A black and white ruffed lemur saunters over to me, sits in my lap and graciously accepts a grape from my hand. This primate’s paw is baby soft. A baby red-ruffed lemur leaps onto my shoulder, looks for a snack, then leaps off onto a sofa. It is cute and playful. No, I am not in Madagascar. I am visiting the Exotic Animal Experience in Orlando.
When my granddaughter told me of how she visited the Bronx Zoo in New York and her favorite animal was the lemur, I knew that I had to take Kailey and her mom here. Kailey’s eyes light up when a lemur sits next to her and she offers it a grape. A South American kinkajou is placed in my daughter’s arms and she is told to hold tight to its tail so it doesn’t wander off. This nocturnal animal hides its face from the bright light in my daughter’s arms, but is very content hanging out as Poppi, a male lemur, comes over to investigate. Lolli, the dominant female lemur comes charging chasing Poppi away.
Our host, Leslie-Ann Rush, gives us ample time to enjoy the lemurs before she leads us to her backyard where Kailey is given a bottle to feed a baby kangaroo. Other kangaroos come over to take snacks from our hands. Kailey also likes the kissing lama who follows her along the fence and mutters lama talk to her. Goats including a feinting goat, Southeast Asian Muntjac Deer, a pot bellied pig and silky chickens wander around the compound and let us pet them.
Leslie, tour guide and care giver of the animals is very proud of her small compound of tame wildlife and you can tell she is a very caring, passionate persons towards the animals. She provided lots of interested facts about each creature. The Exotic Animal Experience was featured in a recent National Geographic magazine and has been featured on MSN, Animal Planet, Inside Edition, and Good Morning America. If you ever get over to Orlando, this is well worth a visit. Visit the Exotic Animal Experience Website for contact information and for making reservations and current prices. It was a private tour experience that will stay with my granddaughter forever.