Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The construction crew is hard at work in our attic and filling our house with lots of banging and sawing. So yesterday we took a trip to the zoo.

It was a beautiful summer day with just enough cloud cover to keep us from melting on the pavement.

I inwardly winced when we pulled into the parking lot and spotted numerous school buses and mobs of uniformed kids thronging the entrance gates. I'm anti-social enough that I can't stand large crowds and I prefer visiting the zoo when it's just us and the animals. Margaret and William, on the other hand, were super stoked and started waving to all the other little kids.

Once we got inside the zoo and the crowds dispersed a little bit I was happy to see we had plenty of breathing space. And then we went into the reptile house and I found myself happily falling back into biologist, ex-nature-center-volunteer mode and explaining the natural history of snakes to several young kids, particularly two interested and exuberant boys. It was encouraging to discover that I hadn't completely forgotten my biological education. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself as the boys examined several of the displays with me and responded with excitement as I pointed various things out to them. Naturally this resulted in them telling me all of their adventures with snakes back home, including a GIANT black king snake that chased them down the road (I gently corrected them that it was most likely a black rat snake). It always made me smile when the school kids at the nature center used question time after the snake programs to brag about all of their animal encounters. Or ask me if I could do everything the crocodile man could. No thanks. Sharing nature with kids is one of my all time favorite activities, I just don't get paid by anybody. I can't wait to continue sharing everything I know with my own kids (which shouldn't take very long), I just have to remember to be as passionate about other things like math and art and history.

We got to see a few neat animal behaviors like the male peacocks displaying their elaborate tail feathers, the wolf pack howling in unison and the swans leading their brand new fluffy cygnets to the water from their nest in the bushes. The kids were enthralled.

Including Amelia.

Margaret watched the monkeys for a long time.

And also rode several animals, like this alligator. They call her the alligator whisperer.

William was happy to recline in his seat of luxury while Margaret and I trekked over the entire zoo grounds.

"Someone told me It's all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it's true."


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