Metro Toronto Zoo trip & Polar Tweets

Last weekend was "Teacher Day" at the Metro Toronto Zoo. Michelle could get in free, with one guest (yay me!) and we brought along our intrepid nephew to explore in wonder.

Though we had sketchbooks, we spent a beautiful 7+ hours going from sultry pavilion to spacious grassy enclosure to the marsh, just taking it all in and zooming in with a ton of photos. Sketching at the zoo is something I've only been able to do briefly.

Here are a fraction of the photos I hope to use as reference or digital textures some time. Though I've watermarked them with this blog url, I should note I think almost all of these were taken by my awesome wife Michelle.
A bird we couldn't identify in the Indo-Malayan Pavilion. (Looking pointedly in GrrlScientist's and Dan Rhoads' directions...)

The air was still cool, (about 15C, if I recall) and many of the animals were really active.

Some of the rocks near the polar bear enclosure have trilobites carved in them, with an explanatory plaque describing the largest so far found, Isotelus.

Colours in nature are often far more bright and outlandish than a natural realist painter can get away with. One of the many peacocks that wanders the zoo.

The Neph seeing of this turtle responds to visual stimuli. (Nope.)

Even an accidentally blurry photo can be incredibly evocative to a painter's eye. Look at this seahorse in motion. Like something out of a Precambrian dream.

Look at the magnificent textures on that lovely face. A reminder from an elephant that an artist can never have too much detail. And there I go anthropomorphizing again. This elephant was making a subtle, powerful purring-clicking noise while she foraged on her own, as close to the humans and as far from the other elephants as could be.

The Metro Toronto Zoo also has a fascinating initiative involving Twitter, called Polar Tweets. You rescue a polar bear by creating ice out of words you tweet that are pro-sustainability and environmentally-friendly. The level of ice changes quite a bit during the course of the day. Like a socially-conscious NeoPet.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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