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