I'm sure it's a difficult guess! Perhaps the better question would have been, "guess who I went to the zoo WITH?" My 21 year old college senior asked a week or two ago if we could go to the zoo before he leaves to go back to college next weekend. We used to go, as a family, at least once a year when the kids were little. For a few years, we even had a zoo family membership, because if you went even twice, it more than paid for itself, and it included free parking and guest passes. I remember one year we went on Labor Day, and we had packed a picnic lunch, and it was SO cold and SO rainy, we ended up eating our picnic in the car in the parking lot. I am not even sure we went INTO the zoo that trip, but maybe we did. If we did, it was a short stay, I know that. All I really remember from that trip was the unusual cold and the rain. And eating giant dill pickles in the back of the van.
So last Thursday, my 21 year old son and my 14 year old daughter and I drove to Buffalo and spent the day at the zoo. It was one of those hot hot days we've had so many of this summer, and any time you could sneak into the shade for a few moments, or catch a breeze, it was delightful. The heat beating down on you REALLY saps your energy quickly, otherwise. But, I have to say, all three of us had a really good time. I don't love zoos - never have, because I can't stand the caged- pacing- animal -so -we -can -gawk- at- you -from- behind -glass -or- bars- concept, but on the other hand, if you can suspend those concerns and thoughts for the day, knowing that zoos have always existed, always will exist, and in most cases, have gotten MUCH better for the animals, then it's easier to enjoy walking around with your kids (kids? adult offspring?) and looking for, and at, favorite animals.
Unfortunately, one of my favorite animals from the zoo, the Prairie Dog, is gone. Not sure why, but no longer are there cute little things popping up out of holes like the whack-a-mole game, whistling to each other. That was disappointing. But I loved the Meerkats - those are adorable! Always like the lemurs and the hyenas. The River Otters were fun to watch. And my favorite all time animal?
I LOVE Polar Bears!
Plus, I felt better seeing this new sign by his enclosure:
I'm not a big Noah Wylie fan, or a sap for those commercials where they show the diminishing ice floes (I KNOW it is a real problem, and I feel badly about it; I just can't stand the WAY those commercials are aimed at making you feel bad... from having studied journalism in college, I am well aware that it is a red herring technique DESIGNED to tug at my heart strings, and I don't like to have my emotions manipulated)
But it's good to know, from this sign, that many things I do as a matter of course ARE helping the universe in small ways - planting trees, changing the bulbs in our home to the (annoying but) energy efficient ones, recycling, using re-usable shopping bags whenever I can, turning down our heat during the day and at night, etc. etc. In fact, I think I do most of the things on that sign.
If that helps save the polar bears, then that's good!
So, a good time at the zoo with two of my kids last Thursday.
This week Thursday? Farm Sanctuary, and Moosewood - a famous vegetarian restaurant, with my two vegetarian daughters.
I was feeling sort of bad, leaving out my 17 year old son, but then, they reminded me, I went to his demolition derby, and have promised to go to another one he is running in, on Labor Day weekend, so I guess I will have spent time, a little, doing something special to them with each of my kids this summer. THAT makes me feel really good. I'd vote for going places with "kids" who are 21, 19, 17 and almost 15 ANYday over going places with them when they were 7,5,3 and 1. We did that, lots, too, and this was WAY more fun - for all of us!!