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Hal and Nancy's Vision Quest Ranch Visit, April 2019

This is our very brief report of Hal and Nancy's return trip to Vision Quest Ranch, part of the little-known Monterey Zoo in Salinas. Our previous visit was in September 2010, so this posting will be primarily photographs and a few brief updates from that trip. We spent a weekend in celebration of Nancy's birthday. We drove down Saturday morning and signed in for our VIP tour. This consisted of a guided small group tour around all of the facilities, a session washing an elephant, a modest lunch, and three sessions in which we were photographed with small animals. This experience was rather expensive, but we came way well satisfied. We overnighted in one of the bungalows/tents and woke up to a continental breakfast, followed by a session feeding an elephant. (Both of these elephant experiences were with Butch, a giant 41-year-old male, who is quite eager to interact with people in exchange for generous helpings of carrot sticks and apples. There are two other elephants on the premises, a 5 acre paddock that they share with two water buffaloes and a naughty zebra. We remembered all of these animals from our previous visit.) Late in the afternoon there was an animal walk, in which keepers brought two small animals up to our porch: a Coatimundi (which is sort of a South American raccoon) and a tiny monkey (whose species we did not remember). The monkey was really cute, trying frantically to dive down into the keeper's polo shirt for shelter from the wind.

Here are some of the differences from our 2010 visit.

5-acre paddock
Butch getting ready for his bath His 1-inch-thick skin is really rough and tough to scrub
Afterward, nice and clean, he proceeded to take a dust bath Leopard in an interesting pose
Siberian tiger We got really close to these guys
Notice the unusual color on the left Mighty lion
California black bears Ernie the Patagonian Mara
Binturong, with his hefty prehensile tail  
Doc showing off his equipment Stitch the Lemur
  Bungelow #8
Inside Coatimundi (with our guide from the VIP tour, in the afternoon animal walk)
  Tiny monkey with two of the elephant keepers
Breakfast for Butch—carrots and apples  
Butch's teeth (his lost his tusks years ago)