Assalamu-alaikum (peace be upon you) parents, young men, mini-men, and fellow bloggers,

Earlier today, a select group of our young men enjoyed a well-deserved trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. These young men earned the right to join the caravan to the zoo due to their display of outstanding character, timeliness in showing up to youth group activities, maintaining a positive attitude throughout this semester’s program, and respecting and observing our youth group rules.

The day began with a short discussion on the topic of reflecting upon the beautiful creation of animals by our Creator, Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. After reading over different verses in the Qur’an which mention specific categories of animals – a calf/cow, spider, camel, birds, and so forth – the discussion turned to…ants. Yes you read correctly – ants. Did you know that ants are not all the same? We have worker ants, army ants, and fire ants to name a few. Each species of ants plays a role in their community which helps them live in their environment. By reviewing and reflecting over the different categories/species of animals present both in a zoo and around us everyday (the different shapes, sizes, colors, type of food eaten, speed of movement, environment lived in, etc.) and their individual roles we hoped to open our young men’s eyes to truly appreciating the animals they would get to view later at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Salah leads our discussion on...ants. Mujtaba listens attentively to every single word.

There were lots of pictures taken at the zoo today. Unfortunately we can’t post all of the photos but we hope you enjoy viewing a few of the friendly creatures we befriended earlier today at the zoo.

A second-floor view of the beautiful garden next to the zoo. Wait a minute, who puts a garden in a zoo? Well, apparently Indianapolis does.

Our young men view a real life sundial; we hope you enjoy the new fashion trend for a zoo trip - the rain parka!

"!" Danyal returns to his childhood days as he plays in the sand.

This tiger seemed to be looking for the emergency exit - time to move on.

Interesting fact about bats - this raised the hair on our skin just a wee bit.

Group meeting of the penguins - hey no fighting folks!

Ali leans in closely to pet the shark in the petting pool.

The giant indoor pool for the much-anticipated dolphin show. The show was one of the highlights of the trip for our young men - especially the Splash Zone!

Okay whatever you do, do NOT anger the snake - time to move on to the next exhibit.

Is it just us or is that not one colorful looking zebra?

If giraffes could speak this one would say, "Excuse me Mr. Cameraman, have you seen my dinner - I seem to have misplaced it somewhere below?"

Our youth were excited to race a cheetah; sadly the cheetah didn't seem up for racing today.

Traffic jam at the turtle pen - "if you're not going to speed up, move to the right lane buddy!"

Danyal doing his best meerkat impersonation - hey he's looking pretty good wouldn't you agree?