As the last tourists leave for the day and the animals all begin to slumber from their full bellies, an eerie quiet blanketed the refuge. Having been surrounded by roars, howls and chuffing all day it was strange to only hear the clicking of gates as workers completed their final checks on the animals. Silence would be punctuated only by a soft snapping of a gate and a soft, occasional half hearted roar. We had been put up in the Siberian (Green) room for our stay and we sat in the quiet watching a blood red sunset over the refuge. It was easy to believe you were in Africa or some other far flung locale with the eerie sunset as a backdrop.
With everything locked down for the night and quiet reigning, we decided to head out for dinner. We ended up at a saloon (yes, it was kid friendly!). Our bellies now content, we headed back to the refuge to call it a night. Tugging on our pajamas, the boys settled in to watch a few episodes of Fear Factor while I found a journal in the room where previous guests had written about their visits. It was wonderful reading about what had brought people to the refuge and how their lives had been touched by their stay.
We finally crawled in bed around 11 and D was out immediately after all his work today. I laid awake for awhile, listening as the animals came back awake. Lions, tigers, the coyote- all could be heard in every direction. I was afraid it might keep me awake but instead it lulled me right to sleep and even the tigers that moo didn’t bother me!
(Two tigers were kept on a cattle farm since they were born and they never learned to “roar” or even “meow”. Instead, they would “moo” like a cow. Sad that’s the life they led but also one of the most adorable things you’ve ever heard).