From One Zoo to Another

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When your own zoo gets too crazy, where should you go?  Another zoo, of course!

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I teeter between opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to animals.  I have supported PETA.  I have befriended ranchers.  I do not wear fur.  I wear used leather.  I am vegetarian (previously vegan).  I am not opposed to people eating humanely raised and killed meat.  I support animals rights.  I have never understood the uproar about zoos.  A lifelong zoo visitor, I find respite and peace among the talking peacocks, the yawning lions, the playful cubs, the swinging monkeys, and the lilting elephants.

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The exception being some places that call themselves zoos (such as Amarillo, Texas…what the hell?) where the animals are kept in closet sized spaces alone for all to see and some people’s back yards.  We have sought out zoos all across the country as we travel.  Our honeymoon was at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.  We are lucky in Colorado to have two of the best zoos in the country, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Denver Zoo.  And these are where we flee when we need a break.

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Some people may feel it is cruel to keep animals cooped up and that their place is in the wild.  This is all well and good except that the majority of these animals are endangered.  You see, we people like to kill anything inconvenient to our existence, chop down rainforests, and encroach on animal territory.  So, if we want Okapis, and Rhinos, and Snow Leopards to survive, we have to start breeding them again, give them fabulous places to roam, and provide them a safe life.  Plus, these animals have never seen the wild.  They have been born in captivity, their first ancestors likely rescued after injury or exploitation.  It is all they know, and they seem happy lazily lying around or swinging from trees!  The conservation efforts of good zoos is indeed impressive.  They raise considerable funds that go to animals still living in the wild to keep them safe and thriving.  Every time you go to a good zoo, you support the lives of wild animals around the globe.

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Even though the zoo is a homeschooling parent’s treasure trove (animal biology, geography, history), one does not need children to go to the zoo.  We have been to the zoo throughout our own childhoods, and with our own children countless times, but we have also been there plenty of times by ourselves, holding hands, walking through the park.  Occasionally riding the carousel and waving madly at monkeys.

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This time we had a special treat.  Our granddaughter’s first trip to the zoo.  Maryjane loves animals and enjoyed every moment, only tuckering out for a few moments before she was up again.  We spent more time perusing the zoo than we ever have before and we were all tired and pleased by the end.  We completed the day with Maryjane picking out a stuffed animal as souvenir, blowing kisses to the mongooses, and promising to come back soon.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this – like you I am an avid animal supporter in all sorts of ways but tend to keep away from zoos even though I really enjoy them and perhaps now-a-days there is no need to ignore them because they do vital work. It’s not like the old days of zoos. I guess it all comes down to how well the animals are treated and the reasons for them being in there in the first place. If there is a genuine need then I’m all for it.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      There are some bad zoos out there but for the most part the zoos have really evolved into amazing places for these animals. The exhibits are huge, the animals well tended to, and conservation efforts to keep these animals alive. I hope you have a good zoo by you!

  2. oh my gosh the little girl — she is too much! Adorable — looks like she loved the zoo!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      My granddaughter, Maryjane. She is 6 months old and ever so alert! She is the light of our life right now!

  3. GREAT POST. You have a very cute baby!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Sweetest grandbaby in the world. (unbiased opinion!)

  4. debweeks says:

    My girls and I love going to zoos. Hubby isn’t very fond of zoos, except for the Memphis Zoo, which he actually liked quite a bit.

    While I understand how many people can look at a zoo in a negative way, the zoos we visit are invested and focused on keeping endangered species thriving.

    And as a homeschool mom, zoos are a great educational resource with many zoos offering programs for homeschool kids.

    You grandbaby is certainly a cutie pie!

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