Jun 15, 2008
For my birthday this year I asked Hans to surprise me by making plans to do something we don't normally do. That meant that laying on the beach and scuba diving were out, as was working or watching t.v.
On Friday night he gave me a rough schedule: 9am I could go to yoga class, 10:30am we were going to run on the beach and kick a soccer ball (he's preparing for the Mundialito- the mini world cup that's coming up next week... more on that later), then lunch and after lunch there would be an "activity" followed by wine and cheese at Winery & Plus and then dinner at El Asador de Manolo (yummy, fancy Argentinian restaurant on Av 10 between Calles 22 & 24).
So, after a brutal workout- beach running is hard enough without the pinche soccer ball- we cleaned up, grabbed a slice of pizza from Pizza Pazza and headed north. We passed the horseback riding, so I knew it wasn't that, then we passed the ATV tours, the jungle ziplines, Puerto Morelos and I started to figure it out.
About half way between Puerto Morelos and Cancun on the Cancun highway sits the Crococun Zoo. This is a crocodile farm and petting(!) zoo. We walked up and they took us right away, there were no lines or anything. It cost us about $20US per person (cheaper if you're a kid or have a local I.D.), plus we each bought a little bag of food for the animals.
The tour started with some parrots that are local to the region. They had a beautiful parrot with a yellow head named Lorenzo who could talk. He laughed at us and whistled and even said his own name.
Then we headed over to see the baby crocodiles. Our guide was a vet specializing in crocodiles, so he was very knowledgeable. He pulled Paco out of the water and handed him to us. He's a 7 year old croc and could live something like 60 or 70 years.
Paco is the boss in his tank, so when he's in the water, the other crocs won't even think about getting in with him. Our guide pushed one of the other crocs in the water with Paco and he bolted out to safety. Apparently, Paco defends his ground!
Next up were a series of snakes. Some of them they let us hold, like this boa constrictor. Some of them are seriously poisonous, including two vine snakes that looked exactly like vines. The guide said that if we had vines in our yard we had these guys in our yard, too. Yikes!
While we were holding the snakes, some Spider Monkeys came over, so we fed them one of the little bananas in our food bags. The Spider Monkeys are generally rescued since it's illegal to keep them as pets here, though people often try to keep them because you can charge entry to see them. One of the cenotes we dove in had two captive spider monkeys who were really suffering and being mistreated, but I digress...
Next up were some interesting lizards and turtles. This guy was pink in color, but not native to the Yucatan. This guy came from Costa Rica and (I hate to say this) would make really beautiful boots. He has these pouches on the sides of his mouth called "food bags" where he stores food for later, so they only feed him every few days.
I got to hold a baby sea turtle, which was very cool, but we didn't get any pictures. Then we headed in to the adult crocodile pen. Luckily, this portion of the tour did not involve touching, petting or holding. I think I would have had to gracefully decline holding an adult croc!
Next we visited a pen with some white tailed deer. These are cousins to the deer we get in the states. They're smaller and more silverish-brown than brown-brown and don't have any spots. Some of them had antlers that were covered in velvety fur. They were very interested in eating the branches that the guide gave us. The guide told us we could touch, pet and hug the deer if we wanted to. I'm not sure they were that in to hugging us, so instead we just petted them and fed them.
After the deer we visited some more Spider Monkeys that had just been rescued. These guys weren't free to roam about the park yet because they needed to learn how to interact with people properly, so we fed them some bananas and peanuts and headed on our way.
On the way out we visited some animals that are a cross between a raccoon and a possum. They were very cute and very interested in the sunflower seeds we had. I can't remember their name, though.
The Crococun Zoo is totally cool. I would highly recommend it for anyone who can't sit on the beach another day or as a perfect alternative to visiting ruins if you're sunburned. I would definitely take my 4 year old niece there, although she might be a little freaked out by being that close to baby crocs.
After the zoo, we headed down to Puerto Morelos and had an ice cream on the beach. Then it was back to Playa for a nap and then dinner. Unfortunately, my camera stopped working. We looked up the error message it's giving us and it's got an irreparable error with the flash, so RIP little Sony digital camera. :( We're heading to La Zebra beach club in Tulum today, so I'll take what pictures I can take without a flash, but I think the salsa dancing photos won't work tonight. As my British friend, Anna, would say, Bugger.