Alan gets to visit real giraffes!
The seals and sea lions were a big hit! They actually seemed to enjoy hamming it up for the kids (unlike the lioness...more on that later).
Nom nom nom...
The best way to end a trip to the zoo is to be covered in sticky ice cream
** So about the lioness...
I should preface this by saying that, while I greatly enjoy visiting zoos, I also feel bad for the animals in captivity. I recognize that zoos provide an invaluable education and conservation resource, but I never take for granted what I am seeing. To be that close to a gorilla or a snow leopard (one of my favorites) is a great honor. Were it not for zoos, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing most of my favorite animals alive and breathing. Compared to the real thing, National Geographic just isn't the same.
Some animals seem to tolerate captivity better than others. The seals, sea lions, and otters, for example, seem fairly pleased with their lot in life. Other animals, like the lioness we saw in the indoor exhibit today, are clearly not digging the wards of screaming kids banging on the glass each day. The lioness got so ticked off, in fact, that she started growing at the glass. Of course, this only egged on the kids. When I left her she was snarling, clawing, swatting, charging, and biting at the glass - clearly agitated - while the warden was asking the kids to leave her alone. I can only hope they gave her a break from exhibition for a good long while.
Lioness-tormenting aside, it was a great day and we will definitely be back!