My niece, her children, son-in-law and adorable grandchild visited us the day after Thanksgiving.  What to do that would please the group that spanned all generations was the question of the day?  The Living Desert was the answer and sure enough we had a wonderful time.  It’s a beautiful place.  The way that the animal enclosures are spaced far apart amidst a dramatic desert landscape is unique.  Vast vistas across pristine desert scapes contrast dramatically with sightings, through dense underbrush, of cheetahs lounging in patches of sun makes it all seem as if you are on safari in Africa.

Some elect to take a tram around the park but we wandered the meandering well-marked trails that took us past giraffes, warthogs, zebras, gazelle, leopards and so much more.  Our youngest, a two year old busy boy, was thrilled every step of the way.  And then we came upon the Merry-Go-Round.

Marilyn’s Merry-Go-Round, featuring 30 animals represented at The Living Desert and two chariots for grandmother and grandfather caught our youngster’s eye the minute we rounded a corner at Gecko Gulch. There was no debate – a ride was part of the deal.  So with uncles as guides our little one mounted a cheetah and to the Star Wars theme rode round and round the very picture of joy.

His grandmother, great aunt and uncle watched from the sidelines.  Such unbridled glee, so in the moment was the boy.  He should not know that the elders watching could not help but think of his great grandmother who had passed away only months earlier and that their laughter masked lumps in their throats.


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