Zookeeper for a Day at the Santa Barbara Zoo Part 1

My awesome boyfriend gifted me with the experience of being zoo keeper for a day at the Santa Barbara Zoo. I got to pick animals to hang out with---it couldn't have been a more perfect gift. Except I couldn't utilize it in March ( when I got it for my birthday) because...the giraffes were pregnant, so we needed to wait until the babies were born and on exhibit. Baby giraffes?!! My perfect gift got even more perfect. This was such a wonderful day, that I have to post about it in two parts: The morning and the afternoon.

Our day started out with the giraffe shift, which meant getting them from the giraffe barn out to the exhibit area. Something that is awesome about the Santa Barbara Zoo is that they don't force their animals out to an exhibit area. The animals move at their own pace. For the giraffes, this meant calling them and rattling buckets of treats.
Once the adults got into the area, we were able to feed the giraffes. This was such a cool experience...I can't even describe how it feels to have a giraffe eat out of your hands. So of course I took pictures and video.

Feeding the giraffes

Next we got to visit the Humboldt penguin exhibit. We got to get into the penguin exhibit and helped Lacey, their keeper, keep tally of their medication and food 9they love herring, by the way). We were literally surrounded by penguins as they waddled around us.
One penguin that stood out was Lucky. Lucky was born with a deformed foot---so Deckers partnered with the zoo to create a special boot so that Lucky could live a normal life.

Lucky the African black footed penguin

We got to feed a brown pelican and then visited these beautiful toucans.

Toucan at the Santa Barbara Zoo

I have never seen toucans in such close proximity--these birds are beautifully vibrant and very smart.
Our morning concluded with lunch with out keepers from the morning. The ladies were so sweet to tell us about their lines and to spend their lunch hour with us. It was  so cool to meet and chat with the keepers that take such great care of these animals.
Check back later this week for Part 2!