Hello fellow adventurers!
One thing I have said pretty often is EXPLORE YOUR OWN BACKYARD! Meaning sometimes you can have the greatest adventures when you are traveling within and experiencing your own state, or heck! Even your own city!
Now this particular adventure took me out of my town, but I was close…it took a quick drive the 130 or so miles to Boise for this grand adventure. The Boise Zoo hosted their first ever Wine Safari! Now being the wino marketer and enthusiast that I am, when I saw this on Facebook I knew that this was going to be a really GREAT event.
One thing I worried about is that since moving to Idaho I have had the trending experience of pumping up an event in my mind and then being sorely disappointed by the reality because I am reminded, we are in Idaho and things are done here on a MUCH smaller scale…unless it is the rodeo. Thankfully that wasn’t the case with the Wine Safari.
My friend and I drive up to Boise and wait for the gates to open, first crowd pleaser…have you ever visited a zoo after hours? No strollers running you over, kids screaming when the lion got to close or they didn’t get the toy they wanted, dad’s with strollers parked under the shade, it is just quiet. The lack of sound was nearly deafening!
Once everyone arrived they split everyone (they capped the event to 30 people) into three smaller groups to then go to the three different continents they had set up for visitation! I LOVED this idea and here is why, when you have large groups of people you end up grouping off anyways. This just avoided not being able to hear the wine explanations, long lines for the horderves for each station and of course overwhelming the animals…all of these would be no está bien.
My group’s first stop was Africa! Where we had a 2017 Chenin Blanc from a South African winery “Painted Wolf Wines” to pair with chicken skewers with assorted dips and a 2014 Red Blend from Meerlust Estate Winery, South Africa, paired with a chocolate salami log (sounds weird I know but it was like a fudge and ice cream toppings in the form of a log). Then of course the best part about “visiting” Africa was being able to feed the Giraffes!
I have been able to see and visit a lot of weird and wild animals in my travels but I’ve never had the pleasure of being able to feed a Giraffe!
Our next stop took us to South America! This was the stop I was looking forward to the most…and that’s because of Penguins! My whole Navy career I was nicknamed either Alaska or Penguin, you know since I was from the Arctic….cleaver right? Well not only was this station serving food from South America but they were also serving a 2016 Crios Torrontes and a 2015 Zorzal Malbec Gran Terrior from one of the most notable wine regions on the continent, Argentina! At this station though the wine was my secondary focus…first was the animals!
Definite bonus to this event was the fact I got to PET THE PENGUIN! Talk about an awesome bucket list item I didn’t think was going to happen!
The last station was visiting Asia! We had Tozai Snow Maiden Sake from Japan and then a 2016 Maris Natural selection from France…*head scratcher* why French wine at the Asia station you ask? Ahh because most of the wine vines that were imported to Asia all originated from France when the East India Trading Company was helping the French Royal family was looking for more areas to expand their already extensive wine regions and since they already had such a huge land domination in Asia, why not try planting there?
There are a lot more details to that history but that’s the summary. Now this station instead of interacting directly with the animals we made “enrichments” for three different animals to help stimulate their brains in different ways, food, toys, smells. Once we were done building the “enrichments” they were given to either the Snow Leopard, Red Panda or Sloth Bear!
This concluded the evening but the entire experience was totally unique from anything I’ve ever done before and I would HIGHLY suggest that if you have the chance to do any activities at a Zoo after hours…TAKE IT! It is really special to see and be in the zoo normal business hours.
More to come on fabulous adventures!
Traveling Photographer Out!