My main reason for going to Liberty Park on Pioneer Day was to catch Pokemon at an event happening at the Tracy Aviary. I have not been to the aviary for awhile and its one of my favorite spots in Utah - plus it has owls! We had just gotten to the park (its HUGE) and I saw a lady on a bicycle - she had a real live parrot on her bike too! I ended up getting to hold her guy, Medusa. The sweetest parrot! She got him from the day he was born pretty much and has raised him and bonded with him. He rides around everywhere with her. He doesn't bite hard. He doesn't fly away. Maybe if I raised a parrot from day 1 I would not be scared of their big beaks.
Sad this turned out dark but it was a chalkboard sign letting us know we were in the right spot to start playing! We only had 30 minutes until they were closing the aviary but it was worth it. Celeste had never been in here before and I wanted to show her all the cool stuff.
I wanted this owl SO MUCH.
We made sure to find the flamingos
(Thanks to Celeste for sharing her pic with me!)
These owls!! They are in a new exhibit called Treasures of the Rainforest. Owls in the rainforest? I guess so! It was a pretty cool addition and I liked it a lot!
Celeste and I walked around and got pizza from The Pie , checked out all the vendors - I got a sweet hat for only $5! played Pokemon and eventually found a place to sit to wait for the fireworks on a grass and duck poop covered hill. I wished I had a blanket or a chair to sit on but oh well! We tried to find a clean'ish spot.
The fireworks started at 10pm and we probably sat on the grass for a couple hours waiting and watching pre-fireworks shows from other people. Shortly after our show started, Celeste heard a noise like a gunshot that was not a firework. I was busy messaging Laura but the more I think about it, the more I recall hearing something different but at the time I did not think much of it. It did not sound to me like a gunshot.
Celeste wanted to leave the park a little after the fireworks started , they were the same fireworks it seemed, over and over. So we figured we would start walking and keep watching them as we tried to beat the crowds of people that would soon head to their cars.
It was pretty dark and people were sprawled out all over the hill. We tried to stay together but Celeste was a little bit behind me. She heard a guy say, "Someone got shot." She told me and I said, well no one is really rushing around and that bike cop is just standing there. If someone really got shot, why would he just be standing there? So I didnt really believe it and we started to assume the guy was just talking words that were not true.
Then I passed 2 women with a stroller standing by a fence of the aviary. A cop was talking to them and I heard him say, "Did you see him jump the fence?" I did not stay around to hear the answer but started to feel nervous that maybe something really was going on.
We got closer to the parking lot that Celeste had parked in and I was parked a few blocks away on a side street. Suddenly there were 2 cops on motorcycles racing down the street and 1 motorcycle cop racing down the Tracy Aviary parking lot. A girl started yelling at 2 cops in the street who started running (probably toward their cars) , stupid stuff. I wanted to smack her. Her tone of voice was not kind and she wanted the cops to tell her/everyone around us what was going on, what the big rush was for.
I crossed the street and it took me awhile to find my car. I started to worry because it was so dark, the finale of fireworks was over and I couldn't quite remember how to get back to my car. I did write down the street my car was on and the 2 streets it was in between, in my phone. But it was so dark with lots of people walking to their cars and I got a little turned around.
I decided to switch on my Waze app to see what street I was on and to see if I could figure out where I needed to go exactly.
Somehow, I do not know HOW this happened, I've never see it happen before....there was a marker where I had parked my car. I was so relieved! It still took me a few minutes to figure out how to get there exactly but seeing this screen helped me feel more calm. I took this screen shot as I was getting closer to my car. I feel like it was a tender mercy that somehow my phone knew to mark where I had parked my car. So grateful for that feature, how it was able to know I have no idea because I had not put that in the app myself.
It was not until the next day I was able to find a news story about what had happened that night at the park.
Holy moly! I'm so so glad I said to Celeste that we should stay and watch the fireworks a little longer. If we had started walking back to our cars closer to 10 (we had just waited so long, were tired of sitting and we both had to work on Tues) , we could have been caught up in that shooting mess. When we did walk by the area it happened / where people were talking about it /where police were questioning people, maybe around 10:20? it seemed pretty calm, not a whole lot of commotion that I could tell. Who knows what would have happened had we left the park sooner.
Glad we both made it home safely after all that!