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Thanks to my awesome employer (and a little hard work on my part), we all got to enjoy five all expense paid days at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. (That's the long official name.) We had a huge corner room with a balcony looking over the golf course and downtown Dallas.
One of the holes of the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas 18-hole par-70 golf course and home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
The end of the driving range capped off with the Dallas skyline.
A portion of the Four Seasons' main resort pool.
Drew, Will and Landon on the way to swim on our first full day at the Four Seasons.
The beautiful and curvy family pool at the Four Seasons Resort and Club.
The portion of the family pool where we set up camp for the afternoon.
Landon swam with Mama and me quite a bit but tired out and enjoyed watching his brothers and relaxing in the shade the rest of the afternoon.
Will also lounged about but did it in the pool's shallow waters.
What fun is sitting beside a pool if you don't splash about.
Drew made like an Oklahoma City Thunder player and practiced his slam dunks at the pool.
Two points for Drew!
Thursday morning we had an incredible room service breakfast that we will always remember (a bit of an inside joke, not because anything was wrong with it, rather just the opposite, because it was so...massive). After the pool Thursday, we had an amazing dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse with friends. We then spent Friday at the Dallas World Aquarium and Saturday at the Dallas Zoo, all without missing
any too much of my business meetings.
Today, we visited the Dallas World Aquarium. It was easily one of the best nature destinations we have been to. And, as the following photos shows, it is a photographers paradise. The variety and proximity of the animals is almost unmatched.
The Dallas World Aquarium is far more than just an aquarium. The self-guided tour starts at the canopy of a seven story rainforest and features all kinds of animals inhabiting the various levels while you descend. A 40-foot waterfall, trees, and an abundance of plant life create the perfect illusion that you have stepped into the natural habitat of the animals rather than being in the heart of a major city.
A Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is checking out the boys. Giant River Otters are the largest of the 13 otter species found throughout the world, reaching lengths near six feet.
Two Giant River Otters poking their heads of the water to check out to say "Hello" to the boys. It think the one on the right is trying to give a high-five to Will.
The boys with the Dallas World Aquarium waterfall behind them.
Drew and Will in front of some Japanese Spider Crabs (Macrocheira kaempferi). Landon wanted nothing to do with these guys. Japanese Spider Crabs have the greatest leg span of any arthropod. They are known to have grown more than 12 feet from claw to claw. The large body reaches 16 inches and the whole crab can weigh more than 40 pounds. If I wasn't allergic to shellfish, I'd make a joke about needing a whole lot of butter!
Drew and Will sitting in the Dallas World Aquarium 40 foot acrylic shark tunnel. Again, Landon was good observing from a distance. Based on their fin sizes, I believe the top shark is a Blacknose Shark (Carcharhinus acronotus) and the bottom shark is a Brown Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus). Or, I could be totally wrong.
The boys checking out the American Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).
Click on "continue reading" for a whole lot more creatures from the Dallas World Aquarium in the approximate order of our tour.
The. Matschie's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiel) does not have long hind legs that are typical of more commonly known leaping kangaroos. Instead, the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo has hind limbs slightly that are slightly shorter than their powerful forelegs which gives them greater control and balance for climbing and moving through trees.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) is one of three species of crowned pigeons which are the largest members of the pigeon and dove family. The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is named after the longest reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria who was Queen of the United Kingdom for 63 years from 1837 to her death in 1901.
The monkeys were an absolute delight to watch. This is a Pale-Faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia).
Another Pale-Faced Saki examining his food.
This Saki has no manners; eating with his mouth open.
A Pale-Faced Saki on the move with his food.
A mother Pale-Faced Saki carrying her child. Male Sakis have black coats and a white head, while females have a grizzled color coat and a dark face with white stripes descending from each eye.
This monkey is a Red-Handed Tamarin (Saguinus midas).
Tamarins normally have twins which are mainly cared for by the father and older siblings and turned over to the mother only to nurse
Red-Handed Tamarins are exceptional climbers and superb jumpers, able to jump over 60 feet from tree to ground without injury.
A Tamarin's diet consists of fruit, flowers, insects, frogs, spiders, lizards, and nectar.
You can't see its characteristic spoon-bill from this angle, but this is a Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja). Like the American Flamingo below, the Roseate Spoonbill's pink color is diet-derived resulting in coloration ranging from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age and location. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched.
This is a juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) with its flecked gray and white more closely resembling a Black-Crowned Night-Heron. As an adult, this Yellow-Crowned Night Heron will have a black and white crown with a distinctive white stripe below the eye. The rest of its body will be grayish along with red eyes and short yellow legs.
The Dallas World Aquarium has an amazing variety of toucans. This Northern Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) is enjoying a berry. Aracaris are unusual for toucans in that they roost socially throughout the year with up to six birds sleeping in the same hole with tails folded over their backs.
A Green Oropendola (Psarocolius viridis). The pale bill with an orange tip is unique to the Green Oropendola.
The Pygmy Marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea) is one of the smallest primates and the smallest true monkey weighing only 5 ounces and reaching just 5 to 6 inches in height with a 6 to 8 inch tail.
A Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) having a nap in the trees. The Dallas World Aquarium has the only public display of three-toed sloths in the United States.
An Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator) monkey known for its unique moustache.
The Emperor Tamarin is named after Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, who reigned from 1888 to 1918.
The Dallas World Aquarium is the only facility outside of South American to publicly exhibit the Saffron Toucanet (Baillonius bailloni). Its scientific name honors Louis Antoine François Baillon, a French naturalist and collector (1778-1855).
The Blue-Crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) is a Kingfisher relative which has a remarkable tail resembling the pendulum of a grandfather clock and a bright blue elliptical ring on top of its head.
The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) uses its long, downward-curved, bill to probe through the mud for snails, worms, crawfish and small crustaceans.
This is a Red-Breasted Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus) also known as a Green-billed Toucan. Fortunately, the Red-Breasted Toucan is fairly common and not considered threatened.
A Bearded Saki (Chiropotes), but not sure which one of the five species.
The Dallas World Aquarium is home to a pair of Orinoco Crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius), Juancho and Miranda (not sure which one this is) who are parents to over 100 crocodiles of which 55 have been released into their native Capanaparo and Cojedes rivers in Venezuela.
The conservation efforts of the Dallas World Aquarium are of vital importance as less than 600 Orinoco Crocodiles are believed to exist in the wild.
A very endangered Orinoco Crocodile eye.
Due to its popularity for "talking" and "singing" the Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix) went from a population of 700,000 in the mid-1970s to just 7,000 as the result of trappers. Habitat destruction continues to threaten the species although their is hope since they breed well in captivity.
The Dwarf-Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) is the smallest living species of crocodile.
The Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus) is one of three living species of vampire bats, the other two being the Hairy-Legged and the White-Winged Vampire Bats.
The Common Vampire Bat feeds primarily on the blood of mammals, particularly livestock such as cattle and horses. Heat sensors in the bat's nose detect blood vessels near the surface of the skin of a target. The bat then pierces the animal's skin with its teeth, peels away a small flap, and laps up the blood with its tongue, which has lateral grooves adapted to this purpose. The blood is kept from clotting by an anticoagulant in the bat's saliva. Once a victim has been dined upon, a Vampire Bat will commonly return on consecutive nights, after marking the animal with urine.
A Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) is sometimes called a Monkey Fish because of its ability to jump out of the water and capture prey including birds, bats, and snakes although its diet normally consists of crustaceans, insects, smaller fishes and other animals that float on the water surface.
The Polka Dot Stingray (Potamotrygon leopoldi) is a freshwater stingray. Like other rays, it gives birth to live young.
The Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) is an endangered species. The manatee is fully adopted to its aquatic lifestyle, as it has no hind limbs.
Antillean Manatees can grow 9 to 11 feet long and weigh 1,000 to 1,300 pounds.
This is a Blotchy Anthias (Odontanthias borbonius) which is normally found among rocky reefs in deep waters.
This is an adult Map Angelfish (Pomacanthus maculosus) which is similar to the darker Arabian Angelfish which also has a yellow "map" on its side. Amazingly, juvenile Map Angelfish appear completely different as they are alternately blue-white and black banded.
A Lagoon or Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus). I don't know about "Lagoon" but "Picasso" describes this fish perfectly. These Triggerfish live in among coral reefs where they eat just about everything that comes along. They can be aggressive in protecting their territory, even against divers, especially when guarding their eggs. Fortunately, their relative small size makes them much less dangerous than the larger Titan Triggerfish of the same family.
The Powder Blue Tang or Surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternon). It does not change color as it matures like some other Tangs do and, although it eats mostly algae, it is an omnivore.
A Chameleon (Chamaeleonidae) checking things out. Besides being famous for the ability to change colors, chameleons also have the most distinctive eyes of any reptile. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, leaving only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. Their eyes can rotate and focus independently of each other to observe two different objects simultaneously. This gives Chameleons a full 360-degree arc of vision around their bodies. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction resulting in acute depth perception.
The Madagascar Tomato Frog (Dyscophus guineti) uses its brilliant colors to warn potential predators that it is toxic. When threatened, it can inflate inflate itself, givng the appearance of greater size. A white sticky toxin can be secreted from its cheeks when attacked that gums up the predator's eyes and mouth and which can cause an allergic reaction in humans.
Black-Footed Penguin or African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is also known as the "Jackass" Penguin for its donkey-like bray but which may be the reason that Black-Footed is preferred over African...gotta be PC!
The Black-Footed Penguin have lived at the Dallas World Aquarium since 1992. Their home was originally in an indoor display until 1996 when the outdoor lagoon-like Cape of Good Hope exhibit was opened.
Black-Footed Penguins grow to about 27 inches tall and have pattens of black spots that are unique to every penguin like human fingerprints. They exhibit sexual dimorphism as males are slightly larger and females have slightly larger beaks. Their black and white coloration helps camouflage them in the water with white for predators looking up and black for predators looking down.
The Eschmeyer's Scorpionfish (Rhinopias eschmeyeri) had a deep, laterally compressed body, with eyes on top of its head. It rids itself of algae and parasites by frequently shedding its outer skin. It rarely swims, instead using its fins to create a rocking motion mimicking floating debris until its pray happens along.
The Giant Pacific Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest octopus. Adults can weigh about 33 pounds and have an arm span up to 14 feet.
The Giant Pacific Octopus commonly preys upon shrimp, crabs, scallops, abalone, clams, and fish catching its meal with its suckers then crushing it using a tough beak it has immediately inside its mouth. They have been known to feed on small sharks and even a wayward seagull.
In poking around the web to learn about the Giant Pacific Octopus, I came across a site where you can see its beak and siphon in action...you have to go there and watch the movie! Go...now...you can come back.
A Blue Tang or Blue Surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus), not to be confused with the Atlantic blue tang which are lighter in color. The Blue Tang is popular in aquariums because of its bright color but don't eat them as they may be poisonous. Handling Blue Tangs is likewise dangerous as they extend caudal spines from near the end of their tails when excited which can cause deep wounds when thrashing about. Of course, the most famous Blue Tang is Dory from Finding Nemo.
A close up of the Blue Tang showing the texture of its skin.
This is a juvenile Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) which I could not identify without the assistance of the fine folks at the Dallas World Aquarium. I was unaware that many Angelfish appear different as juveniles from adults. While juvenile Emperor Angelfish are dark blue with electric blue and white rings, adults have yellow and blue stripes, with black around their eyes.
Margined Coralfish (Chelmon marginalis) in the family Chaetodontidae or Butterflyfish which look like smaller versions of Angelfish.
Ribboned Seadragon (Haliichthys taeniophorus) has an elongated body with bony knobs above the eyes and spines on the body ridges. Despite its common name, it is not a true seadragon (which occur only in southern Australia), but rather a member of the pipehorse group of fishes. The Dallas World Aquarium's was the first to breed Ribboned Seadragons in captivity.
The Sea Apple (Pseudocolochirus violaceus) is a type of sea cucumber. It is a filter-feeder with tube-like feet and tentacles it can bring to its mouth to scrape off captured plankton. When threatened they can release a toxin or even expel their internal organs. They are difficult to keep in aquariums because of they will often starve to death with inadequate plankton found in the filtered water and because they are often harassed by other inhabitants leading to the release of its toxin which can kill some species.
This is a Blue-Lined Rabbitfish (Siganus doliatus) which has an abundance of other common names: Barred Spinefoot, Pencil-Streaked Rabbitfish, Barred Spanish Mackerel, Scribbled Rabbitfish and Two Barred Rabbitfish.
Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) have white body with red striping that runs both horizontally and vertically producing a unique square pattern. They are the only Hawkfish reported to have spawned in captivity.
The Spectacled Angelfish or Conspicillatus (Chaetodontoplus conspicillatus) has a blue-grey body and a golden face with blue "spectacles" around its eyes. Breeding is complicated by the fact that there are no distinguishing characteristics to differentiate males from females.
The Weedy Seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) is a marine fish related to the seahorse. They have small leaf-like appendages that provide camouflage and a number of short spines for protection.
The Dallas World Aquarium had one of the first successful exhibit of Leafy Seadragon (Phycodurus eques) outside of Australia and Japan. It is another marine fish in the family with seahorses. Leafy Seadragons have long leaf-like protrusions all over their bodies which are used solely for camouflage. They propels themselves by transparent pectoral and dorsal fins which work together to very slowly propel it through the water completing the illusion of floating seaweed.
The Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) is an invertebrate filter-feeder which catches larval brine shrimp and plankton on the fringed, stinging, tentacles surrounding its translucent bell. It is recognized by its four horseshoe-shaped gonads of which two can been seen in the photo.
The Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki) is critically endangered and may even be extinct in the wild. Endemic to Panama, where it is the national animal, their disappearance is duet to habitat loss, pollution and the fungal infection known as chytridiomycosis. These frogs are unusual in that they communicate by a form of semaphore, waving at rivals and prospective mates, in addition to the sounds more usual among frogs.
Some sort of Tarantula (Theraphosidae) of which their are over 900 species. No clue which one this little guy/gal is. Spiders generally don't bother me...but Tarantulas...*shudder*.
The Helmeted Basilisk (Corytophanes cristatus) uses its cryptic color pattern as a defense, usually remaining motionless on a vertical limb. When threatened, it can increase its apparent size by stiffening its legs to raise its body while depressing its head in order to raise its crest and expand its throat fan.
The entrance to the Dallas World Aquarium's 40 foot shark tunnel.
Looking up at the easy to distinguish Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis microdon) with its long flat snout edged with pairs of teeth which are used to locate, stun and kill prey.
I'm not one prone to anthropomorphization, but this Largetooth Sawfish's face sure looks human-like.
Looking down from above the 400,000 gallon shark tank at a Largetooth Sawfish.
Bonnethead or Shovelhead Sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) are distinguished from their larger cousins, Hammerhead Sharks, by their narrower head that is more rounded in the front giving it a "shovel" shape.
A Brown or Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) (I think), I understand the fin size and location distinctions between certain sharks, but putting that information into practice to identify different sharks is a skill that eludes me.
The underside of a Brown or Sandbar Shark.
The skin or armor of the Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum alvarezi) is composed of beaded scales that protect the lizard. It is one of two venomous species of lizards, along with the Gila Monster, both of which are native to Mexico. Although the poison of the Mexican Beaded Lizard is extremely painful and recovery may take several weeks, it's not lethal.
The Barred Owl (Strix varia) is a large typical owl native to North America. It goes by many other names, including Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, and Striped Owl, but is probably best known as the Hoot Owl based on its call.
The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a highly social bird, living in flocks numbering in the thousands. Females lay a single egg on top of a volcano-shaped nest. Although its population is stable, there are only four secure breeding sites in the wild.
Most of the American Flamingos' plumage is pink, giving rise to its earlier name of Rosy Flamingo and differentiating adults from the much paler Greater Flamingo. Its wing coverts are red while its primary and secondary flight feathers are black. Its bill is pink and white with a restricted black tip, and its legs are entirely pink.
The American Flamingos' life expectancy of 40 years is one of the longest in birds. Its call sounds like a goose-like honking.
The Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari) is commonly observed leaping out of the water and has even have been reported jumping into boats. Their tails are longer than other rays and may have 2-6 venomous spines. Mature Spotted Eagle Rays can grow up to 16 feet in length with the largest having a wingspan up to 10 feet and a weight of 500 pounds.
Drew had his final tournament and baseball game this weekend in Claremore with two games yesterday and two more today. The team played the best they had all year and well deserved their first place finish! As seen here, Drew hit the ball every time he was at bat.
With the boys playing well, there were lots of smiles to go around.
One of the many times Drew crossed home plate over the weekend.
Eye on the ball and another hit for Drew.
A hand pound with the first base coach after another great hit.
All smiles at first base.
It's all about the teamwork. This pop fly was hit right between the shortstop and the third baseman. It wound up in the third baseman's glove. A great catch.
Drew whacking another one...somehow with his eyes closed.
Safe at first.
This ball is about to get smacked.
More smiles at first.
Drew on third base watching a fly ball to see when he can go home.
Drew's last hit of the season, or close thereto since I didn't get pictures of all of them. Drew finished as one of the most consistent hitters on his team.
One last smile at first base.
Drew's tournament team, the Stixx, showing off their first place trophies. Drew finished the year with three trophies, this one and two others for second place finishes in Sapulpa and Broken Arrow. Thanks to all the coaches for their hard work. It was a great season.
The windows at work were being washed today. I was able to whip out my iPhone and snap this pic of one of the window washers in action against the Tulsa skyline.
Today, work took me to Beaver, Oklahoma: No Man's Land - Everyone's Town.
The Beaver County Courthouse recently received a significant expansion.
In the process of expansion, the old "Beaver County Courthouse" name was covered up leaving just the "B" and part of the "E."
The courthouse has a beautiful old-fashioned street clock which shows the time my day in Beaver ended before my five hour drive home began.
The ride home was interesting as I passed an insanely long wind turbine blade.
I gotta think, somehow, they pick a route without any turns.
I can't even imagine the amount of engineering it takes to design and construct a modern wind turbine blade.
No idea where the turbine blade was headed but I passed it right before the OU Spirit Wind Farm with its 44 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbine generators which makes enough electricity to serve about 25,000 homes.
I literally cannot imagine what it would have been like to exit a landing craft and wade toward a beach under enemy fire.
Three years ago, the President
was forced against his will took part in the 65th anniversary ceremonies in Normandy, France. Since then, he has completely ignored this historic day. Well, except for today, when he tweeted about it. Yes, he tweeted a comment about D-Day. That is the culmination of three years of D-Day presidential commemorations...a tweet.
Dear God, please safely remove this man from office next January. Amen.
Today the planet Venus transited the Sun, that is, it passed directly between the Earth and the Sun. The transit is much like a solar eclipse by the Moon, except that Venus which is about three times the diameter of the moon is so far away that it looks like a small dot crossing the Sun.
The transit of Venus is considered one of the rarest predictable astronomical phenomena, occurring in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The last transit of Venus, the first of the current pair, was on June 8, 2004, two days before I began this blog. The next transit of Venus will occur on December 10, 2117, over 105 years from now.
There are multiple ways to safely observe the transit since you obviously can't look directly at the sun. I chose to set up a pair of binoculars on a tripod using some duct tape and projecting the transit on a white poster board.
The binoculars with one eye taped off and the resulting projection on the poster board.
The shadow of my setup showing the Sun's image projected through the binoculars with Venus visible as a small dot in the lower right of the bright circle.
The start of the transit of Venus across the Sun. Venus is the black dot on the bottom right edge. Notice the faint sun spots visible near the center of the sun.
A sharper picture later in the transit of Venus, my technique improved as the transit progressed.
It started to get cloudy later in the transit. But, it made for an interesting image when I was able to catch Venus in a gap in the clouds.
The images above were contrast adjusted and this one was additionally artificially colored. I really like how it came out. This was about the peak of the transit that I was able to capture before clouds interfered as the Sun was setting. The total transit lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes but I was only able to get clear images for a little over the first two hours.
By my rough calculations, with the next transit of Venus in 105 years, Drew, Will and Landon will never see another one. But, their children, my grandchildren, will be around 65 to 85 years old. Hopefully, I will get to bounce a few of you all on my knee. In addition to your fathers, which this blog is obviously all about, think of me during the next transit as I was thinking of you during this one.
I've now used the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide for two weeks and I'm hooked. Honestly, I didn't think electric toothbrushes were much more than a gimmick, something to encourage children to brush their teeth or an aid to persons with physical limitations. I stand corrected. This Oral-B electric toothbrush easily cleans more thoroughly than manually brushing. In just two weeks of twice daily brushing, my teeth seem brighter, smoother and my gums more healthy. This power toothbrush is both more effective and gentler than my own brute force brushing-harder-is-better manual method.
I thought I'd wind up just using this electric toothbrush occasionally as a novelty but it is now an integral part of my oral hygiene. I hate change and don't make changes often but I'm honestly switching to the Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 in place of my standard toothbrush.
Video of the SmartSeries 5000 in action along with some slow-motion.
"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate."
Drew had a baseball tournament this weekend in Sapulpa with two games yesterday and three games today. Needless to say, we are all very tired. Drew did great hitting the ball every time he was at bat and getting on base most of those times. In this photo, I finally captured the elusive ball on bat.
Either Drew is calling himself safe or he overshot the base a little bit. Either way, it all worked out as he was safe at second.
Drew getting the signal from the third base coach to go home!
With five games, there were lots of scoring at home plate.
Drew hitting low one.
The shortstop on the left who made a great catch (you can just see the ball in the glove next to the Nike swoosh) got some assistance from the third baseman.
A great leaping catch of a line drive by our second baseman.
This is just a sampling of all the hits Drew got some of which I captured on video.
There was a pileup at second base which resulted in Drew being thrown out.
I love the lighting on this photo of Drew taking off from second base while he watches a pop fly to make certain it's not going to be caught.
Throwing one in from deep in the outfield.
Will taking it easy as he watches one of Drew's five games.
Drew and the boys played their hearts out all weekend winning the first four games of the tournament but just barely lost the championship game in extra innings to finish second place. Congratulations Stixx!
Our weekend wasn't busy enough with two baseball games today (and three tomorrow), so we went the circus tonight. Not just any circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus featuring Dragons! Or, as Will says, "We went to see The Greatest Show on Earth!"
The Tchalabaev Cossack Troupe performing their five-man pyramid in their Riders of the Wind show.
Each side of the circus had a high wire pulled taught above and just in front of the first row for the Scorching Skywheels of the West. A motorcycle went back and forth with performers dangling underneath. For the finale, the motorcycle and acrobats spun around the wire!
One of my favorites are the big cats! The lion tamer, Alexander Lacey, had full command of his lions and tigers.
A tiger taking his turn jumping from stand to stand.
A tiger on his hind feet standing tall.
Needless to say taking photos from the stands combined with the varied circus lightening and a wire cage generally does not make for good photography but this photo of a tiger standing on his hind legs came out pretty good, if I do say so myself.
That is a craze cooperative lion to allow two tigers to stand themselves up on his back.
Back view of some well trained lions and tigers.
And, the front view of the lions and tigers standing at attention.
The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey lion king. I've got to believe this guy is pretty old, he never moved very fast during the whole performance.
Not only is this cage studded with knives but they set it on fire and, although you can't tell from the photo, set it spinning, before putting a hood on the unlucky guy who had to jump through it.
These are the Shaolin Warriors and Kung Fu Kings. The program doesn't make much of a distinction between the two but the Ringling Bros. website does.
The Dragon briefly poked his head out between performances.
These are The Soaring Scalas performing their unassisted four-man tower after being launched from a teeter totter, (In another ring, farther away from us, The Mighty Asadullins performed a similar acrobatic teeter totter act.)
The final Soaring Scalas acrobat, just launched off the teeter totter, doing a somersault before landing on top to complete a five-man tower.
This little person was the highlight of the show. Paulo Dos Santo did a magnificent job all night long keeping the crowd entertained with his surprising acrobatics, endless energy and great humor. He stole the show from the Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson (back visible in very first photo).
Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants standing on each other.
This isn't that amazing of a picture, but the elephants were rotating in a circle which was pretty amazing.
Ringling Bros. elephants sitting on their backsides.
Ringling Bros. elephants making their own "little" pyramid.
These are the Dragon Riders (the Torres family) in a 16-foot globe of steel. They worked their way up until there were an amazing 8 motorcycles in the globe!!! In the picture you can just make out, from top to bottom 1, 4 and 3 riders. I also took a video which is a thousand times better than this static photo.
In the big finale, the Dragon finally made his appearance and flew around the thee ringed circus.
The Dragon spit fire and smoke as it finished out an incredible show.
The boys outside the BOK Center in front of a Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus truck.