Visiting the zoo was on my list of 31 things to do this year. As you can see if you scroll down to the list, I have crossed it out! The local zoo has been open as long as I can remember and I have always meant to go but never gotten around to it so I put it on my list to ensure it happens this year. The other day, on one of my fabulous stay-cation days, my husband also had a day off and mentioned he had never been to a zoo in his life! As far as I know, the only zoo that exists in his country is in the capital city. I have never seen or heard of it while I lived there but did come across a newspaper article that mentioned the zoo tiger had given birth to 3 cubs this past January. Since the husband had never been to any zoo, it was settled it and the very same afternoon we were off for a visit.
This particular zoo is probably not the best zoo in the world but it was pretty decent. Enclosures were large and fairly natural-which I always feel is much better than fancy ones designed more for visitor pleasure than the inhabitant’s pleasure-and most of the animals were out and about as it was a beautiful day. We spent 3.5 hours wandering around and were treated to bear, cougar, and hippo feeding sessions which gave us a more up close experience with the animals. The keepers also gave a short informational speech which enhanced the experience. My husband, of course, wanted to touch all the deceptively gentle animals. I told him the horror stories of what happened to those who fell in to such enclosures at other zoos around the world-or had their arms ripped off when they tried to touch the animals.
The tigers and lions were fast asleep and far away, unfortunately,-they probably would have been a favourite-but I found I especially enjoyed seeing the Ankole-Watusi cattle which are just gorgeous animals, the huge Indian buffalo (one recently was sold in India for 41k according the BBC), camels, and the super cute chinchillas.
The downsides to the zoo are that sometimes you cannot help but feel sorry for some of the animals. Some of them look very sad-this was the case with one of the bears but we later learned that this bear had been orphaned when young and had been found eating trash and was likely not to have made it through the winter. She was relocated to the zoo where she has lived longer than she would in the wild and always gets fed regularly. Other animals like the turtles and snakes are harder to feel sorry for. Anyways, the other downside is the ridiculous prices and crazy consumerism. Everything has a giant price tag-I know it is expensive to keep such animals-but wow! Everywhere you look there is also a shop, concession, train ticket booth, bicycle rental (price per half hour!), or something else for sale. Ah well. Anyways, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon on a day off. My husband also enjoyed it and liked the bears the best.