Sunday, July 27, 2008

Animals, people chill out at the zoo

By NATALIA MIELCZAREK • Staff Writer (Tennesean) • July 27, 2008 Before sisters Mylee and Sareeka, both 6 years old, could eat their icy treats Saturday morning, they had to be restrained. Actually, more like moved to a different area while their caretakers dropped off five-gallon turkey broth popsicles on the ground. When they returned, the sisters went straight for what looked like two blocks of frozen light brown mud water, licking them without a pause. They didn't care that they were being watched and photographed by dozens of onlookers, some of whom yelled "kitty, kitty." The Bengal tigers enjoyed frozen treats at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere during Ice Day 2008. Visitors got a rare glimpse of how wild animals — clouded leopards, elephants, giraffes, red pandas and more — chill out in the summer heat. As Mylee and Sareeka were busy with the ice blocks, Ashley Parker, 9, watched. "I came to watch the tigers eat ice cream," said Ashley, who traveled from Lewisburg. "I just wanted to see how they eat food and hard stuff. I would like to have a tiger for a pet." But the Ice Day wasn't only for the animals. Children, too, could compete in an ice-cream-eating contest, cool off in a tent where it snowed and make their own ice treats. Josh Key, 19, and his cousin, Connor Robertson, 10, of Portland, arrived before 10 a.m. and were planning on hanging out at the zoo until the evening. They took a break in the muggy weather to watch what Ming and Mae, clouded leopard siblings, would do when given several turkey-flavored ice balls the size of large melons. One cat threw one of the treats into a stream and played with it in the water. "I don't really care to see the alligators because we fed them down in Florida at a family farm," Key said. "I'm kind of interested in seeing a giraffe eating ice."

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