Guest post by Ravenclaw prefect Elizabeth Buckeye
On Sunday March 8th, it was once again that wonderful time for the Slug Club to get together. It was time for a Care of Magical Creatures field trip! Both current and alumni students of Hogwarts and its brother school were invited for the practical lesson. No one is too old to benefit from a reminder in proper creature care.
My personal journey began early in the morning, made even earlier by the curse that is Daylight Saving Time (for it must be a curse of old origins as the awful feeling it gives everyone is nothing short of pure evil.) Instead of being able to Apparate (due to restrictions on Apparating to completely muggle location) and the newer restrictions on recreational portkey use, I relied on my trusty muggle car for the slightly lengthy drive. I arrived around 10:30am at the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford where I met our Heads of House, who were either already there or arriving around the same time. It took around 30 minutes for the entire class to show up and in that time silly pictures were taken, as is the norm whenever people of the CFSlugClub get together. After the class bought their tickets, we stopped for a quick group photo, making sure to spread extra wide and block the entrance like the considerate witches and wizards we are.
Our first stop was to visit the insects. Yes, all those lovely creepy crawlies with more than four legs. As someone who believes fire is the only way to deal with such creatures, I was beyond happy to spend my time at the conveniently places fish tank. (Professor Grubbly-Plank would have my head if I did not remind my readers that fire is not the best way to deal with any magical creature. I, however, would like to remind her that unless they pay rent, they can get out or die. ☺)
It was then time for a show about birds. Given many facts about birds natural to the State of Florida, the class’s unanimous favorite was a small owl. If that didn’t tip the muggles off to our magical presence, I figured nothing would. After that show we had just enough time to wonder over to another show called “Venom” about snakes. We lost part of our class at that point due to their own fear of snakes and belief that snakes should be dealt with in the same manner I feel bugs should be taken care of. (Slug Club Fun Fact: Slytherin Head of House Heather is NOT a fan of snakes!) I, myself, adore snakes and found the show to be one of the coolest I’ve seen. Did you know that there are currently experiments going on to use snake venom to combat breast cancer? That is even something Magic hasn’t been able to do yet and Muggle scientists think it can be as soon as five years until there is a possible cure. Another snake’s venom is being used for similar experiments with Brain Cancer cells. Something to think about the next time you hear a Slytherin being called a rotten snake. Not so much of an insult if you ask me. We also found out that Ravenclaw Head of House, Stephanie, is a Parselmouth! After heading into the Herbarium, she tested her skills on a beautiful rattle snake and he fell for her charms in a beautiful display of dance.
The day continued as classmates wondered off on their own at times and came back together to study their favorite animals. Everything from Bald Eagles (a favorite of the Ravenclaws) to leopards, porcupines, rhinos and giraffes! A few interesting topics of discussion came up as well. Are Patronuses regional? Or truly based on your inner soul? As someone who lives in Florida is my true self more like a native animal or something abroad? As I have yet to master the charm I don’t truly know the answer to either of those questions but it is something to consider.
During our wonderings many of us found ourselves at a chessboard. Of course we had no choice but to partake in a game of Wizards’ Chess. It didn’t last long, and no true winner was discovered, but laughs were had and more ridiculous photos taken.
I think that is one of my favorite parts about Meet-ups. The ability to be completely yourself, no matter how ridiculous or silly you are, because everyone else is too. A love of Potter brings us together, but even more similarities are brought to the forefront during interactions. Whether you’re loud and boisterous, or quiet and meek, it is hard to resist smiling and having fun surrounded by people like you. Finding “Your People” is a truly freeing experience. I encourage anyone who hasn’t been to an outing to look at our upcoming Meet-Ups and come out to it. Even if you don’t have anyone to go with, you won’t notice! And we have some amazing opportunities on the horizon.
After Chess it was time to make our way to the last stop of the day, the petting zoo and gift shop. Being the mature, adult, witches and wizards that we are, we found a “Zoo Poo” book in the gift shop and had a small reading circle. (Never say a Ravenclaw isn’t committed to their studies 😉 ) Crazy headbands, more photos, laughs and jokes were to be had as some of us plotted to see if we could fit a small goat into a purse and not be noticed. Sadly, we did not leave with a new mascot for the Slug Club, but rather with an assignment to do homework and turn it in the next day. This particular Ravenclaw is ashamed to admit….she did not do the assignment and instead, after a quick goodbye and a drive home, decided a nap was a much better use of her time.
Our trip to the zoo was everything I wanted it to be and more. Crazy fun, educational, and surrounded by my Potter People. I can’t wait till the next time I’m able to make it out with my Slugs, and until then, I bid you farewell and hope that if you attended….maybe you did the homework and I can copy?