Monday, April 30, 2018

Zoo #AtoZChallenge #blogboost #MusicMovesMe

I never thought that the end of my January trip to Florida would result in a trip into my early childhood.  But it did, in one of those "it's a small world" events.

We were on the Auto Train, preparing to head back to Virginia.

We were just about ready to leave the Sanford, Florida station when the woman sitting in front of me struck up a conversation.  It was her first trip on the Auto Train, and, since I had ridden it several times, she started to ask me some questions.

We were chatting as the train began to move.  We were about five minutes out, maybe even less.

Suddenly she started to yell, "Did you see that? Did you see that?"

Not what we saw on the Auto Train- Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, South Carolina August 2017

"I saw giraffes!  They were just there, walking alongside the tracks!"

I thought about it for a minute, wondering if she was hallucinating, but then remembered that there is a zoo near Sanford, Florida (The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens). 

I've always loved zoos - I know not everyone does, for various reasons.

I was born in the Rockaways, in Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City, but grew up in the Bronx, another borough.  An aunt used to take me, several times a year, to the Bronx Zoo.  I loved being with her, and loved visiting the zoo.  I had my favorite exhibits, she had hers, and we always had a good time.

Hearing my train friend's accent, I suspected my train mate was from New York City, too.

I asked my seat mate (one row ahead of me) where she lived.  And she said "in Queens, in a development called Arverne by the Sea."

What were the chances?

 My first home, as a baby, was located blocks from Arverne by the Sea.  What were the odds, out of everyone who travels on the Auto Train, to find someone who lived in my birth neighborhood? 

The zoo was far in the past by now. We were on our way back home.
Lake Myra, Florida
The train traveled on, as the sun started to set in Satsuma, Florida.

The rising sun tinted the eastern sky red as we passed through Richmond, Virginia the next morning.
Truly homeward bound, as visions of Bok Gardens, Lake Wales, January flowers, St. Petersburg, Madeira Beach, manatees, seabirds, gulf sunsets, Ybor City, and now giraffes, danced through my memory.

But I'm not done yet.  After all, this is Monday and it's time for #MusicMovesMe, a Musical Train that leaves the station every Monday.

Who are the 4Mers who participate?

The Head 4M'er (Engineer) is XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who is on hiatus but is always welcome back once she is able to conduct once again) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also,  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  And, ahem...a special announcement - guess who is the newest conductor?

Yours truly - me! (Thank you, fellow conductors!)  So...with thank you's out of the way....
Time for songs beginning with "Z".

Scorpions - The Zoo

OK, technically, this 1967 song by one of my all time favorites, Simon and Garfunkel, is called At the Zoo, but I am counting it as a "Z" song.

Zoot Suit Riot by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.  I have to admit, I am also partial to the satiric version by Weird Al Yankovic called Grapefruit Diet.

Zombie - a current song by Bad Wolves.

And now, once more, thank YOU, 4Mers, for voting me the latest conductor for Music Moves Me.  will strive to carry out my conducting responsibilities.

On that note I end the April 2018 Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost, and the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge.  On May 7 we are supposed to blog a retrospective post, but since that is a Monday, I will do it sooner. 

Thank you for taking the train ride with me, and joining me on the trip through Florida - Outside the Theme Parks that was my A to Z theme.

Why not join me daily, and enjoy my other offerings?

Thank you for reading!


  1. Well congrats on finishing the challenge. I love zoos too and make a point of visiting them when I travel. I dragged a friend to the zoo in Melbourne, Australia and got paid back with a visit to the Bronx Zoo which was near their home.

  2. I like zoos where the animals are in natural habitats. The Bronx Zoo does a great job with that.

  3. I forgot all about that great S&G song. Thanks for the tweak!

  4. Very cool story and great songs. Thanks for sharing both.

  5. I don't know what an auto train for humans is? Do you sleep on it. Like a car ferry you can stay in your car? Got to love coincidences and then there is giraffe sighting from the zoo. Congratulations of finishing your challenge!

  6. And another great finish to the A to Z challenge, congratulations! I haven't been to the Bronx Zoo in ages, I should go again sometime. Such a good zoo!

    And what a small world that you were sitting so close to somebody else from your exact neighborhood in Queens!

  7. Congratulations, Alana! Very well done indeed!
    I loved our trip through Florida! And it's always made more special when childhood memories surface. Thank you for the ride along!

  8. Congratulations on becoming the newest co-host! That's pretty awesome. Loving the Scorpions, and you can never go wrong with my friends Simon & Garfunkel. Zoot Suit Riot has always been a favorite, and did you know that Dolores O'Riordan of The Zombies was scheduled to collaborate with Bad Wolves on their remake of her song? Unfortunately, she died just before they could make it to the studio. They do the song justice, though and I'm quite pleased with the outcome.


  9. CONGRATS LADY CONDUCTOR!!! I come to ride your music-train & you are really jivin' along day! I'm lovin' your tune Zoot Suit Riot by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. I've never heard it before, but you can bet your zuit suit I shall hear it again & again! WHAT FUN!!! You really got this party started for sure! hahaha LOVE IT.. PLAYED THE WHOLE THING! So, how about you & I boogieing across the finishline to A2Z together!!! Oh wait... here comes Cathy too... hahaha ZOOT SUIT ALANA... Gimmie a bottle a beer! hahaha~ GREAT TUNE! Others are cool too! So, you ride the train to go places huh? I'm going soon by train to St. Louis, MO to my grandson's birthday party! I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun. I went to California once by train to see my brother graduate boot camp in Sacramento by train. Tons of fun & the pictures I'm gonna take... I cannot wait & it's my Mommy's day present from my daughter. She is paying for me ticket. Sooooo with that being said... CONGRATS & HAVE A REALLY BOOGIE DAY! THANKS FOR THE DANCE AND THE FOXTROT ACROSS OUR FINISH LINE!! WOO HOO

  10. OH HAVE U EVER HEARD OF Brian Setzer Orchestra? They play the same music all the time!

  11. Great finish to a unique approach to the challenge! We have the St Louis Zoo a short drive from home- it is one of the free zoos in the nation! There are some paid exhibits like the children’s petting zoo and the train ride but all other exhibits are free for the viewing!
    Consequently we spent hours there with our kids. The message always on conservation and extinction prevention.
    No more animal shows as were common in my day.
    And no actual cages!
    Congrats on completing the A to Z challenge!! And thank you for your visits! It was a little fear of disappointing my fellow contestants which kept me going!! Looking forward to more of your work!

  12. It is a small world.

    I like this cover of "Zombie".

  13. Alana,

    Phew, I'm beat today! It's been crazy. Anyhow, a big round of applauds for crossing the A2Z finish line with me, ole bud! I have enjoyed reading about Florida outside the theme park. I think it would be neat to visit Disney once in my life but that's about it. I prefer to see other jewels Florida has to offer outside the theme park and you certainly highlighted some interesting spots.

    Next, let me say welcome aboard the 'Love Train'! Now, ain't that cool, you road a train from NYC to Florida and now you're a Conductor of 4M. Whoo-hoo! Love your 'Z' tunes, all introductions to my ears. I hate to cut it short but it's late and we haven't had dinner yet. Again, congrats on completing A2Z and for being our newest Conductor, my friend. You rock!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch 'Z' for Zinnias

  14. I like Weird Al's parody better, too. Good selections, and congratulations on finishing A to Z!

  15. Welcome aboard the conductor train, Alana! So great to have you join us! :) Awesome finish to the A-Z challenge with excellent Z songs! :) Thanks for the dance - enjoy the rest of your weekend, and 'see' you on the dance floor next week! ;)

  16. Sounds like you had quite the adventure! I wish to visit FL again one day.

    Welcome aboard the music train! I hope you will enjoy your time with us!

    Thanks for the dance!

  17. If my son is ever in Florida, I'll be sure to tell him about this - giraffes are his favorite animal!


Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Due to increasing spam, I am no longer able to accept anonymous comments.