The GGA Project -- Day #296 "Sad, Pretty Animals"

 So the Monkey has been to the zoo.  A few times.  There's a great one pretty nearby in Oakland.  But for weeks the folks and I have been trying to plan a day to get further north.  Today happened kind of by accident.  We'd planned to go tomorrow, but tomorrow's rain forecast forced us into a spontaneous outing...

Today's New Activity: San Francisco Zoo!

We got a pretty late start so we didn't get there until about 1 in the afternoon (they close at 5), but that was still pretty much plenty of time to explore most of what there was to see.  For example....

Beautiful peacocks that roam the grounds

(pictures courtesy of my Dad, who just got reacquainted with his DSLR.  It was so nice to 1) see him behind a real camera again...it totally reminded me of my own trips to fun places with my parents as a kid...my Dad was always with a camera in hand and 2) relax and not worry about capturing everything myself!)

Real monkeys! (er, Chimpanzees) 

One of the most majestical things I've ever seen in real life: a female lion

And her dude.  The lions went outdoors too, but it was easier to see them from the inside of the habitat, where they roamed now and then.  Man did that place stink!!  I realized I'd never been close enough to these kinds of animals to have a clue how powerful their scent was.  My Mom made the comment that you always hear of animals picking up on each others' scents, and after today it's easy to see how.  I also realized I'd never heard a real lion roar before, and I have to say it was one of the creepiest and most haunting sounds I've ever heard.  We've been trying to imitate it around the house since returning home but it's pretty hard to replicate.

There was a hippo who'd go swimmin' in his little swimmin' hole and spray all the people watching nearby

Sea lions...

 Lazy ass kangaroos...

And so many other animals that my son had only seen in books until today.  Bears and tigers and meerkats and snakes and tarantulas, giraffes, zebras and lemurs, and on and on.  He loved it.

And I noticed some time near the end of our visit that I hadn't heard a child crying or whining or being annoying all day long.  I think there's just something perfect about the marriage of children and animals.  They are rapt, fascinated, overjoyed.  They are tickled pink.  And the adults are, too.  Animals are amazing.

The only thing that really saddened me about the zoo is that the animals themselves seemed despondent.  Despite the fact that they are well fed and cared for, any fool can see that they are bound to be feeling the squeeze of too little space, too little variety, and the melancholy of being unable to exercise their hunting (and all other manner of) instincts.

I used to be very, very anti-zoo.  I swore I'd never take my child to one.  But that was before I had a child and realized how incredibly happy it would make him to go to one.  

Ugh.  I hope trying to be a good parent doesn't cause me lose sight of being a good citizen of the world.

I'm sure this is just the beginning...

And I fully plan to take him to another zoo.  Probably soon.

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