Today Z and I went on our "Adventure" to the zoo. I have never been a big fan of zoos, in fact I originally went for my degree in zoology to "save" animals from that kind of treatment (I ended up with a degree that I never used). I mean really, is it fair to have some of these animals living in small habitats or cages in New England??
I decided that today I would put my feelings aside for my son and give the zoo a shot. I hoped that I would find some redeeming qualities, learn something and hoped that Z would enjoy seeing animals that he wouldn't otherwise see up close and personal (I guess that is the point of having zoos, it is just that some are plain AWFUL).
Okay, I will climb off my soapbox now and tell you about our day :)
As you know, Z never knows where we are going or who we are going with. This adventure was suppose to be done with my sister and niece but G was sick and so they did not join us. When we pulled into the parking lot and I told Z we were at the zoo, his eyes got very wide. He started to bounce up and down and asked that I take him out of his seat (it was a bit of a drive for us). He started to talk a mile a minute and I could sense his excitement and nervous energy towards the adventure ahead. Z is a bit afraid of large animals and I don't think that he trusts the fences and cages that separate he and the big animals on the other side (who can blame him?).
Once in the zoo he became a bit overwhelmed. I explained that this was his day and he was in charge......we would go anywhere he wanted to go. He asked to go and see the monkeys first and so we did. Now I could go on and on about the quality of the monkey habitat but my son's squeal at seeing these creatures swing from branch to branch and climb the fence made me forget all of my ideals. He was so excited! I then decided to spend the day seeing things through the eyes of my two year old and what a sight we saw :) We saw zebras, got "chased" by an ostrich, came close to an alligator, got stalked by a tiger, jumped up and down when we saw the giraffes (there was the cutest baby giraffe), fell in love with the tortoises and searched for George in the chimp exhibit. This visit was done at Z's pace (a positive for going alone) and we saw everything he wanted to see. He was in charge of the map and kept asking me to point out the different things that we were seeing :) It truly was a wonderful day!
The highlight for me was the train ride. The train looked at North American animals and was the closest to a natural habitat that they had at the zoo. There were elk, swans, ducks, turtles, blue heron, frogs and snakes.....all things that belonged (well the elk were questionable and seemed to be in high numbers). It was a nice and scenic ride with my Z and we both enjoyed it very much.
It ended up being a wonderful adventure. Z spent the 15 minutes before he fell asleep in the car, reenacting our adventure with his map. He had a great time and could not stop talking about it once we got home. Some day I will teach him about the proper habitats for these animals and maybe about animal rights but for now we will just appreciate the animals and all of the wonderful things they bring to our planet.