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Louisville Zoo

May 29, 2008

Recently, I spent a Saturday afternoon at the Louisville Zoo. As a bit of advice to zoo-lovers everywhere, don’t go on Saturday afternoon. Go on a weekday morning. On weekends, especially late in the day,  the place is completely packed. On weekdays, you might run into a few moms with young children, or a school or daycare group, but it will be nothing like the weekend crowds.

The first thing I always want to do at the zoo is find something interactive to do. At the Louisville Zoo, you can feed small colorful birds (only a dollar, but the line is long), pet wallabies and wallaroos (free, but usually only in the evening), or feed giraffes (a dollar, offered a couple of times during the day, and with a reasonably short line). Last time I went, they had moved the lion enclosure, so I got to hear the lions roaring while I waited for the giraffe handlers to arrive. Feeding the giraffe tree branches takes only a second or so, and is over long before you want it to be. However, it is a lot of fun, you don’t have to stand in line very long, and you get amazing pictures.  

 

 

After my interactive adventure, the next stop (while enjoying the animals along the way, of course) are the gorillas. I’ve always been unsure how I feel about gorillas in zoos. On one hand, they awe me, and without zoos, I would probably never get to see them up close. On the other hand… well… here’s a story. The first time I went to the zoo as an adult, there was almost no one else around. I sat down in front of a gorilla. He was separated from me by only a few inches of glass. I took a close look, amazed by the size of him, by the creases in the palms of his hands, by the intelligence in his eyes. After a moment, he raised his hand and pressed it against the glass. I know, cheesy movie moment. I was sure he couldn’t be suggesting what I thought he was, sure that he couldn’t be trying to initiate a moment of contact. I placed my hand over his on my side of the glass. He looked me directly in the eye for a moment, and then lowered his hand and walked away.

How, then, can we keep a gorilla in a zoo? Especially if they can learn to communicate via sign language. (Note to self: learn about gorillas and sign language).  This visit to the zoo, like others, resulted in pain on my part, as I was thrilled to see the gorillas again, but yearned to sit down with them and discuss their favorite fruit, how they liked the zoo, and anything else they cared to talk about. Maybe I should have been a zookeeper. I seriously considered it for a while.

 

As I was making my final round of exhibits, I noticed that there were a lot of people in a building that had previously been empty. I dodged a swarm of wood-boring bumblebees and stepped inside. It was certainly worth it. Inside were, well, take a look for yourself.

 

Quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I wanted to go in and play. There was a whole box of toys off to one side, and it looked like a great way to spend an afternoon.

In any case, my visit to the Louisville Zoo was wonderful, as always. Anyone who is visiting the Louisville area should go visit!

 

Also: I changed the theme of my blog to one that is wider and thus can more easily accomodate my pictures. Hope you enjoy it!

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