the girls on a night tour of the river, but we were glad we did. For the first half we were able to spot eyes of huge crocodiles but as we got close they would go under the murky water. In pitch darkness, one of our barefooted tour guide tells the person captain to stop the boat because he spotted a croc. He jumps of the boat, turns off his flashlight, and SPLASH...... followed by a "Wooaaa". He walked back to the boat with this three year old croc in his hands. Of course my DH pretends to eat it. I am sure he was only half joking, he wants to eat anything with meat. I believe Stinky's response was, "No, No, No, Bye, Bye." She was able to touch it and even hold it on her lap. She thought it was funny when we had it's tail tickle her. Right after he let the little guy go. Both Stinky and Chu fell asleep and the we were able to enjoy a nice boat ride back. What a great experience. Stinky has had a crocodile sit on her lap and she isn't even two yet.