Last Tuesday, my class took a much different approach to exploring nature by making a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo for a behind the scenes tour. We started in the classroom, where we got to view, learn about, and pet some of the keepers' favorite classroom animals - I will be bragging for a long while about getting to pet an alligator and an adorable kinkajou! We then got a tour around the zoo, including a visit in the lion house, where we got to hear about the 5 lions the zoo has, take pictures/videos, and listen to/watch the oldest female like beg for more raw horse and beef (yum!). I was particularly excited to see the African painted dogs awake and extremely active because they were pretty boring and hard to see the last time I visited the zoo on my birthday. After watching their hunting techniques on Planet Earth, it was interesting to witness their rowdy version of "playing around" with each other. It's amazing how vicious something so cute can truly be. And, of course, my favorite part of the trip was the hands-on visit to the Second Chance sea turtles building next to the PPG Aquarium, where we held baby sea turtles while learning of their stories and how the program assists struggling sea turtles. Feeling the turtle's belly puffing out was one of the most astounding experiences of this entire semester (and in a very long time). Although the trip didn't allow much room for me to build upon my final portfolio, it still provided great experiences and photo opportunities that I may never get again.