• Travel

    Staycation: Jungle Cat World, Orono

    For my husband’s birthday weekend, I had planned out a getaway east of Toronto at the Jungle Cat World in Orono, Ontario. The location is just under an hour away, so it definitely felt more like a staycation rather than a getaway. However, our night at the Jaguar’s Den felt like we were miles away from home in the middle of Africa. It was difficult to imagine being in Ontario being surrounded by the sights and sounds of various exotic animals.

    Our Bed and Breakfast boasted a Cheetah theme, despite being called the Jaguar’s Den. It was beautifully decorated and the thoughtful details such as the Cheetah print napkins all the way down to the animal themed DVD’s and printed cutlery was reminiscent of a corny 90’s movie. The hosts were kind enough to show us around and share one too many stories about how the place came to be. We were provided with breakfast essentials in the fridge to make our own meals the next morning. And those butter tarts — YUM!

    The bed made for some comfortable and fierce cuddle sessions, nonetheless.

    The Bed and Breakfast was more of a suite. The living room, dining, and bed did not feel cramped. It was spacious and well planned out. The view of the parking lot wasn’t too exciting, but you are able to see the lion’s cage from the kitchen. Of course, once the sun set it seemed the animals truly let loose. The lions woke us up at 3:00 a.m to loud growls and roars – ones you would only hear on National Geographic and Planet Earth. And one point, I sat up in bed and prayed from the fear of how ferocious the sounds were. The jaguars and tigers could all be heard as well, even though they were much further away from our suite. It was a long night, but the experience of a lifetime.

    The next day, we had our breakfast and coffee and made our treacherous 30 second journey to the zoo entrance. The lions were calm, as if they thought we didn’t know about their late night partying a couple of hours ago. We had walked around the zoo and decided to take part in the Behind the Scenes tour, which allowed you to spend time with  three animals of your choice. My husband was not about to get up close and personal with a baby tiger – so I went solo.

    Lemurs are so friendly! Their hands are tiny but mighty. They grabbed me by the thumbs to move the bowl closer to their face. It was so cute and precious I just wanted to aldkfjslkdjf! The jumps they make from one tree to your shoulder (and head) can make you a little jumpy as well, but they have no nails and it definitely does not hurt. Two lemurs did manage to get on both of my shoulders and have an argument over the bananas while my head was in the middle. True story. According to lemurworld.com, Lemurs are well known to fight among themselves. One of the major causes of conflict has to do with not enough food to go around. When that occurs the females high on the chain of command will consume first as will their offspring. Many of the males are then pushed out of the family or they leave on their own for food. In this case, the male lemur was shoved off my shoulder and backed into a corner.  #BeatThePatriarchy

    Anushka is a baby tiger. She’s fiesty. And I pet her for a total of 10 seconds. She was biting the zoo keepers and pouncing on anything that moved. However, seeing her before she’s tamed and prepared for a life in a cage was a surreal experience. I asked why all the cats were alone in their cage and was told it was because they either don’t get along with other tigers and lions – or they were raised that way. It made me rather sad but given that most of these animals are near extinction, I had mixed feelings about their unnatural, enclosed lifestyles.

    Anushka is a baby tiger. She’s fiesty. And I pet her for a total of 10 seconds. She was biting the zoo keepers and pouncing on anything that moved. However, seeing her before she’s tamed and prepared for a life in a cage was a surreal experience. I asked why all the cats were alone in their cage and was told it was because they either don’t get along with other tigers and lions – or they were raised that way. It made me rather sad but given that most of these animals are near extinction, I had mixed feelings about their unnatural, enclosed lifestyles.

    Then, I met a kangaroo. I never realized how they move. Their method of hopping is whimsical and made me reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons. It just makes you chuckle. The strange thing about this particular kangaroo was it gets all up in your business because it has a thing for human breath. Blow on his face and he’s all yours. Do what you will with that information.

    We ended our weekend at a cute cottage about half an hour north from the zoo. We swung on a porch swing and read magazines. I guess you can say we were relaxed. Happy Birthday hubbie! 🙂