I have a young daughter, so needless to say, we spend lots of time at zoos. We’ve been to at least 4 different zoos in the last couple of years – big ones, small ones, some as big as your head… Oh sorry…I just started thinking about that song I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts that Zazu sings in The Lion King. Anyway, after a recent trip to a local zoo, I got to thinking about the things that just weren’t all that awesome about zoo visits. Don’t get me wrong…I love zoos! And we always have a good time when we go. But if these 5 things all happened in one trip, I would probably be talking to the head zoomaster, animal emperor, or whatever the zoo boss is called about getting my money back.
- The alligators. Every time we visit a zoo, the alligators don’t do anything. We stand and stare for a while, but they don’t budge. In fact, this last time we walked up to the window and my wife didn’t even see the alligators at first. They were all there, but she thought she was looking at a log. And really that’s all it is. It’s a big log. We paid $20 a person to come see a log exhibit. Exhilarating. On top of that, we don’t know the difference between alligators and crocodiles, so as we talk about them for the next several days (mainly about how they don’t move much), we alternate what we call them. We saw an albino alligator/crocodile this past visit – a very beautiful creature! But I’m not sure which it was, so I usually refrain from talking about it much.
- The gorillas. One of the most popular things at any zoo has to be the gorillas. They’re big, they’re hairy, and they’re usually active during the day, which is more than you can say for alligators. But at the last 2 zoos we have visited, we have had terrible experiences at the gorilla exhibits. Last Fall at a zoo, we walked up to the gorilla exhibit to find one of the cute, hairy old chaps chomping down on some of his own poop. Yep – he was just sitting there right by the window eating poop. He’d finish a handful, pick up some more, and keep on munching. And he was so very happy about it all. Then this past visit, as we are viewing a very similar-looking gorilla, he proceeds to pick at his butt. And of course my 4 year old little girl notices it and thinks its hilarious. She’s talked about it several times since then. If she mentions it at an inopportune time that causes me or my wife embarrassment, or what I like to call “emotional distress,” I may be bringing a civil suit against said gorilla… Hope he has a good lawyer…perhaps Jane Goodall can recommend one. The following video isn’t from our zoo visit, but it was funny, and our recent experience reminded me of it.
- The birds. Okay, I know not everyone will agree with me on this one, but I just don’t see a reason for putting all those bird exhibits in the zoo. We visited one zoo that had a bird exhibit where you can hold a seed-stick and go into their cage and they will come land on your hand and eat off the stick. Most of the time it turned into an Ultimate Fighting Championship between 2 birds over who got to eat off of one stick. That exhibit was awesome. But that’s the only exhibit I’ve ever seen like that – all the other zoos I’ve gone to just have lots and lots and lots and lots of birds in cages. I feel so sorry for them. I want to liberate them like Elliot liberated the frogs in the movie E.T.
- The lions. Once we visited a smaller zoo that was about 45 minutes from where we lived. It was a pretty nice zoo, considering that it wasn’t in a huge city. But when we got to the lion exhibit, I heard something I never would have expected. The male lion was trying to roar, but it sounded like a crying baby. A crying human baby. It was more of a “WAAAHHH”, and not enough “RRRAAARRRR.” I didn’t even know lions could make that sound. I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect that perhaps the lion was using that sound to lure someone into his cage to save what they thought was a human baby, only to be eaten by a lion. If this isn’t the case, then that zoo has GOT to invest in some more menacing-sounding lions. I wasn’t scared at all, and isn’t that the point of having lions at the zoo?
- The route. Okay, some zoos really have this one down pat. Zoos that put everything in one big circle know what they’re doing. But some zoos’ routes are so convoluted that when you stare at the map of the route you swear you’re looking at an image of the human small intestine close-up. Some amusement parks are like this too (I’m not mentioning any names, but their initials start with Six Flags Over Texas). It’s like 227 miles of walkways packed into an area the size of a football field. And it’s not the weird path that bothers me…it’s the fact that no one knows which direction to walk when things are so disorganized. When a circular path is present, most people correctly choose to start out by going right and traveling in the same direction until they end up where they start – a few go left, but they’re probably from Britain, so we won’t count it against them. In the non-circular, non-organized path, people are going every which way, running into each other, and generally just running a muck. I just want to yell “STOP” and give people directions…
Okay, seriously, though, zoos are one of my favorite things to visit. They’re better than concerts where you can’t hear anything when you leave, and they’re better than amusement parks where you end up riding something that causes you to pee on yourself. You always learn something at a zoo, and if you buy a membership (kind of like a season pass), it’s tax deductible! So here’s a shout out to that special person (you know who you are) who just bought us a membership to our local zoo… Thanks so much! Now when I go, if all of these things happened to me, I won’t have to worry about getting my money back, since I didn’t pay for it to begin with. :)