In 1990 I took Athena, Eris and three nieces. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Littlest Ms. The day was perfect. Eighty degrees, hardly any other visitors and an almost-5-year-old who had never been to a zoo. She had no idea where we were headed so the surprise made it even better.
The place has made some great changes but much is still the same. The little baby elephant was adorable. The giraffes were still very tall, the apes were still sitting in the corner looking bored, snakes slept under red lights and the beautiful tigers paced back and forth in their outdoor garden. We heard a peacock honk (weird) and saw a tangle of bats in a tree that looked like a bunch of bananas. The camel with the slumpy hump was funny. Littlest said her favorite animal was the orangutan, the orange one.
We rode the same train yesterday that I rode so long ago with the girls and that I rode as a child with my parents. I took pictures of her in the same prairie dog holes. She drank out of the same lion head fountain that I remember from when I was a child.
I'm still not a fan of zoos and probably won't return for another 20 years, maybe at that time with great-grandchildren in tow.
But until that time I will be content to browse my scrapbooks.
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