Monday, June 4, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

This weekend the husband/lover/best friend, my parents, and I had several adventures planned, all right in our own "backyard."  We were calling it our weekend of Local Color, remembering an old "I Love Lucy" episode in which she and Ethel were out seeing the sights in town.  Her husband Ricky, while telling his buddy Fred of their whereabouts, said "Oh they're out soakin' up some local color," pronouncing it like "lockle collar."

Saturday we headed out to Penn's Creek, Pennsylvania to visit T & D's Cats of the World.  This organization is completely funded by donations and visitor entrance fees.  Its purpose is to rescue animals that need rescuing and return them to good health and to their natural environment if that is possible.
Visitors' Center Entrance
Although the entrance to the property was fairly plain, once inside we had an exciting walk of roughly one mile through all the various animal habitats.  It was a pleasant sunny day, the animals were mostly out and about, and we got to see many of them up close.

Being a mere ten feet from this roaring lion was quite a thrill.  I was thinking that I need to move "Go on an African Safari" higher up on my "Bucket List."  

A nearby volunteer explained to us that they are stationed around the park to make sure voices are kept low, animals are not taunted, and small children do not run.  Any of those behaviors could stir up the animals, making them behave unpredictably.

We were walking down a 15 foot wide pebbled walkway with the lions to our right, and tigers to our left.  Both were actively pacing around.

Yup - lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!  This bear was a big one for sure, but we saw an even bigger one that we estimated to weigh between 500 and 600 pounds.

One of the volunteers told us the story of one of the bears they had rescued.  A foolish family took a small bear cub in as a "pet" and enjoyed raising it and "playing" with it.  The bear enjoyed the roughhousing also.  As it got larger though, the family members started getting hurt while the bear played roughly with them, and called T & D's Cats for help.  This bear was segregated in its own cage, now for five years, and got very excited when anybody walked by the cage, charging at full speed towards the people and slamming into the wire walls of the enclosure.  You see, it wanted to "play."  This bear, although physically healthy, will not be able to return to the woods, for if it sees a human, it will want to play and the human will be mauled.  A good example that WILD ANIMALS ARE NOT PETS.

Yes, we saw lot of large animals, small animals and birds, and even one snake (I hate snakes, and it was loose, not in a cage, ugh), but the biggest thrill I experienced was watching a pack of gray wolves moving through the woods in a group and hearing them from the other side of the park howling in unison.  An eerie sound, for sure.  The wolves starting their howling, and it wasn't long before the coyotes started up in response.
Now there's a WILD one.  (My father is enjoying himself. )
My parents are just taking a break, enjoying the animals.
T & D's  Cats of the World is a treasure in our own backyard.  They are doing a good thing with the animals using the resources they have.  100% of the entrance fees and any donations go towards feeding and housing the animals.   We totally enjoyed our day, and I plan on taking my grandchildren there sometime soon.  

We left there and were thinking of dinner, so we headed towards Middleburg, Pennsylvania, perhaps a 15 minute drive.  In the book Going Local, Volume 2, compiled by Ken Hull, I had read of a small place called "Cruiser's Cafe."  Hull's business card lists him as "Adventure Eater," Author, Artist, Biker, etc.  (I want his job.)

Cruiser's Cafe was a delight, the food was excellent, and the waitress was very friendly.  It's small in there - I think we counted table seating for about 18 and stools at the counter for another 6, but it's a fun place with plenty of old things, many Coke-related, to look at.
It's an old gas station / general store

Cozy interior, with table and counter seating
Lots of nostalgia, everywhere you look
Old Coke machine
We had a great adventure and a wonderful day spending time together.  If you are passing through central Pennsylvania, or if you are local,  go see some Local Color - visit T & D's Cats of the World.  Then go eat some good food, and ice cream of course, at Cruiser's Cafe.  A day to remember!

1 comment:

  1. what a great looking restaurant...and a fab cat sanctuary..Rick would have gone crazy there he loves loves the big cats....